Small Pieces of Academia
I’ve recently stumbled on a twitter account called New Real Peer Review. The twitter account is largely (but not entirely) dedicated to posting abstracts of journal articles and links to the papers. Here’s one such abstract:
This article explores the formation of a tranimal, hippopotamus alter-ego. Confronting transgender with transpecies, the author claims that his hippopotamus “identity” allowed him to (verbally) escape, all at once, several sets of categorization that govern human bodies (“gender,” “sexuality,” age). He starts with an account of how his metaphorical hippo-self is collectively produced and performed, distinguishing the subjective, the intersubjective and the social. The article then investigates the politics of equating transgender and transpecies, critically examining the question of the inclusion of “xenogenders” in the trans political movement. Finally, the author returns to the magical power of metaphors, arguing that metaphors do materialize insofar as the flesh does not remain unchanged by them. Analogizing his hippo-self to a “cut” as theorized by Eva Hayward – a regeneration of the boundaries of the self – he offers a final crossing to the world of fiction by showing how the His Dark Materialstrilogy outlines an aesthetics of porosity, which suggests that the self is, as much as a novel, a work of fiction.
The author has gotten an appointment as a visiting scholar at the U of Arizona. Here is the announcement from the Gender and Women’s Studies department:
GWS and the UA Institute for LGBT Studies welcome visiting scholar! Florentin Félix Morin is a French student who just started his PhD this year at Université Paris 8. He works at the intersection of Trans Studies and Animal Studies, focusing on tranimal body modifications, practices and subjectivities. He is beyond excited to be in Tucson for the Spring semester, benefit from all the department’s and the Institute’s activities, conduct fieldwork in the US, and meet everyone! (He uses the name ‘Felix’ in English.)
Welcome, Felix. The U of A GWS department faculty also includes Professor Whitney Stark. Here’s the abstract of “Reconfiguring Quantum Identities,” a paper she recently wrote:
In this semimanifesto, I approach how understandings of quantum physics and cyborgian bodies can (or always already do) ally with feminist anti-oppression practices long in use. The idea of the body (whether biological, social, or of work) is not stagnant, and new materialist feminisms help to recognize how multiple phenomena work together to behave in what can become legible at any given moment as a body. By utilizing the materiality of conceptions about connectivity often thought to be merely theoretical, by taking a critical look at the noncentralized and multiple movements of quantum physics, and by dehierarchizing the necessity of linear bodies through time, it becomes possible to reconfigure structures of value, longevity, and subjectivity in ways explicitly aligned with anti-oppression practices and identity politics. Combining intersectionality and quantum physics can provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people, for enabling apparatuses that allow for new possibilities of safer spaces, and for practices of accountability.
I’ve always had a lay interest in physics, but Stark’s paper covers ground that is new to me.
Here’s some more college news.
To wrap up this post, I think it behooves society to a pay a bit more attention to what is happening on college campuses these days. After all, we (the public) are usually funding a big part of it, and colleges can be the tip of the cultural-change spear. I am pretty sure most people don’t want to end up where some of academia is trying to lead us.
Academic Freedom? What dumb-ass ever thought that was a beneficial effect on societies? We need to quash it fast lest it get people to think differently than some would deem to be “right”.
So two examples of something comprises a cultural change. And we the public fund how much of college education compared to ?private funds ?student debt?
Such a current Republican talking point….unashamedly a leap of faith construction to lead us to a sweeping conclusion.
There are several ways to approach this but again a self indulgent post.
Is this part of a trend? It didn’t matter when you came after my healthcare? I never smoked, got fat and it seems missed most serious genetic disablilies and could afford my healthcare. It didn’t matter that lunatic college courses were offerred because at UICC the early ethic studies classes when I attended were like WHAT? The trend to me appears to be of the “keep off my lawn” variety.
You didn’t read the last link I assume – a biology professor gets death threats because he doesn’t agree to leave campus because he’s white. The administration of his college was too cowed to back him up. I assume that’s more or less how the Red Guards started. Not something anyone should trivialize.
As to the other links, I noted there’s an account publishing these daily. There are a very, very large number of examples. I made reference in comments the other day to a new Sokal hoax, except it was dialed up quite a bit from the original. The fact is, there are entire departments at most universities whose output seems indistinguishable from a Sokal hoax on steroids. If we allow liberal to be equated with silly, the world will be a worse place.
You will be attacked for this. But you are on much firmer ground here than with the immigrant stuff.
There is a big problem where people who don’t know anything about science claim to study human behavior, which is a specialty within biology and psychology. Economics is by far the worst example, but the stuff you site above is what people tend to notice.
Pendulums swing. Sometimes they swing too far.
