Space and Time Separate Opt Out Film Week, but Anti-TSA Activists Protest On

Today marks the start of Opt Out & Film Film Week, a weeklong protest aimed at convincing passengers to refuse the use of the TSA’s advanced imaging technology in our nation’s airports (opting out) and when they receive an enhanced pat-down to film the procedure. Aside from potentially overwhelming TSA checkpoints with a mass of individuals opting out across the nation, the project is aimed at raising awareness about the TSA by creating a video archive of the TSA’s hands on contact with our bodies. The hope seems to be that with  a mass of videos there will be evidence of misconduct by the TSA and increased public awareness of what these activists view as a dangerous power grab by the state.

The organizers of Opt Out & Film Week have also created fliers that can be handed out at airports for those who are unable to fly this week. The hope is that if you cannot travel you can still engage in a PR campaign in hopes of convincing people to joining the protest on their way into the airport.

In my own research I have distinguished between resistance-performances and the resistance-performative. Resistance-performances, I contend, are the automatic reactive postures taken to the State  that do little to advance resistive politics. State’s anticipate the expression of resistance and even rely on the extremes of such logics to help moderate State positions. In essence, resistance-performances can legitimate the TSA by making anti-TSA critics appear as enclaves of people branding the TSA and Nazis. In such a discursive environment building resistive politics with mainstream appeal can be difficult.

The resistance-performative, however, is based on the notion of kinesis–that certain rituals have the potential to dramatically alter current social relations. Our performatives materially engage in a breaking and remaking of society leaving customs  and practices wholly changed from what they were before. Clearly, Opt Out & Film week is engaged in a week long campaign to alter the flows of power in airport security checkpoints. The last Opt Out Week, in November 2010, was a  failure. Evidence of this failure is little change in TSA practices two years later. Assuming that Opt Out & FIlm Week will necessarily be successful would be a mistake but that does not mean the protest cannot be a success. There are a few factors, however, working against the this protest.

1) Space- Most successful protests rely on mass mobilization. Even online mobilization recognizes the power of crowds. However, the business of airports and the function of security is about metering entrance to spaces and creating senses of inclusion and exclusion. Airports are almost impossible to mass in, and the design of Opt Out & Film mobilizes the power of the crowd in their digital archives after the fact. I am curious if a sense of solidarity and momentum will be achieved by assembling often isolated acts of opting out (that may be filmed)  after the fact. After all, even if the thousands who indicate they are joining the protests do engage, their flights are divided by time and space across the nations airports and border crossings.

2- Time- The sense of isolation that occurs with space also occurs because of time. Even if activists are located in the same city, they may fly at different times on the same day or different days this week. While a week long protest is needed with the enormity of the air national infrastructure it could threaten the efficacy of the protest.

3-Class-While there are an array of reasons to be concerned about the increased surveillance of bodies by the State, and resistance to normalized acts of watching is even healthy, the embedded issues of classism in anti-TSA communities persists. I wrote about class and Opt Out & Film Week in a previous post and got a very fast response from Ashley Jessica who is the main organizer behind this protest. Her argument was that class is not a relevant factor because anyone can participate by showing up to airports and handing out fliers.

As I responded at that time, class would only be irrelevant if you live near an airport, have leisure time away from work to protest, transportation to and from the airport, and freedom from a host of other social obligations that would allow you to go and protest. One of the things I am aware of as a critical scholar is that factors like class ( race and gender as well) are never irrelevant, especially when it comes to conversations about State surveillance. A leaked recording of a stop made under New York’s “Stop and Frisk” program underscores that under racist regimes, for example, there may be more pressing issues than TSA surveillance.

While all of these would qualify as critiques of Opt Out & Film Week, my hope is that Ashley Jessica and other supports do not take them negatively. Critique is integral to social discourse. Also, none of them are meant to suggest that the protest is unable to be effective. Over the next few days it is certainly an exciting time for anti-TSA activists as they engage in the resistance-performative in airports across the nation’s air infrastructure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grad School, news and Culture, Research, TSA

Anti-TSA Opt Out Protest Planned & The Unbearable Privilege & Legitimacy of TSA Resistance

A new protest event is planned to fight the TSA’s use of whole body imagers and enhanced pat downs, however, this protest could be undermined by the privilege and access required to get into airports themselves.

