Friday, September 29, 2023

Differences and Differends: One More Note on the Politics of Education


I know that I should not even bother to engage with such things, but I saw someone retweet this from Christopher Rufo on X-Twitter. I think that it is revealing about two fundamental different ways of thinking about diversity and differences in a university. First, as Judith Butler states in the video posted below (11:49), that classes in women and gender studies are filled with debate and discussion. This is something that I think anyone who has been in a classroom would probably agree with. I would argue that it extends that it goes beyond gender studies to other subjects of supposed indoctrination such as critical race theory or even Marxism. Christopher Rufo's response to this is to focus not on what happens in such classrooms, he has probably never been in one, but to cite some supposed fact that faculty in gender and interdisciplinary studies are 100% left. I am not sure what he means by that, or if he is including all interdisciplinary programs, but I am going to assume that the left he is referring to is voting patterns, since that is an obsession of many critiques of higher education. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Return to Doppelgängerland: Naomi Klein's Mirror World


Enter the Dragon

When I first read that Naomi Klein wrote a book about being confused for her doppelgänger, Naomi Wolf, I was initially amused. I had written earlier about the doppelgänger as the monster of our times, and it seemed that Klein was confirming that thesis. Klein dealing with Wolf seemed like it might be a fun distraction, but as I read the book, I was immediately struck with the fact that Klein is taking on more than a particular case of mistaken identity. Her book Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World, is in some sense an attempt to make sense of the world we are living in a world dominated by social media doppelgangers in which the work of political and social criticism has its own dark doppelganger in the world of conspiracy theories.