Faculty Writing: Billionaire Philanthropy and the Hygienic Sublime

For the Washington Post, Amy Schiller explores the politics of philanthropy, questioning the effectiveness of an increasingly small, increasingly wealthy pool of donors: “Out of more than 1.5 million nonprofits, just the top 100 organizations, household names such as Harvard, Stanford and Memorial Sloane Kettering, received 11 percent of all charitable gifts last year. Meanwhile, the nonprofits that strengthen the average American’s quality of life — the community theater, local food bank or interfaith youth program — struggle to get by with a hollowed-out base of support.”

In Catalyst: Feminist, Theory, and Technoscience, Danya Glabau writes about the relationship between purity politics and the home: “[T]he pursuit of purity is not merely a practical or material matter, but a semiotic one as well, and it is shaped by histories of race, gender, class, and family structure in the United States. I call this material-semiotic configuration of purity the hygienic sublime.”

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