Anti-TSA activist Ashley Jessica has teamed teamed up with to plan a  massive anti-TSA protest this November. The aptly titled Opt Out and Film protest is aimed at getting people en-mass to refuse the use of the TSA’s Advanced Imaging Technology (including backscatter technology which some critics claim exposes passengers to harmful radiation and millimeter wave technology which Jessica claims damages passengers’ DNA). The goal of Opt Out and film day is to:

OPT OUT and FILM Week takes place November 19, 2012- November 26, 2012


They will no longer use the threat of molestation to intimidate us into going through health damaging body scanners!

We will no longer tolerate them violating our civil liberties and human rights!We will no longer allow the TSA to stick their hands down our pants and touch our private parts!Any TSA agent who chooses to violate our rights and freedoms will be put on display for the world to see!


The protest capitalizes on two tactics that have been most successful in generating popular support for those who resist the TSA. First, in general, people who opt out whole body imagers are treated with admiration by many who oppose the TSA. Moreover, the protest aims to create more people opting out than a checkpoint can handle. Second, online videos of the TSA failing to follow protocol often sparks outrage among the TSA’s critics and even among those who often ignore the administration. Thus, a comprehensive strategy to force the agency to deal with more bodies than usual and to film those encounters will likely lead to increased tempers and mistakes. All of this suggests the potential for plenty of film to capture the kind of footage that creates the  anti-TSA narratives critics prefer.
This latest resistance effort got a boost when consumer advocate Christopher Elliot threw his support behind the protest, proclaiming the opt out week as a means to “kill” the TSA’s full body scanners. In a tweet Elliot even declared that 78% of travelers would participate in such a protest.
Of course Elliot fails to mention in his post that his 78% number comes from voluntary respondents to a poll on his website and on an article hosted by Huffington Post travel. Obviously 78% of travelers would not participate in “opt-out” week and to claim so is wildly misleading.
This underscores one of the major weaknesses with opt-out type protests: mobilization. In my own research I have found that large segments of anti-TSA critics, unlike Elliot or Jessica, either do not fly or overstate their actual opposition to the TSA. Evidence of this comes from their ignorance of TSA procedures or statements proclaiming that if the TSA were to touch them they would assault the TSA (instances of assault on TSA employees are rare).  Meaning, that even if they do fly they do not adhere to their values of resistance in actual airport spaces.
Moreover, Ashley Jessica and infowar’s opt out and film week, which takes place between November 19, 2012 at 6am and November  26, 2012 at 11pm, smacks of almost unbearable privilege. The protest asks passengers to:
Fly within the United States, OPT OUT of the body scanner and have someone FILM your pat-down;
You can also opt-out of other unreasonable TSA security procedures (i.e. eye scan, drink testing inside the terminal etc.) and film what happens.
There is a clear element of class here that comes with the ability to select to fly during one of the busiest and most expensive travel times during the year, preferably not alone, to have the ability & technology to film your pat down, and to have the leisure time to risk delays as a result of one’s protest. Because airport spaces require capital as a precursor to access, protesting them is a unique activity. Thus, Jessica, Elliot, and Infowars are taking an activity of privilege and protesting it. I want to underscore that I am not suggesting that actions by the TSA do not warrant resistance because of inherent privilege in air travel. However, given that many anti-TSA advocates dismiss those who support or refuse to oppose the agency (calling them plants or slaves online) or overstate the volume of those who resist the TSA; opt out and film week is particularly susceptible to its own unbearable privilege. I am not isolated from such privilege, after all my own research on airport spaces and resistance to the TSA is absolutely open to such critiques.
Will opt out and film be successful? I don’t know. I am sure that if it occurs the TSA will dismiss it as a minor inconvenience and its supporters will triumph it as a grand success. Both citing little evidence. However, unless it becomes a grand act of resistance it will fade quickly. Any history of resistance is also a history of persistence. Airport security, like airports themselves are about the persistence of capital- to flow in a globalized world-without the commitment to opt out beyond one week what incentive will the TSA have to make any change?
For all the complaints about abuses by the TSA, why do they deserve  more attention now than the decades of complaints of abuse by State actors against the poor who rarely have consumer advocates or access to privileged activities like flying that are supposed to be free of the indignities of State violence?

Leave a comment

Filed under Research, Rhetoric, TSA, Uncategorized

Initial Conclusions on Public Resistance to the TSA

This serves as a quasi research update. The current dissertation chapter I am working on studies public resistance to the TSA by tracking public and official discourse about videos passengers have shot of their screening process. You can see an example of one such video here. In this video a women claims to have been detained by the TSA, and forced to miss her flight because of her attitude towards the TSA. I have yet to assess the veracity of this video.

