Dr. Johnathan Flowers wants to see academia burn. Profile picture
Martial artist, motorcyclist, and comics philosopher working on Japanese thought, race, gender, disability, and tech/AI via “why would skynet care?” He/Him/His
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12 Jun
Apropos of conversations about the connections between King and CRT, I point to this passage from King's "The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement," which can be found here:

In the above, King tasks the APA and the nation's behavioral scientists, to take up systemic inquiry into the nature of how the soul of "White America" has been poisoned by racism. Now, King's generous corpus defines the nature of this poison, so I won't cover it here.
However, what is important to note is the following from King wherein he presents the awakening of the Black people to consciousness of the nature of their oppression which he describes as "systemic."
Read 9 tweets
11 Jun
I don't even know what the democrats (or really any "progressive," even your faves) hope to accomplish by doing anything remotely conciliatory towards their opponents.

Why negotiate with motherfuckers who have demonstrated they'll burn everything down just to fuck you over?
I'm being completely serious here. And, to be philosophical, in Ch.11 of The Art of War, Sun Tzu says the following:

"In difficult ground, press on; On encircled ground, use subterfuge; In death ground, fight."
Something not clear here is that a good commander has to be able to read the ground. This is similar to a broader cultural concept of "reading the air," where one takes stock of the affective (and tactical) energy of a space and responds accordingly with the resources at hand.
Read 17 tweets
11 Jun
I kind of wanted to follow up on this.

I don't want to discount revenge as a valuable affect. Taking a page from Lorde as I usually do, revenge can be useful if rightly directed, if the fear of retribution is used for creative transformation.
Further, revenge as motivation can lose some of its pernicious nature if we recognize, through Ahmed, that our desire for revenge in an instance of injustice does not subsequently make us just. Revenge might become just if used to transform the situation that occasioned it.
That said, there is something important to note about how revenge and justice are entangled in American society. Since we culturally privilege retributive justice over restorative justice, when this cultural inheritance is applied to social justice movements, weird shit happens.
Read 14 tweets
10 Jun
If you use sexual violence as a metaphor to describe a theory, that's a blockin', full stop.

I'm happy to build my moral high ground on the corpses of the trolls I've slain, but some shit is beyond the pale and not worth the engagement.
Sexual violence is not trivial, and theoretical positions that you disagree with are not acts of intellectual violation on par with sexual violence. Using sexual violence metaphorically or analogically to describe theory trivializes the real trauma of sexual violence.
Using sexual violence analogically or metaphorically in this way also contributes to the ongoing permissibility of sexual violence in our culture. It treats the violence as "normal," rather than as a sign of an expansive social problem. It's also really fucking callous.
Read 5 tweets
10 Jun
Nobody tell the anti-CRT crowd but “woke” scholars have been critical of CRT, and much of it’s deployment in education, for well over a decade.

The crucial difference is in the outcomes and objectives.
Anti-woke grifters see the permanence of race, counterstory telling, and critique of liberalism as indoctrination and anti-American or as reverse racism.

They also see it as existential threats to liberty and a vision of America as a post-racial fantasy land.
Fun fact, anti-CRT assholes: Bell and many founders of CRT reject what they call a “world upside down” and they do so vigorously in text. Also “post-racial” ideology is nothing but a neo-liberal fantasy to avoid doing the hard work of anti-racism.
Read 9 tweets
9 Jun
You know that meme with the swords and the smug looking dude that's all "what leftist take would get this response from leftists?"

This one is mine.
To this, I would add the following: too fucking many leftists are comfortable with the inaccessibility of their "radical" spaces and fuck is it disgusting. Especially when they brand themselves as "inclusive."

Inclusive of what? Neurotypical, able-bodied radicals?
Further, leftist analysis that reduces ableism to a class problem misses the whole fucking point. Your class revolution might resolve some economic burdens, which is awesome, but it will not make for a more accessible society unless you consider ableism beyond a class framework.
Read 5 tweets
9 Jun
Aside from work in Disability Studies and Philosophy of Disability?

