bearistotle Profile picture
Prof of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and History @DukeU. Food, Farming, and Sex are my beats. Our foremost theorist of bear life.
Debra Tropp Profile picture EvCap Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
22 Nov
The True Story of My Grandfather's Name, for What It's Worth An article from the Chicago Sun-Tribune, Dec 2, 1923 about aTwo photographs from the Chicago Tribune of Dec 3, 1923 depi

You got the sense from spending any time around him that Pap knew some shit.

And I don’t mean dead languages or Auden’s poetry or a Wittgenstein aphorism, though he read often and he knew a thing or two about those too. But James Farrell knew some shit.
It was the understated look of disappointment on his face when the soda hit his tongue. It was how he cocked his hat slightly to the left. It was how he discarded loser cards when he played a game of gin.
Read 90 tweets
22 Nov
Trying to decide if I should post this 100+ tweet thread that is a nonlinear slightly pretentious historical not-fiction short story or maybe some of you would find that a bit alienating maybe?
If I do this I will lose
Ehhhh fuck it. If you’re on twitter on a Sunday afternoon you deserve whatever’s coming
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
Not to say, I told you so, but, well, I told you so.

Trump has made it so the only thing that will satisfy his dead-enders is a reversal of the election results. The GOP can’t give them that, and, when they don’t, Trump’s dead-enders will turn on them too.
And, again, it doesn’t matter what Loeffler and Perdue *say* about this. The Trumpkins don’t care. If the GA GOP doesn’t produce the thing that they absolutely cannot produce, the Trumpkins will scream treachery.
Read 5 tweets
20 Nov
Tucker Carlson, National Review, and even the Powerline guys have now publicly noted that neither Trump nor his lawyer's have produced evidence to support claims of a rigged election.

This will have absolutely no impact, not the slightest, on 80-90% of conservatives.
This is because "conservative intellectuals" and their ideas have always been completely irrelevant to the motive functioning of the conservative movement. One would hope this would spark some reflection and self-criticism in those circles. But it won't do that either.
The conservative movement pays conservative intellectuals to produce useful ideas and they sometimes circulate those ideas. The movement doesn't do this because they think those ideas correspond to truth. They do it because they think those ideas advance their interests.
Read 8 tweets
2 Nov
Folks, I've had a nice lift--thanks for the motivation, haters!--and I'd like to return to this. I've already responded elsewhere, but I'll say it again: this "worry" leads to violation of women's reproductive autonomy w/ murky-to-nonexistent empirical link to population growth.
It's a worry about a nationalist racial fantasy and that's the thing about a fantasy: you can't actually have it! But that's all obvious and not really particularly interesting as an add on. What I'd like to talk about is the first bit, the "gender studies" scare-quoting.
You'll notice if you click through to the initial tweet that I'm far from the only person who noticed this rhetoric has a deep link to white eugenic fantasy. My friend @KevinMKruse more or less calls him Lothrop Stoddard, for example.
Read 10 tweets
1 Nov
Top 10 counties by votes as % of Registered Voters w/ Clinton/Trump '16 Margin:
Chatham 75.2 53/43
Brunswick 68.5 34/62
Alexander 68.1 21/76
Buncomb 68 54/40
Wake 67.7 57/37
Orange 67.4 72/22
Mitchell 67.1 20/78
Lincoln 67 25/72
Durham 66.8 78/18
Alleghany 66.5 25/72
Now those same counties as % of 2016 total votes w Clinton/Trump '16 margin.
Chatham 108 (53/43)
Brunswick 114 (34/62)
Alexander 92 (21/76)
Buncomb 101 (54/40)
Wake 101 (57/37)
Orange 91/ (72/22)
Mitchell 91 (20/78)
Lincoln 104 (25/72)
Durham 104 (78/18)
Alleghany 142 (25/72)
Ooops numbers on Alleghany are way off LOL