One important trend among the videos in my study is that many of them claim in captions, blogs, and stories to show malfeasance on the part of the TSA while there was none or there was inappropriate actions taken by both agents and the passenger. I point this out because as stories of the heavy handed TSA circulate; critiques of the agency must be grounded in actual policy disagreements and agent malfeasance, not a mythos of rumored misdeeds. For example, a widely circulated video claims to show a young child being strip searched by the TSA at Salt Lake City International Airport. In reality, the child’s father took of the child’s shirt in an attempt to expedite the process. I am, by no means, trying to buffer the TSA from criticism, but my research points to a pernicious degree to which videos of this type are often said to show one thing even when they mean another. That said, a number of videos and stories exist that document instances of questionable actions by the TSA.

I offer seven preliminary conclusions based on what my research has found so far. This reads as some tough-love for TSA critics. Please do not assume I am fawning for the TSA, I have much to say to them as well.

1. The larger issue with TSA critics is that they argue privatization is the solution. Why is corporate surveillance preferred to State?

An undercurrent within critiques of the TSA is a specifically anti-government anti-big brother sentiment. Given the TSA’s techniques of surveillance (I discuss their surveillance technology in my dissertation’s previous chapter and their rituals and performances of surveillance in the next chapter), concern over surveillance is not unfounded. However, while I freely admit state surveillance is problematic I cannot accept that corporate surveillance is necessarily a better outcome. First, even in places where the TSA is using private companies to perform security screenings they use the same procedures as the TSA. Nothing has changed and it is unlikely that most consumers or the government would want to relax security restrictions any time soon. Second, a profit motive adds alternative drives for monitoring and data collection. These are different from the state’s desire to watch our bodies but are nonetheless disconcerting.

2. Absent a successful legal challenge, what would motivate Congress to dismantle the TSA?

This issue comes down to a basic burden of proof. The TSA has a remarkable safety record. How do we know that? We don’t. As long as the agency can show an effective record in securing our air infrastructure without large scale resistance from political moderates there is little political will to change the TSA’s mandate. Additionally, many assert the TSA is unconstitutional. While there are legal challenges underway, critics must become more nuanced than to claim it is unconstitutional because I say so. Knowing your rights is absolutely critical, but knowing them as the law defines them is more important than how you think the law ought to define them.

3. Those who call everything the TSA does security theater ignore the agency’s ability to cope with real threats & post 9/11 innovations.

Since 9/11 airport security has undergone a massive change in it techniques for securing our air transportation infrastructure. That said, the TSA is not an impenetrable wall of security and critics have taken to calling its efforts security theater to claim it is more about creating the appearance of security than actual security. I offer a more substantive critique of this in my research, not that I wholly dismiss it but I offer an alternative read. That said, some techniques that have been added post 9/11 may offer more advantages to the screening process. That does not make them inherently good, but it does mean critics need to be more nuanced than it is all security theater. Also, that does not mean the TSA should have unlimited fiat. The conversation must cease to be all or nothing.

4. Critics can’t claim the TSA violates their constitutional rights & demand the agency violate the Equal Protection clause.

Again, the TSA’s actions are not unconstitutional simply because you say so. I am fully sympathetic that most frustrations with the TSA begin with a simple premise: I pose no risk to this flight so why should I face any added scrutiny? However, your knowledge that you pose no risk and the TSA’s appraisal of you are two very different things. Moreover, many critics argue for implementing racial profiling. Not only does this violate the equal protection clause (note the irony for angst about constitutional violations) but it ignores the insurgent and adaptable tactics of terrorism as a technique for violence making.

5. Both critics & the TSA must cope with the fact that threats innovate, thus children, the elderly, etc become attractive means for terror.

This may seem redundant with the previous point, however, the people and means by which threats are brought to airports and aircraft are malleable. This is why profiling is ineffective.

6. While criticizing the TSA critics need to, at some point, address the number of weapons routinely found at checkpoints. Threats persist.

I am fascinated by the number of reports of handguns found by the TSA each week. You should follow @TSAblogteam on twitter if you don’t already. While the strange items they find attract the most attention, the number of weapons they find as a matter of course is surprising. While there is an argument to be made that these can be found without enhanced pat downs and whole body imaging technology, or without the TSA altogether, something is driving the desire to arm the friendly skies. As a side not, I am not saying guns are inherently bad.

