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Getting ready for ISA Toronto
Rex, Katie, and Sharain are all furiously researching and writing in preparation for the 2014 International Studies Association conference in Toronto, Canada from March 26-29, 2014. If you’re planning on going too, here’s our schedule of presentations:
3/26/14 10:30am-12:15pm in Sheraton Centre
Abstract: We've all been experienced it: Our colleagues being rude, dismissive, passive aggressive or even outright hostile, yet still valued members of the academic community. The question that arises - and the one the roundtable participants aim to explore from a variety of angles - is "do you get further in academia if you are a jerk?" The question was raised in a February 2013 blog post by the Thesis Whisperer (@thesiswhisperer). Her post, on "Academic assholes and the Circle of Niceness," inspired this roundtable discussion as well as a large amount of social media attention, suggesting that there is a need to further explore what is at stake. However, identifying the problem is not enough. As the Thesis Whisperer (aka Dr Inger Newburn) also noted, those of us who think that "being clever comes in nice and nasty packages" and would prefer to work in more caring environments, need to actively work to create circles of niceness. As such, the second theme that roundtable participants will address is how we might create a kinder, more positive academy.
3/27/14 at 8:15-10:00am in Suite 2729
Abstract: To understand the conditions under authorities allow taboos to be performed or censor obscenities, an examination of comedic routine called "The Aristocrats" using the concepts of "carnivalesque" and the "grotesque" body worked out by Mikhail Bakhtin is useful. Obscene comedic performances create a space in which it becomes appropriate to ridicule authority and to denigrate all that is noble or ideal. This paper argues that contemporary comedy temporarily reifies the limits between permitted and prohibited language, overturns and profanes the social hierarchies of everyday life, and operate as resistance to authority where political change can potentially take place. Click here for the full conference paper.
Kathleen Brennan "Understanding the Internet as a Space: Heterotopias in Melville, Mieville, and Medieval Welsh Tales"
3/27/14 at 4:00-5:45pm in Norfolk, Sheraton
Abstract: One way to understand a given space is to examine the relations between that space and other spaces. While the Internet is the focus of much active and impressive research, work on the Internet as a space and in particular research on the Internet as a space in relation to the space of the non-digital is lacking. This paper addresses the way online and offline worlds are defined, and the way these two realms interact with each other, using three fictional texts (Herman Melville’s “The Two Temples,” China Mieville’s The City and the City and “Pwyll Prince of Dyfed”) and Foucault’s concept of the heterotopia to explore the definition of spaces and the relations between them. The paper uses these fiction pieces to argue that the online and offline worlds are defined by their borders with each other, the way in which they parallel each other, and their interconnections. The paper, by closely examining fictional heterotopias, sheds new light on not the well-understood issue of how the space of the Internet relates to offline space, and how that relation defines both. This is critical to understanding the Internet as both a forum for and a player in world politics.
3/28/14 8:15-10:00am in Sheraton Centre
Rex Troumbley Caught in Google’s Net: Privatizing Censorship and Colonizing the Internets"
Abstract: Cyber-utopian discourses have developed a blind spot in their promotion of the Internet as decentralized, difficult for governments to control, and inherently democratizing. They have ignored the massive control of private companies over our experiences of cyberspace or have championed these companies as vanguards in the fight for online freedom of expression. As a case study, this paper examines the private forms of censorship and control over conditions necessary for free expression online exercised by Google Inc. The paper argues that the scope of Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” represents a new form of geek politics which attempts to essentialize all social conflict to problems which can be solved by a technical fix or filtered out by smart algorithms. The paper concludes by arguing that this form of geek politics, backed by a wealthy Silicon Valley company responsible for the vast majority of Web searches in the Western world, controls the intelligibility of international online expression and hopes to colonize the Internet with American values, morality, and techno-optimism. Click here for the full conference paper.
Kathleen Brennan "The DarkNet Rises: Cyber Villains and the Otherwise Glorious Internet"
Abstract: The question of how to frame the Internet has been widely debated: Is it a cyber-utopia in which we can leave all race, gender, and colonial baggage behind? Is it a place of danger and vulnerability? These debates have not adequately addressed the issue of the motivations of the frames that we use. My paper addresses the issue of framing the Internet as alternately a safe and horrifyingly dangerous place. In particular, I will examine the tension between the intensity of the prosecution and other responses to supposed cyber criminals (Aaron Swartz, Jeremy Hammond, etc.), and the utter laxity with which many businesses and government institutions approach the Internet. In April 2013 news broke about a search engine, Shodan (www.shodanhq.com), designed to seek insecure networks and software, many of which appear to be connected to the Internet needlessly. Why do governments prosecute individuals who expose vulnerabilities on the Internet rather than those who create the vulnerabilities in the first place? I argue that governments prefer to keep the dark side of the Internet dark to both preserve a happy, business friendly framing of the Internet, while justifying increasing government intervention through the example of a few bad-apple, cyber criminals.
Sharain Naylor "Unfit for duty: Determining the US Military's Struggle for Heteronormative Order and Discipline"
Sharain Naylor "Unfit for duty: Determining the US Military's Struggle for Heteronormative Order and Discipline
3/29/14 1:45-3:30pm in Sheraton Centre
Abstract: This paper develops a mixed methods approach that enables a critical understanding of the assemblage of forces that shape the effects of these liberal and critical queer narratives that reach for equality. This methodological exploration is part of a larger project that researches the following questions: How do liberal progress narratives of the US military obfuscate the internal (sexual assault, racism) and external (empire building, war-making) violences they claim to vanquish? How does late liberalism function to obfuscate the conservative, militaristic govermentalities hidden behind the liberal narratives of progress that thrive today? What is at stake politically and epistemologically when the liberal queer mainstream is complicit not only with the military war machine as global terrorist, but also when this mainstream is unwittingly complicit with the rape of men and women in the military by promoting GLBT service? How does homonationalism and pinkwashing blur the focus of the repeal of DADT by furthering the increase in sexual assault? How does homonationalism in the U.S. contribute to racist practices in America and abroad?