Should be

66.5% of RV
95% of 2016 Total vote
Clinton/Trump vote: 25/72
Read 4 tweets
31 Oct
LOL sure sure. For example, all the great historians of the holocaust lacked any personal animosity towards the Nazis. Purely, immaculately neutral.
Less glibly, it is good for scholars to analyze their relationships to their objects as well as what they desire from objects and scholarship. Insofar as they are in relation to those things, it will involve some degree of attachment, estrangement, and (dis)identification.
But being conscious of how your own sense of self is implicated in what and how you study is not the same thing as neutrality, nor does having an affective relation to an object "taint" or "discredit" your analysis.
Read 5 tweets
23 Oct
I'm going to say a bit more about this passage from @roddreher and how it illustrates that social conservatives are constantly *projecting* when they complain about the left "sexualizing children." In fact, it is almost always the case that they are sexualizing children.
More than anything, the passage reminds me of a speech I quote in my book, *The 4-H Harvest,* given by the psychologist, Dr. Hedley Dimock, at the 1935 National 4-H Congress.
As you can see in the passage from the book, Dimock was quite transparent about his position. He celebrated 4-H for doing what Rod is suggesting: offering a wholesome place to socialize "heterosexual relations."
Read 22 tweets
17 Oct
To expand on something here: profitable and environmentally sustainable farming can actually be quite complicated and *knowledge intensive* in ways that are incompatible with alt-ag's fetishization of small owner-operated "family" farms.
It requires expert knowledge and training in dozens of fields, not only those dealing with the technical side of farming, but also from environmental and life sciences and business and accounting. In no other industry do people assume *one person* (the farmer) should do all this.
Sustainability also requires an ecological perspective that doesn't fit within the fencerow to fencerow of propertied farms. Wetland or prairie restoration can't be effectively managed at 100 or 200 acres. It requires a much larger scale that, in turn, requires teams of experts.
Read 8 tweets
16 Oct
The "professors are a threat to free speech!" narrative is farcical when compared to the activities of, say, the organization of (mostly) white men with guns in your town that has a monopoly on violence, strong political views, and extensive political contacts and capital.
Imagine a group of professors trying to pull off something comparable in your town. Absolute nonsense. Few could (or would) even organize parallel retaliation against a *campus organization* at their university. To the extent that happens, it's almost always student activism.
So @LDBurnett tweeting about Pence's "little demon mouth" or @drewmckevitt tweeting that he doesn't want the President to die of Covid-19? Threats to free speech. The police force using its political heft to punish an NGO that fights domestic violence for a BLM yard sign? 🤷‍♀️
Read 7 tweets
21 Aug
Two related but distinct reasons to regulate instructor-student sex: 1) "Abuse": sex under conditions of unequal power can create *sexual harms.* 2) "Equity": Sex can create differential access (or perception thereof) that generates *pedagogical harms* to other students.
I find several things quite telling in the Morse scandal: A) College dems letter and assorted denunciations described the harms always as (1) -- language of predation, grooming, abuse, power -- but rarely as (2) (ineffective, unfair, inattentive).
B) Concerns from my colleagues about "professional ethics" made no serious effort to distinguish their own analysis of the situation from the dems letter. I.e. there was no effort to distinguish concerns about *sexual harm* from concerns about *pedagogical harm.*
Read 10 tweets
20 Aug
The Grievance Studies crew, beyond having suspect intentions, are sloppy thinkers and bad readers. They're so rigidly committed to their critique that they dump all sorts of contrary evidence into the pot. Ironically, that's what they accuse critical theorists of doing.
In the past, one of their primary gripes has been that postmodernism says that truth is radically subjective. Thus, rather than looking for material causes to problems, they say, pomos blame vast abstract conspiracies (patriarchy, racism, capitalism).
Does postmodernism, or poststructuralism, or whatever random medley of ideas and thinkers you want to blame, really have the power to reconfigure our politics in such a powerful and totalizing way? I dunno, but you certainly can't claim to be a *materialist* and think so.
Read 10 tweets
19 Aug
Take your @steak_umm and shove it: A proposed course of study for “socially-responsible” faux-woke frozen meat brand accounts about the social irresponsibility of the industry that pays them.
Thesis: Beef is among the most socially damaging and irresponsible products in American life. It is catastrophic for the environment, workers, and animals. It has been and continues to be a vital engine of settler colonialism, racial capitalism, and reactionary politics.
Cattle have always been a key instrument of North American settler colonialism. Livestock introduced by European settlers disrupted indigenous ecosystems, native land management and agriculture, and transmitted infectious illness.
Read 50 tweets
25 Apr
Another slaughterhouse thread?! Yep.

