The most cutting refutation of the institutional obession with optics I've ever read was in Sara Ahmed's "On Being Included:" Image
To be clear, every time I've attempted to do diversity work, accessibility work, or any other work that could be enfolded into the broader class of "image work" in ways that moved beyond changing perceptions, institutions have fought tooth and nail to avoid committing.
Moreover, it is my position that every "institutional metric" used in institutional work is aimed at either refuting an "image" of the institution or revealing the "true image" of the institution. Either way, you're dealing with perception.
Now, the issue isn't dealing with perception: without addressing how the institution is perceived as hostile, racist, sexist, inaccessible by its members, you can't begin the process of changing the institution. The problem is when institutions are only concerned with image.
That is, institutions are focused on how they are seen by external entities, and less about the experience of the people who make up the institution. So, "optics" becomes a way of dealing with how the institution is seen, and not how it is experienced.
Put simply, if you're not concerned about how the institution is experienced, you're condemned to maintain the very conditions that give rise to how your institution is "seen."

Unless you have the money or clout to make the "image problem" go away by burying the "problem.:
This latter is, point of fact, the majority of what institutions do to people who "damage" the image of the institution by revealing the depths of its ugliness.

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More from @shengokai

5 Jun
Actually, let me go a little further about this since I'm good and mad. I warned people that the logical consequence of these "academic freedom" fights would be the creation of a field where people can pass off bigotry as scholarship unchecked.
Now, "Can 'eugenics' be defended" doesn't function in the same way as the GC's circulation of bigotry as scholarship, but it is operating in the same rhetorical sphere where inquiry must be defended at all costs, regardless of the harm it does to the subjects of that inquiry.
And, make no mistake, this article isn't calling for a reasoned conversation about the nature of "genetic enhancement" or any of the other euphemisms used by the authors: it is looking to evade the responsibility of considering the impact of this scholarship on disabled people.
Read 8 tweets
5 Jun
I read that fucking Singer eugenics paper and rarely have I been more disgusted with the state of this cursed field.
Bold of them to make this claim when the majority of these folks, and the discipline at large, refuses to engage with work by disabled philosophers, much less philosophical work that puts these "problems" in a larger social and cultural context, a context this piece ignores. Image
I'm suddenly reminded of Audre Lorde, of Frederick Douglass, who pointed out the hypocrisy of asking us to engage in dialogue when no such olive branch has been extended. We need only look at the citations on this paper for confirmation of this point.
Read 7 tweets
4 Jun
Get to work figuring out the broader institutional structure. What does "head of Universal Pictures" mean, and what are the limits of my authority?

That would take about a month Then, I'd collect my first paycheck, and pay off some of my debt.
Oh, you meant what else I would do? Start an educational division focused on providing students with practical, hands on experience in each of Universal's subsidiary units.

I'd focus the division's outreach at public 4 year, regional, minority serving, and community colleges.
By "practical, hands on experience," I don't just mean the actor/director/writer's craft, I mean everything from information technology, to set forepersons, to catering and transportation services, all of it.
Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
@Helenreflects once posed a question about American Pragmatism that I've been pondering for a bit. Essentially it boils down to if American Pragmatism should be counted as a less commonly taught philosophy. My initial answer, as is normally the case, was "yes but..."
I don't think "American Pragmatism" as a sub-field is a less commonly taught philosophy, at least not in the same way that non-western, feminist, and other marginalized philosophies are treated as less commonly taught. American Pragmatism crops up in a variety of places.
For example, most "Philosophy of Education" courses engage Dewey at some point, and Dewey is a long time resident in many education syllabi in education departments. Specifically, Dewey's work on education and culture is often circulated as a grounding text on pedagogy.
Read 16 tweets
3 Jun
Left my office for a minute to get some water and found my cat snoozing on the chapter I was editing. I think that's a sign for me to stop.

In other news, I've managed to drink water, follow up with my cat's vet, and almost completely revised an entire chapter on my manuscript.
Honestly though, the revisions weren't that bad: I spent way too much time talking about Butler, when I really should've been focusing on the meat of Sullivan's argument and supplementing it with Shusterman.
Unfortunately, this means I need to add the Shusterman stuff in, but that's maybe a day and a half worth of work from start to finish. The real challenge is going to be a whole chapter on kata, katachi, and dramatic form towards the end. And a conclusion.
Read 5 tweets
27 May
I was going to sit on this, but fuck it:

"You, who are so liberal and so humane, who have such an exaggerated adoration of the academy that it verges on affectation, you pretend to forget that you run departments and that in them precarious faculty are exploited in your name."
This is a modification of one of Sartre's quotes from his preface to Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, which you can find below:…
To be clear, this isn't a subtweet of tenured faculty, though it can be read as such: this is a subtweet of the broad structures of the academy that have become reliant upon contingent and precarious faculty, so much so that I don't think the academy can imagine itself otherwise.
Read 16 tweets

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