You didn’t have to be a Republican to worry about the Republican Party embracing the nutty militias who wanted to bring the whole system down in the late 1990s. It made the Republican Party worse, and its bad for the country.
You don’t have to be a Democrat to worry about the Democrats embracing today’s academic extremists who want to bring the whole system down. It isn’t good for the Party and it isn’t good for the country.
Campus unrest is nothing new and it appears to be fed when society does not pay attention.
“a biology professor gets death threats because he doesn’t agree to leave campus because he’s white.”
MIke Kimel is a lying sack. I don’t know why he is permitted to continue to post here since he makes blatant lies.
Nowhere in the links he posted is there one single word saying that the professor received death threats. That’s just a lie. All accounts indicate that while protests have been disruptive, they have been non-violent.
Just the opposite in fact. The professor has been making posts to social media specifically identifying and mocking the protestors, firing up white backlash (like Kimel). One of these women has been the target of neo-Nazis and white supremacists taking the professor’s side. It is that woman who has received the death threats and threats of sexual assault, not the professor.
Please don’t rely on Bret Weinstein’s untrue claim that white Evergreen faculty, like me, were ever instructed to vacate campus. For a reasonably objective account of what transpired at that school, see my post on EconoSpeak: http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-protests-at-evergreen-state-college.html
Thank you. Looking at who was doing the reporting on this was not convincing enough for me to believe it was exactly as portrayed.
I find this stuff silly but not all that troubling. We’ve previous examples of it in American history.
1. Just about ALL of psychology from William James and Sigmund Freud onward has been inaccessible to typical American businessmen and soldiers and other “practical” men for over a century.
2 Ditto for cultural anthropology. I’ll make a partial exception for Margaret Mead, who enjoyed public esteem much of her life, but on the whole, the discipline has not conquered academia the way economics and political science has.
And in physical anthropology … many American conservatives are still leery of Charles Darwin’s ideas, proposed in 1859, about human evolution. Indeed, some pride themselves for scorning the notions of an earth more 6000 years old, which puts them back intellectually to about 1800 or so/
3. Science fiction readers of the 1940’s and 1950’s used to encounter references to a field called “General Semantics”, an analysis of language usage by one Count Alfred Korzybski. Presumably, if this approached worked we’d be hearing much of it in the context of contemporary plotics … but we aren’t. That say, one exponent of Korzybskian semantics, S.A. Hayakawa, rose through the academic ranks to become President of San Francisco State College in the 1960s, and from there went to the US Senate as a Republican.
4. The 50’s and 60’s were also the hey day of Marxist German social scientists in American academia. The Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Erich Fromm, Jurgen Habermas, and others. They terrorized conservatives during the Viet Nam War era, and were especially notorious for excusing student radicals. Associated with them, alas, were some native born American academics — two that stick in my mind are Noam Chomsky and Jerome Lettvin. Likely, folks here have heard of some of these people.
5 Another German-born academic: University of Chicago political science professor Leo Strauss. Strauss is middling well known these days, especially for inspiring Allan Bloom, Henry Jaffa, and other conservative thinkers — including apparently the entire faculty at Claremont McKenna College in California. Strauss is famous, if that’s the right word, for the esoteric notion that Plato and other famed philosophers should be read as promoting ideas the exact opposite of what they committed to paper.
6 Of course the REAL prominent academics of the middle 20th century throughout the world were French. Claude Levi-Strauss comes to mind (from the 1930s actually), then Althusser and Foucaiult and Derroda. We’ll ignore Sarte and de Beauvoir and Camus, since high schoolers can make sense of them.
Get this idea? Foolish and dangerous and unsavory professors have been part of American university life for quite some time, and yet somehow sensible, money-making students keep graduating and going on life, contributing their share to Make America Great Again.
I expect the trend to continue. So, probably, does Mike Kimel.
Mr. Kimel, you made the statement
” The fact is, there are entire departments at most universities whose output seems indistinguishable from a Sokal hoax on steroids.”
Who or what mechanism do you propose which will reliably distinguish?
And how shall these people or mechanism’s decide upon the criteria they use to distinguish?.
And then what make these people’s or mechanism’s know their criteria actually distinguishes?
Maybe popular opinion?
Academes are hot house flowers. They can’t survive the real world. As Dan Akroyd says: “You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector….they expect RESULTS.”
It wouldn’t be wise to approach a Hippopotamus with transgender ideas.
Hippos are sensitive about stuff like that.
It is all a kerfuffle(covfefe). Linear logic systems break down easily. Throwing in a little random is good.
Real rhinos in the wild are done no matter which restroom they choose.
Republicans In Name Only are gone too. Sent to the abattoir.