In MD and DE, farmers will destroy roughly 2 million chickens. Why? Because chicken plants are shuttered at the moment and farmers will not feed chickens indefinitely. This dramatizes something I was getting at in a thread the other day.
That thread, to review, was questioning the power attributed to "exposing" the grisly details of slaughter as a tool of animal liberation. If slaughterhouses are the grounds for our primary encounter with livestock will it generate moral concern?

My contention was that the overdetermination and (imagined) non-relationality of the slaughter spaces “derealize” livestock and make them embodiments of unlivability. We may not seek to stop their deaths because we cannot imagine them properly living or doing anything but dying.
Read 28 tweets
23 Apr
A long thread about slaughterhouses. This thread was sparked by an interesting thread (below) from a historian I deeply respect. And I think the larger argument is mostly correct, but this bit about the industrial slaughter of animals is, well, probably not.
This is one of the basic cliches of contemporary animal liberation and alternative food movement discourse: if people could *see* the brutal treatment of animals, they wouldn’t tolerate it. But the brutality of slaughterhouses is an open secret, well documented, and well known.
Michael Pollan famously suggested that if we built slaughterhouses out of glass, they would be immediately closed. In other words, transparency leads to empathy leads to political action to relieve suffering.
Read 28 tweets
9 Apr
Part of the endowment story is this: Big elite unis jacked up tuition sticker prices but expanded financial aid for most students so that the discount rate actually declined relative to inflation. But that was premised on estimates of stable aggregate need.
The problem right now for university budgets is *not* endowment income. Endowment income is usually drawn on the basis of longterm quarterly averages to "smooth" market fluctuations. Plus year over year the S&P is only down 2%.
The budget problem is two-fold: 1) there's a bunch of specific COVID related costs that unis are currently footing with the hope that a Fed bailout will make them whole. 2) Much bigger: Financial aid needs in a world with 15% unemployment.
Read 10 tweets
30 Mar
Y'all are just catching up on Richard Epstein, huh? Epstein wrote a 1988 law review article arguing that employers should be able to fire HIV-positive workers even if they posed no health risks and the employer knew they posed no health risks.
Read it for yourself: Epstein, Richard A. "AIDS, Testing and the Workplace." U. Chi. Legal F. (1988): 33 - 56. It's probably pay-walled.
This guy has been monumentally wrong on infectious disease and public health for DECADES but he is, of course, a regular lurking presence on the New York Times Op-Ed page and people couldn't wait to suck up his ignorant COVID-19 take.
Read 12 tweets
26 Mar
Epidemic Illness, Animal Agriculture, and the History of Quarantines in the United States: A Thread
One frustrating bit in GOP opposition to increasing unemployment insurance was the idea that if workers earned more on UI than working, they wouldn't go to work. But that’s the point! Public policy should incentive voluntary cooperation with quarantines.
Indeed, although most quarantines have various punitive components, public health authorities recognize--and have for a long time--that they also need to structure them to encourage cooperation. Oddly, this is a lesson learned drawn from history of animal agriculture in the US.
Read 28 tweets
23 Jan
On the Trial of the Rats of Autun by the Ecclesiastical Court there and Their Valiant and Successful Defense by the Famed Jurist, Barthélemy de Chasseneuz: A Thread
The story begins at harvest in 1508 in the city of Autun, 150 miles southeast of Paris. Nestled in the rolling hills of the upper Loire, Autun straddles its tributary, the Arroux, and it is home to the famed Autun Cathedral, where much of this story likely transpired.
It was farming country, but the rats had gotten into the barley, destroyed the crop, and the whole region risked falling into famine and disorder. Some whispered that the rats had been sent by the devil. An ecclesiastical, or church, court was convened to address the matter.
Read 41 tweets
6 Aug 19
Ok y'all did it: A thread about hogs, ferality, and race in American history.
Domestic hogs are not indigenous to North America. They were first introduced by the Spanish during the earliest phases of colonization. In fact, in many cases, hogs long preceded Europeans as the first wave of colonizers,
Hogs are tough, fierce, and hardy beasts. Their tusks offer ample defense against catamounts and other predators. They are thrifty breeders, producing large litters of viable offspring. And they can self-provision in forests, scrub, and grass (tho they also need shade and mud).
Read 32 tweets