Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, January 08, 2018

Vacation Days...

I'm re-reading David C. Hoy's chapters in the book he co-wrote on Critical Theory with Thomas McCarthy (whose chapters, you will forgive me, I am not re-reading) in anticipation of teaching the latest iteration of my critical theory survey course. I've taught dozens of versions of this class -- but like so much else I really find I am questioning and re-thinking the value and utility of texts I have been teaching for years. In the time of Trump what kinds of theory do the work of clarification, organization, resistance to tyranny? My Fontenelle, Kant, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Barthes, Debord sequence in the first half of the term is so very pale and male and philosophically stale -- it's true we will also grapple with W.E.B. Du Bois, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Hannah Arendt, Naomi Klein, Frantz Fanon, Donna Haraway, Michel Foucault, Angela Davis, Laura Mulvey, Kobena Mercer, Achille Mbembe, Gayatri Spivak, Carol Adams, and more, but weaving what is vital in contemporary critique, in its intersectional genealogy and deconstruction of able-bodied, cisheteronormative white supremacy, with the philosophical pretensions (and hence endless mansplaining) of Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and the Frankfurt school just feels more fraught every livelong day.

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