7. We need robust discourse about the TSA across our society and it’s value in securing our transportation infrastructure.

We are just passing the ten-year anniversary mark for many airports ramping up their TSA operations. TSA security has become a fixture in contemporary American airports and they largely dictate how we fly. The conversation about the TSA has been largely driven by official PR work, a scattering of news stories dictated by that PR work and by legitimate issues within the TSA, and by a great many critics who trend towards the hyperbolic rather than the substantive.

A polarized debate driven by the issues I have identified above is rather unproductive. For example, those who argue that the TSA is “proudly molesting grandma’s & little kids since super-lez napolatino took office” delegitimize resistance. Aside from the personal attacks and the hate speech. I point to this tweet in particular because of the continued, and perplexing, argument that the TSA is associated somehow with advancing a homosexual agenda (See here & here). Whatever that argument means. Critics of the TSA need to engage with the agency in less hostile, personal, and hyperbolic ways that make use of material harms and congressional channels. Such efforts can maximize passenger angst and moderate dissatisfaction over fringe anti-state assumptions and hostile rhetoric.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cultural Studies, Research, Rhetoric, TSA, Uncategorized

Obama’s Dour Presidential Address at the DNC

Overall, Obama was rather dour save for his crescendo at the end of the speech. It was nowhere near his best speech. However, that is hardly a fair critique because that ship sailed in 2004. He was very Presidential- “The times have changed –- and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.” I take that to mean he was assertive and much less cold and intellectual than he is often perceived.

One thing that struck me was that the speech did not feel totally built for his base. Some preaching to the choir, but most of it outlined the choice against Romney argument and built his Commander in Chief visage. This was especially clear in the foreign policy section. This has to be the most non-sensical contrast in the election. There is almost no daylight between Obama’s foreign policy and a hypothetical Romney-foreign policy.

Two takeaways:
1) The DNC showed that there is no more effective campaigner than Bill Clinton. The GOP has yet to really refute the bulk of Clinton’s substance. I take great heart in that. Not just because I appreciate the arguments but because out of both conventions Clinton was the only speaker to address actual policy differences between the parties with depth, substance, and length. He mustered ethos, pathos, and logos to make a policy-oriented argument for a candidate. The candidates should feel ashamed they lack that ability or are restrained by their consultants from using it.

2) Conventions matter, but a bump is unlikely. Unemployment fell today, by proxy of people leaving the workforce. That is bad news. At the end of the day the President has less control steering the economy than other factors. Nonetheless, this report will tamper what little momentum may have come out of the DNC. I am not a quantitative scholar and so I don’t prognosticate but those I watch (and whose methods I pay attention to because method matters) look for post-convention polls to return to pre-convention levels.

1 Comment

Filed under news and Culture, Rhetoric

The Epistemology of Fact Checkers

We treat fact as facts and fact checkers as arbiters of truth. However, facts are more complex than they seem and the current presidential campaign warrants a look at the rhetoric of fact checkers.

A curious tweet came across my feed during the Republican National Convention. With disdain and snark someone had lamented, “Epistemology is hard.” Their sarcasm was aimed at the factual inaccuracies they saw mounting in Paul Ryan’s primetime speech accepting the GOP’s VP nomination. The left’s outcry for fact checking was immediate. Sadly, fact checking is not a fast process. As fact checks rolled in the next day there were indeed a number of claims with which Ryan took liberty. During the first night of the Democratic National Convention, before speeches were even complete, Republicans were taking to twitter screaming “But where are the fact checkers?”

Fact checkers seem to be playing a curious role in this election. Romney Pollster Neil Newhouse said, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” While campaigns are quick to bring up fact checkers to attack their opponents claims, rarely do they modify their own dubious claims debunked by fact checkers. Some have taken to calling the 2012 election a post-fact campaign because of the lawlessness with which facts are abandoned. Such defenses are lazy and often made by those who rather report what happened or support a candidate instead of investigating what was said.

More than all of this, however, is the nagging issue of the epistemology of fact checkers. While simple sayings like facts are facts may sound convincing, the many non-partisan fact checking reports, not to mention the various news organizations engaging in their own fact checking endeavors, makes it clear that facts are actually tough things to check. Take a few examples:

1) How do we calculate jobs gained or lost under President Obama? Do we start the day he was inaugurated? Do we begin when his policies take effect? How would we measure that? Do we factor in GOP obstruction to Obama’s economic policies? Yes, if we think they would have worked. No, if we think they would have made unemployment worse. All of a sudden fact checking Obama’s 4.5 million-job record is a difficult thing.

