|Tuesday, April 19th|
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
My presentation attempts to extend the work of Barbara Biesecker, distilled in her scholarly article, “No Time for Mourning: The Rhetorical Production of the Melancholic Citizen-Subject in the War on Terror,” by applying her theory of melancholic rhetoric to President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University. I trace the history of the drone program through the War on Terror and argue that the melancholic rhetoric employed by President Obama has facilitated the continued use of drones as a counter-terrorism tactic. I suggest that there are three distinct tropes present in this rhetoric: creation of an omen of loss; invocation of a state of emergency; and creation of a state of exception. I conclude that like President Bush, President Obama invokes melancholic rhetoric in order to facilitate the continuation of American war efforts.
Samantha Grainger Shuba
11:00 AM - 11:15 AM
The legalistic framework of Whitman College’s Title IX grievance policy from 2011 to 2016 influences the public’s understanding of Title IX. I argue that the Office for Civil Rights’ push for collegiate adjudication of sexual assault as a result of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter led to campus policies that speak in legalese but hold none of the authority of the law. The exigency of Title IX grievance policies stems from a failure of the legal system to provide justice for victims of sexual assault. I argue that the legalistic framework in collegiate adjudications (which are not legal proceedings) portrays these proceedings as a fair system that putatively delivers justice. I also argue that meeting the standards of the judicial system will evolve into justice. I utilize feminist deconstruction to demonstrate how required collegiate adjudication of sexual assault functionally decriminalizes rape instead of offering a just means of redress.
11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
I use a lens of rhetoric, race and media scholarship to analyze the first New York Times articles published after the deaths of Emmett Till, Fred Hampton, and Michael Brown, black men killed by white men in positions of power. My analysis suggests that personal details, race identification, governmental discourse and dissenting voices in the articles contribute to the possibility of governmental action. Media matters, and institutional racism is still a prominent issue in the United States. It is in part through themes and focus within the news media that white power is protected and black bodies are marginalized.
11:30 AM - 11:45 AM
Female genital cutting (FGC) has become an indisputable atrocity in Western public discourse. Many argue that popular Western advocacy against the practice tends to denigrate FGC cultures and to reduce genitally cut women to voiceless victims. In 2014, the British newspaper The Guardian joined the fight against FGC with the launch of its End Female Genital Mutilation Global Media Campaign. Drawing on postcolonial criticism and political scientist Sanjay Seth’s theory of liberalism’s intolerance of difference, I argue that The Guardian campaign authorizes only one condemning narrative of FGC that obscures all others. Through this narrative model, the campaign usurps the agency of the same women it seeks to liberate.
11:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Abjection, the process of being marginalized, is more than a harmful way of being pushed outside of culture. While scholars approach Julia Kristeva’s psychoanalytic concept of abjection in many different ways, I argue that abjection offers up the margins of culture as a potentially productive space. Reading the queer/punk fanzine Homocore through a method of tropological economy, I illustrate what anti-assimilation subcultures can do in their place on the edge of normative cultures. Ultimately, Homocore demonstrates that abjection, accompanied by feelings of jouissance (French for enjoyment or delight), can unsettle existing power relations. Instances of abjection can thus transform “the center” of normative cultures by destabilizing the Symbolic Order, Lacan’s notion of the means of understanding communication, upon which the center relies.