Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tending tenderness and disrupting the myth of academic rock stars

Can we imagine academia without rockstars? Extreme individualism? I’d like to think so. Read this for more.

Urbane Adventurer: Amiskwacî


In euro-american academia, the arts, media, politics, and literature we are enthralled, obsessed with two things: ‘innovation’ and individuality. The triumph of individual will to manifest something new new new trumps everything else. Granting agencies often focus on a single Principle Investigator to the exclusion of whole teams of human and more-than-human beings who make certain projects or ideas possible. News reporters want to find the new voice, the emerging voice, the singular representative of a community to demonstrate the raw will of a single body, mind, and spirit. They want us to believe that these achievements are not the product of the blood, sweat, and labour of myriad co-convenors, co-thinkers, collaborators, and co-dreamers who lift each other up in often dreary, cold, and impossible (impassible) academic systems and structures. They want us to believe that there is no village of academic aunties (as per Erica Violet Lee’s brilliant…

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We Are All Bunnies

Indeed, I have been a bunny who was drowned by a former institution. Protect your rights.

Tales Told Out of School

I’m sitting at my desk today watching the reactions and commentary about the situation at Mount St. Mary pour in via Twitter and Facebook.  In case you haven’t read about it yet: here’s the latest.  Those of us who recognize the value of tenure, still believe there is a place for respectful disagreement in higher ed, and want better things for our own students and institutions are a bit speechless (which would be a wise strategy if you were at Mount St. Mary).  Horrified and shocked and saddened seem the most common emotions.

I’m guessing that this drama isn’t over yet.  I expect lawsuits, alumni protest (at least the president can’t fire them), and hopefully, some response from the college’s Board of Trustees.  But in the meantime I think we faculty and administrators at other institutions need to do three things.

The first is to engage in some self-education. …

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Ok, let’s talk: A response to the Bell Let’s Talk campaign

Vision Passion Action

This post was written by Danielle Landry. She teaches Mad People’s History as part-time instructor with the School of Disability Studies.

A drawing of a road side stand with the words "psychiatric help 5 cents" on top. Inside the stand there is a person with a blue text box. The bottom of the stand reads "The corporation is in"Ok, let’s talk.

Let’s talk about how those two new workplace scenario commercials only reinforce the idea that it’s unsafe to talk about mental health to your boss or co-workers, instead of establishing that employers in Ontario actually have a duty to accommodate disabled workers, including those with psychiatric disabilities.

Let’s stop positioning disabled people as charity cases through a-nickel-for-every-text campaigns.

Let’s talk about the erosion of our social systems through corporate greed.

Let’s ask why Bell hasn’t instituted any programs to support its low-income customers, such as if they need a reprieve from paying their bills during a hospital stay.

Let’s talk about why it’s not okay that we have to rely on corporate sponsorship to sustain our mental health system. Let’s ask if corporate influence serves to…

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Billboard knows best

An insightful “both/and” reading of Dove’s ad campaign.

Be beautiful...or else

Dove’s campaign calls women to action: choose beauty. Do it, just do it! Their campaign seems to claim that if you choose their products, boom: you’ve gone and chosen beauty. Images of women all over Dove’s Tumblr  depicts them choosing between doors labelled “average” or “beautiful”. The firming lotion in the billboard below becomes a confidence-in-a-bottle product, rather than  just another drugstore product. The general idea behind the Real Beauty campaign may well be a good one, but tying it together with a company and their brand in this way leads less to women feeling good about themselves in general, and more to them feeling good about that last purchase they made. This billboard shows how Dove is drawing the female gaze rather than the male, and then using that to sell happiness.

In his work, Écrits: A Selection, Jacques Lacan redefines the classic Descartes quote from “I think therefore I am,”…

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Knowledge, Science, and Silence

A great example of indigenist criticism.

Truth, Reconciliation, and Post-Structuralism

As Waziyatawin Angela Wilson explains in American Indian Quarterly, “the process of colonization required the complete subjugation of [indigenous people’s] minds and spirits so that [their] lands and resources could be robbed from underneath [their] bodies” (Wilson 360). One of the most powerful tools that can be used by a colonizer, and that was used by the Canadian government in the Residential Schools program, is the complete devaluation of a group of people’s knowledge and language. This second part is especially effective in terms of many indigenous cultures, as their oral tradition demands the preservation of their language for the survival of their culture. The National Post articles, like the Residential Schools, are relays of this discourse surrounding knowledge that presents indigenous contributions as inferior and outdated.

Perhaps the best example of this comes from Robson’s article. In it, Robson argues against the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation that calls for…

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The Torture of No Choice: Morality Systems and GTA V

The procedural rhetoric of the game dictates all…

Yes! One More Blog!

Morality systems in video games appears to be a simple concept. Your character comes to a point the game, and you can either choose A or B (sometimes C and D are also choices), and depending on what you choose, the world around your character changes slightly. Oh wait, it is a simple concept. Fallout 3, maybe the best use of a morality system (either that or Skyrim), has a morality spectrum, where your character’s actions change your position on the spectrum (there are three major positions: good, neutral, and evil). Depending on your position on the spectrum, the game changes around you, and you can have different alliances or rewards (if my memory is correct. It’s been a number of years since I journeyed the Wasteland alone, only with Kanye West’s then-recently released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as my companion). Still, your position on the spectrum…

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Addressing Antifeminist Violence Online: Work Narrative

Necessary work to protect women online.

Jacqueline Wernimont : Network Weaver, Scholar, Digitrix

According to a recent Pew Study, 1 in 4 women have experienced online stalking or sexual harassment. Labeled as “social justice warriors,” prominent journalists and bloggers have been harassed and threatened for writing about economic inequality, education, and racism in popular culture. The culture of fear that is being created impacts not just professionals, but more perniciously, young women and men who are developing their habits and protocols for online life. From advanced professionals to adolescents, feminists and women are at risk.

Much of this violence has been perpetrated online, but threats like these can move into offline, “real” life. In October, Sarkeesian canceled a talk at Utah State University after receiving a massacre threat inspired by the 1989 Marc Lepine murder of fourteen women. Many people, including women of color and trans people, have experienced threats, harassment, and the distribution of their location and contact information by people…

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