Beginners Guide to Self Education

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

The path to political awareness can feel almost unattainable with all of the discourse and media constantly evolving around us. With a new topic or figure seemingly commanding the airwaves every other day, it is hard to pick where to start. So, we are compiling a list of our favorite resources to help you navigate your path to political self-education. This week, we start with a selection of books and podcasts that you can easily take on the go and integrate into your routine:

Books

  • Educated by Tara Westover: Educated is an award-winning memoir that takes its reader on a journey of self-education to the extreme. Growing up in a survivalist family, author Tara Westover is completely restricted from public life (schools, hospitals, etc.) until age 17 when she gets her first glimpse of formal education. She is exposed to tragedy and revolution through an understanding of historic events such as the Holocaust and Civil Rights Movement, launching her academic career and hunger for knowledge despite the strain it inevitably puts on family ties.



  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde: Sister Outsider is a beautiful must-read in addressing issues of civil rights. This collection of essays and speeches draws on the author’s own intersectional identity and personal experiences of oppression through sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, etc. Lorde’s works have been cited as integral to the development of contemporary feminist theory.


  • The Next American Revolution by Grace Lee Boggs: Grace Lee Boggs is a legendary pioneer of intersectional social activism in the United States. She uses her writing to assess the current activism climate in regard to politics, economics, and the environment. She reflects on seven decades of social justice work to assess how our current state is likened to a hopeful revolution of thought that is both subtly and outwardly unfolding before our eyes.

Podcasts

  • The Daily: The New York Times’ podcast The Daily is notorious for its quick and easy transfer of information. Each episode is approximately 20 minutes, eloquently produced featuring interview clips with correspondents, figureheads, and citizens alike to give a personal feel to the commentary.


  • Today, Explained: Today, Explained is a heavy competitor against The Daily. Both podcasts provide a digestible relay of each day’s most noteworthy news headlines. For those in a time crunch, podcasts are an incredibly succinct way to process current events as they happen that is both factual and entertaining. Today, Explained is produced by Vox Media.


  • Pod Save The People: DeRay Mckesson uses her podcast to dive into the often-overlooked topics that relate to news, culture, social justice, and politics. The show features a diverse array of commentators ranging from celebrities to national leaders in order to highlight underrepresented stories and voices.


  • Pod for The Cause: This Podcast was produced in partnership with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights with the goal of sparking conversation and activism. The podcast promises to be “real, straightforward, and honest” targeting an audience that wants to gain a better understanding of critical issues and effect change.

My personal favorite genre of resource still reigns the podcast! I can tune in while walking through campus or even doing chores. With these resources, I feel up to date on the most current events so I can more ethically and mindfully engage in discussion, advocacy, and decision-making. Still, I try to keep in mind the importance of taking in information from numerous sources in order to be mindful of individual author bias and allow myself to forge my own opinion. This is where I have found books and online publications to be immensely helpful. Although I have taken strides in developing my own political education, there is always room for improvement. Do you think there is anything I missed? Comment your favorite resources so we can all keep the conversation going!


Tova

My Voting Power Community Member