Faculty Writing: On Feminism, Higher Education, and Violence in America

Abby Kluchin wrote “Nevertheless, She Resisted: Problem Students and Hunting Girls” for The Revealer, a piece in which she engages contemporary feminist debates within higher education.

“The hunting girl is not only both predator and prey; she couples total agency with absolute passivity. Different iterations of this trope tend to emphasize one or the other. Consider hacker Lisbeth Salander, part abused child, part avenging angel, who ties up her sexually abusive court-appointed guardian, violates him, and tattoos “I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT, AND A RAPIST” on his chest. Or Katniss Everdeen, the resourceful hunter from the Hunger Games, who learns the techniques of the Foucauldian hellscape that is the Hunger Games arena and weaponizes them against its makers. She not only survives, but also eventually launches a full-scale political rebellion, only to be viciously and creatively brutalized again and again. Indeed, the more explicitly agential these hunting girls are, the more ruthlessly and publicly they are punished.”

Patrick Blanchfield wrote “Social Media Forensics” for The Baffler where he reacts to the recent Portland attacks and discusses the depoliticization of violence in contemporary American society.  

“Americans have an established protocol for making sense (and page views, and dollars) out of headline-grabbing violence. With news still coming in, we’ll take to the internet and perform all sorts of heavy-handed social media sleuthing trying to parse the supposed motivations and ideologies of cop-killers and spree shooters, with media and politicians helping us form narratives. The interpretative frames have become predictable, with the clearest example being race. If a killer is black, their act invariably presented in terms of criminality, and often used to discredit nonviolent black activist groups or to demand accountability from “the black community” at large; a similar heuristic applies to how we parse violence carried out by Muslims. Meanwhile, if a killer is white, we’ll rapidly cycle through point-scoring attributions of party membership to talk of “lone wolves” or mental illness, or make quasi-theological and ultimately useless appeals to “senselessness.” The overarching logic is transparent and deeply cynical: identity overdetermines action.”

Finally, Michael Brent gave an interview to the American Association of Philosophy blog where discusses some of his past and ongoing projects.

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