Faculty Writing: Kitsch can Kill, Political Violence Rethought, and Secular Sexual Obsession

For the The Washington Post, Suzanne Schneider discusses the right wing’s tendency to associate political participation with violence and spectacle. On the codependency of violence and right-wing policymaking, she writes: “Violence is not, in this sense, ancillary to far-right politics but central to preserving the vast inequalities that even its “moderate” supporters wish to maintain. Beyond the tax cuts and deregulation so favored by his plutocratic backers, President Trump’s signature accomplishments were notable for their gratuitous cruelty: the ban on travel from Muslim nations, family separation at the southern border, home invasions and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that served no material interest beyond offering his fan base reasons to cheer. These are not disjointed parts of the right-wing agenda, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have recently argued, but rather co-dependent, which is one reason the growth of white nationalism has mirrored the uptick in economic inequality.”

For The Revealer, Kali Handelman conducts two interviews, the first with anthropologist Darryl Li, who’s new book The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity is “an account of two competing forms of universalism — Islamist jihad and American empire — in the Balkans during the years following the Cold War”; and the second with feminist theorist Janet Jakobsen, author The Sex Obsession: Perversity and Possibility in American Politics, an argument, as Jakobsen puts it, “about how often gender and sexuality are invoked in political commentary and policymaking.” 

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