2) Medicare is another wonderful example. Representatives of both campaigns (Obama & Ryan) have taken or proposed changes to Medicare. These changes forever alter Medicare. That sentence sounds scary, but theoretically any change no matter how small would forever alter Medicare because it was different than it was before. The scuffle over cuts to Medicare, and attempts to check these claims, is based on this very issue. What counts as a cut? Who do cuts impact? What are the effects of a cut? Is a cut bad if it increases the solvency of the program? Maybe not, but I can make it sound bad? Can I make it sound good?

3) Mitt Romney’s phantom middle class tax increase is a good final example. Romney has not proposed a middle class tax increase. Now listening to the DNC you would not know that. However, Romney also does not have an actual formally articulated tax policy. Democrats have been operating by inference that if Romney is increasing defense spending and cutting taxes for the wealthy the only way to cut the debt, even after cutting loopholes and spending, is to raise middle class taxes. They base this on a non-partisan study that argued this is the only way the math can work out. Here we see the complexity of facts. Fact: Romney has not proposed a middle class tax increase. Fact: Romney says he will reduce the debt. Fact: Romney cannot reduce the debt under his tax scheme without increasing middle class taxes (based on analysis of his tax outline). Obviously not all of these facts can be true at the same time. Democrats are creating facts by inference, filling in a gap in Romney’s policy for him. That is an inference not a fact. Yet, for some, even for fact checkers, this passes as a fact.

This brings me to what fact checkers (non-partisan and partisan alike) do. They inaugurate a regime of epistemology. When fact checkers determine what is true, what is half-true, and what is false they enter the discourse as truth tellers in a way that lends discourse an official status of truth regardless of its actual veracity. Regimes of epistemology have power because they serve as gatekeepers of knowledge, they help determine what counts as knowledge in our society, and even those who say they fact checkers will not dictate their campaign end up responding to fact checkers. Fact checkers are weighing important values in the conversation and verifying claims, that is an important role, but facts are complicated and fact checker’s determinations can be as faulty as a campaign’s original claim.

Ultimately, fact checkers matter because truth matters in a democracy. However, a lingering question is what counts as truth and knowledge in a democracy? We are already dealing with a very narrow window of discourse. The information that candidates say dominates the information that gets fact checked (obviously). They serve as gatekeepers for knowledge in this election. Fact checkers challenge them on that field, necessarily, and are thus complicit in the regimes of knowledge produced by campaigns. Is that cynical? You bet. However, we should take a moment to recognize that in an election marked by factual shortcuts and post-factual statements that the facts being contested and checked are already rigged. They are products of multi-media campaigns designed to produce very specific kinds of knowledge. That is the epistemology of fact checkers, a regime under which we are satisfied with the checking of the knowledge we are given instead of what we find on our own. That is not meant to call us dupes or to argue we are bad at democracy. I find little solace in sad militancy. However, we should be aware that every candidate, pundit, and fact checker has flaws and a regime of knowledge. Testing the limits of that epistemology is vital for our democracy.

Leave a comment

Filed under General, news and Culture, Rhetoric

What are We Supposed to Do With Student Evals Anyway?

This post is not to exalt evaluations as the pinnacle of student assessment. First, the hunt for great evaluations sped on by grade inflation and student pressure for good grades can negotiate a tacit contract between instructors and students-a kind of quid pro quo agreement. Second, response rates are notoriously low on student evaluations and often the two types of students who complete evaluations are those most & least satisfied with our ourses. This leads to a Janus-faced discourse that is unhelpful to instructors. Third, student evaluations are always already burdened by systems of patriarchy and racism and exist to support systems of white, male, heterosexual privilege. For example, see this excellent annotated bibliography on Gender and Student Evaluations. The race, gender, and age of the instructor prejudices student perceptions of instructors before they ever begin to teach.

Moreover, even beyond these factors, subject expertise does not always translate to expert teaching. Meaning that the most qualified person to deliver content to students is not always the best at that task–so we should not assume that poor evaluations automatically assumes that learning is not occurring. Also, to some degree, evaluations are a test of the affective response lingering by students towards the instructor, instructors who may come off as misanthropes at times, may be great in the classroom and are not perceived that way by students.

Feel free to skip the breakdown below and jump to the tips on reading evals at the very end.