Sami Schalk - Bodyminds Reimagined
Dewey - Experience and Nature
Dogen - Shobogenzo
Sara Ahmed - Queer Phenomenology, Cultural Politics of Emotion
Shelley Tremain - Foucault and Feminist Philosophy of Disability
If I were in a Phil Mind/Cog Sci program, or advise students in said program, they would have to have a thorough grounding in Disability Studies, Philosophy of Disability, and some non-western tradition to broaden their assumptions about "the mind" and how we have "minds."
For example, look at what Mark Johnson has done with "mainstream" Phil Mind/Cog Sci and pragmatism: he gets his Dewey "mostly" right, but when he brings neuroscience to the table, he ejects all of Dewey's thinking about how diversity of bodies leads to diversity of minds.
Read 7 tweets
9 Jun
Since my book deals with affect and gender, one of the things I've been thinking about is sexual orientation as a description the direction of one's affective (not necessarily sexual) desire. That is, how one is affectively oriented towards some people and not others.
Now, I'm not so concerned about the origins of such things as, for me, the only reason to consider the origin of sexual orientation is if you want to impose control over it. Further, origin often has little to do with the existing direction unless you're thinking in process.
Putting origin aside, I do want to acknowledge that regardless of the starting point, the direction of our affective desire and the shape that it takes emerges in transaction with the environment. I say in transaction because people make misguided claims about such things.
Read 17 tweets
8 Jun
First of all, in the words of Kai Winn:
Second, the ongoing abuse of students by faculty is not a "moral panic:" it is a pattern of behavior enabled by institutional collusion through ineffective policies and the treatment of complaint as a threat to the image of the institution, rather than a threat to student safety.
To be clear, when I say "student safety," I don't just mean undergraduates, who are our typical image of the student preyed upon: I also mean graduate students and post-docs. They, too, are vulnerable to predatory behavior of faculty.
Read 9 tweets
8 Jun
I’m listening to the new Rise Against album and this shit slaps. Some lyrics:

“They break us like horses
how long will we drag their plow
what will continue to be
is what we allow”

“It’s your trail to blaze
or your bridge to burn
or your bridge to burn”
“If everything you knew
was a goddamn lie
would you up and explode
like it’s the Fourth of July?”
“And for your sweat, you’ll be rewarded
They told us every day
There’s a land of milk and honey
And it’s not that far away
But the finish line kept moving
And the promises wore thin
And the smoke on the horizon
Was the burning promised land”
Read 5 tweets
6 Jun
Since this has been living rent free in my head, the way that philosophy thinks about "thought experiments," the qualitative control or "style" required for thought experiments to be taken as such, has a lot to do with how they fail where fiction succeeds.
By "qualitative control," I mean the very specific stylistic demands of "thought experiments" in philosophy. Now, most philosophers would argue that there is no "style" nor a "stylistic demand" imposed upon philosophical thought experiments, I take that to be bullshit.
Were this not the case, we would recognize Mengzi's "child in the well," Dogen's "Mountains and Rivers as Sutras," or even the whole tradition of Koan practice across Buddhism as thought experiments. And yet, they are classed as something else, something other.
Read 9 tweets
6 Jun
To be clear, I did not ask science or scientists to make policy: I asked that bioethicists consider the social implications of the research they produced.

Now, in doing so, I appealed to Dewey's conception of the responsibility of science to society for very good reasons.
First, many bioethicists seem to think of themselves as informing the deployment of science via philosophy. That's fine. But as purported experts on the ethical questions at the intersection of biology and ethics, they share responsibility for how the work is used.
This point is worth considering as the work of the authors of that paper is routinely circulated within the professional fields that emerge from the sciences. Here, I'm talking specifically about medicine, and the ways their work informs medical dispositions toward disability.
Read 20 tweets
5 Jun
I'm going to respond to this one because it is important. In "Feminist Killjoys and Other Willful Subjects" Sara Ahmed says the following:

"That you have described what was said by another as a problem means you have created a problem. You become the problem you create."
Put in an academic context, that I have described the "quest for truth" as practiced by the academy as a problem, means that I have created a problem. In creating the problem, in problematizing the quest for truth, I have become a problem. Hence, I am an example of the problem.
Let's run this back. I've become the problem because I've shattered the "happy image" of what the quest for truth entails, what the consequences of that quest have been, and how those consequences have caused suffering. The "happy image" of an unproblematic life of mind is gone.
Read 10 tweets
5 Jun
My thread on the Singer paper has apparently upset some folks with my characterization of its conclusions and how I associated it with a larger trend of using academic freedom to defend bigotry and marginalization.

I'd like to begin my response with the following:
Having said that, I'm actually going to respond seriously.

I will not be tagging some folks I'm referencing in this thread because they, and their work, do not deserve to be collateral damage in whatever twitter shitstorm emerges from the "partisan language" in this response.
That said, many of the responses are concerned about how the thread "shuts down inquiry" or uses the language of religion to essentially do what Singer and company predicted would be done in their section on "partisan language" and "polarization." This is not a problem for me.
Read 27 tweets
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.
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
3 Jun
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.
Read 7 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