Watching my inbox, twitter, & Facebook feeds it seems it is student evaluations time now that the semester has come to a close. Student evaluations make for tricky reading for instructors because they are documents that can have some weight on current and/or future promotion, retention, or job prospects. Also, no matter how much we urge and desire student feedback during our classes, many students use evaluations, for a variety of reasons, rather than talking to instructors directly about their experiences in a class.

I know many of my peers and myself, especially those of us early in our careers, are eager to see student feedback for a number of reasons. Because of that urge, I want to explore the usefulness of qualitative student feedback on course evaluations.

First, we want to know about major flaws in our course design. This is a genuine desire: was a unit particularly unhelpful? Was a unit too easy? Was an assignment particularly unclear? Grade data can help provide this information, but the evidence is particularly damming when it corresponds to student feedback.

Second, teaching is a deeply performative art. Students often provide feedback on our personality. This can be painful to read. We learn the good and the bad. It was in course evals that I learned I like to make a fist and pound on the white board when I get fired up about a topic. It is also here, that we can learn that we are communicating things to our students we never intended. For example, from time to time students will report on my course evaluations that I am intimidating, arrogant, or difficult to approach. I struggle with this description, not because I lack the capacity to be arrogant, intimidating, and difficult to approach, but because I work hard in the classroom to craft a persona the is open and approachable–even begging students to visit me during office hours if they have questions, or by lingering after class to speak with students and arriving early to chat informally with students. Moreover, I know this is a performative issue because the students I develop deeper relationships with describe me in much different terms.

Third, evaluations are these bizarre blind exercises. There is this deep temptation to try and figure out who said what about you. Sometimes you have a sense about which student said what by their tone and writing style, particularly if the semester demanded you attend to their writing in detail. This may be the most consumptive and least useful part of reading student evaluations. When I was a young boy I heard a story about my grandfather; who was a minister in a Presbyterian church in Florida. Each year the congregation would take an anonymous vote to retain or dismiss him. Each year the vote would be something like 68-2. For the rest of the year my grandfather would relentlessly obsess over who the two people were that sought to cast him away. I wonder with some irony, if we engage in those same exercises. It is as if we tell ourselves: If I can correlate the negative comments with students who performed poorly, perhaps I can excuse their force. Even though that means we may be dismissing a very important correlation, a student’s poor experience and their poor outcome may be crucially related.

How, then, do we use qualitative feedback on student evaluations?

First, the feedback will be personal, but don’t take it that way. One semester is a snapshot in your career and teaching is an act of becoming. It is a work in progress, not a reflection on who you will always be.

Second, no comment in isolation merits significant change, but every comment can, and perhaps should, generate reflection. If one student says assignment expectations were unclear, then perhaps they were to them. If four or five evaluations say that, it may be time to revisit that assignment’s description. Especially if those comments correlates with the class’ average score on that assignment.

Third, even when statements correlate, that does not mean that that you need to take action. I have four years of student evaluations that suggest that the reading material in my classes at the University of Utah is too difficult (not every eval says this, but about six students per class will say this). I recognize that many of the readings I assign push at my students. However, I have yet to find a case where the difficulty of the readings was the cause of a lack of student success. Does that make my class hard? Yes. Demanding? Yes. Will I ease up on my syllabi? No. In this case I recognize the triangulation on evaluations, but see the educational merit in reading difficult, but applicable, material for the educational opportunities it offers. Moreover, I have not chosen the material just to be difficult, it simply happens that when you deal with complex and abstract ideas you need complex and abstract readings. In essence, even when students routinely object, if you have taken a principled stand, don’t let evaluations pressure you into backing down. I have recently started sharing some of the thoughts on difficult readings & reading difficult theory collected by Robert W. Gehl with my classes and I saw less of those comments this last semester, you can find his thoughts here.

Please share your thoughts on course evals, as a student, instructor, or interested/apathetic party below or with me via twitter @acaguy


Filed under Cultural Studies, Feminisms, Grad School, Teaching

Rape Culture, Rape Prevention, & Masculinity

This was an invited talk at Your Community Center in Ogden, UT on April 14, 2012 to address the connection between masculinity, rape, & culture during a Take Back the Night event. They titled the presentation “How Not To Be a Rapist,” which I was not entirely comfortable with but working off that theme I addressed the need for to intervene in boys male teens, and men’s lives as part of rape prevention strategies. [Apologies for the poor sound quality]

1 Comment

Filed under Cultural Studies, Feminisms, news and Culture, Rhetoric