Using a range of critical perspectives,
On the Question of Truth in the Era of Trump closely examines notions of “truth in crisis” leading up to and after the election of Donald Trump. The authors explore how truth is constructed along the lines of race, social class, and gender as filtered through the self-referential characteristics of social media in particular. The authors assert that the US left has shown itself inadequate to the task of confronting right wing ideologies, which have only intensified since the 2016 election, resulting in increased mobilization of white supremacist and nationalist groups.
Whether underestimating Trump by downplaying the threat of his candidacy during the primaries, trivializing the concerns of women and minorities as “identity politics,” or rushing to prioritize the free speech rights of the far-right, left academics and the media have found themselves unable to use their traditional arsenal of evidence, rational discourse, and appeals to diversity of viewpoints.
The authors assert that political resistance to the right is not a matter of playful use of signs and symbols or discourse alone and has to be fought directly and in solidarity. At this point, it is clear that Trump and his supporters have not just deployed relativism as a form of strategy, but have fully weaponized it against their perceived enemies: women, immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ people along with educational, scientific, and journalistic institutions. It is hoped that this in-depth, critical dissection of truth in the current political reality will assist in the project of resistance.
Contributors are: Faith Agostinone-Wilson, Mike Cole, Jeremy T. Godwin, Jones Irwin, Austin Pickup, Daniel Ian Rubin, and Eric C. Sheffield.
Despite hopeful—though problematic—proclamations about the end of racism after the election of our first African-American President, we are witnessing a backlash and renewed racism at this point in American and global history. Put simply, Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) has as much exigency now as ever. Critical Whiteness Studies is an interdisciplinary project—with scholars from legal studies, literature and rhetorical studies, film and visual studies, class and feminist theorists, etc.—that contributes to critical race theory. Scholars tend to posit whiteness as an ideological, political, legal, and social fiction that places so-called whites in a position of hegemony over other non-dominant groups. The project, then, functions to unmask and interrogate these fictions. As part of critical multi-cultural and race theory, the project is anti-oppressive.
Those new to CWS are often unfamiliar with much of the court cases referenced and the critical terminology used by scholars in the field. As such
White Out: A Guidebook for Teaching and Engaging with Critical Whiteness Studies is designed to orient readers to the history and purpose of CWS, to key concepts and legal cases, and to established and newer texts and resources. For educators wishing to include CWS in their workshops or courses, this guidebook also includes pedagogical resources ranging a sample syllabus to sample assignments and student texts to advice for structuring a dialogic workshop or classroom.
Student contributors are: Thomas Drake Farmer, Daniel Giraldo, Abby Graves, Elaine Ruby Gunn, Faith Jones, and Connor McPherson.
The “Strong Poet”: Essays in Honor of Lous Heshusius is an edited volume focused on the research, scholarship, and leadership of one of the earliest proponents of radical change in the field of special education. This volume is part of the series
Critical Leaders and the Foundation of Disability Studies in Education, a collective history of the ecology of ideas that gave way to the emergence of the field of Disability Studies in Education (DSE). The series formalizes the value of attending to a history, distinguished by Steve Taylor (2005), as one that existed before it was named DSE. In this volume the contributors borrow from the venerable life work of Lous Heshusius, to center her original claims, early research, and the enduring challenge she posed to special education against examples from their own practice and personal histories. Each chapter recovers aspects of the genius of Heshusius that ultimately disrupted status quo thinking about disability. Specifically her attention to recognizing the lives and desires of those that society too often relegates to categories and contexts devoid of self direction and authentic agency. In brief, we find in Heshusius, a researcher who sought to privilege the voice of individuals with disability. She was among those who drew from and elaborated upon the methods and tools of qualitative research.
Contributors are: Julie Allan, Alicia Broderick, Danielle Cowley, Deborah J. Gallagher, Emily A. Nusbaum, and Linda Ware.
This text explores the re-assertion of right-wing populist and fascist ideologies as presented and distributed in the media. In particular, attacks on immigrants, women, minorities, and LGBTQI people are increasing, inspired by the election of politicians who openly support authoritarian discourse and scapegoating. More troubling is how this discourse is inscribed into laws and policies.
Despite the urgency of the situation, the Left has been unable to effectively respond to these events, from liberals insisting on hands-off free speech policies, including covering "both sides of the issue" to socialists who utilize a tunnel vision focus on economic issues at the expense of women and minorities. In order to effectively resist right-wing movements of this magnitude, a socialist/Marxist feminist analysis is necessary for understanding how racism, sexism, and homophobia are conduits for capitalism, not just ‘identity issues.’
Topics addressed in this text include an overview of dialectical materialist feminism and its relevance and a review of characteristics of authoritarian populism and fascism. Additionally, the insistence on a colorblind conceptualization of the working class is critiqued, with its detrimental effects on moving resistance and activism forward. This was a key weakness with the Bernie Sanders campaign, which is discussed. Online environments and their alt-right discourse/function are used as an example of the ineffectiveness of e-libertarianism, which has prioritized hands-off administration, allowing right-wing discourse to overcome many online spaces. Other topics include the emergence of the fetal personhood construct in response to abortion rights, and the rejection of science and expertise.
Abortion in the media continues to escape the grasp of sound feminist analysis for a variety of reasons. This chapter asserts that the construct of fetal personhood has been used to objectify women as vessels for carrying children, erode solidarity among working class women, dismantle the social safety net, and increase surveillance of women’s bodies. A historical overview of the development of abortion law and policy is presented, along with important facts about the need for this essential reproductive health service.
This chapter examines what went wrong with the promising Bernie Sanders campaign. In particular, the insistence on a colorblind economic message meant to appeal to young college students and white male workers at the expense of what were dismissed as “identity politics” is critiqued. Much of what was seen from Sanders followers was similar to what women and minorities experienced in the leftist activist movements in the 1960s, so a historical overview of these activist movements will be presented.
There is much conflation of fascism with authoritarian populism, which makes fighting these movements more challenging. An overview of characteristics of right-wing movements are presented, including rampant misogyny and racism. This chapter discusses what each has in common, but also presents important differences. The common media approach of equating historical events to the present will also be critiqued for its role in hyperbole and spreading confusion.
This chapter presents a fierce defense of the need for science in the era of questioning of expertise and knowledge. An examination of the political functions of conspiracy theories, which serve up the target of the “big guy” to take the pressure off of capitalism and its effects, is included. The dislike and distrust of “big government” with its emphasis on isolationism and individualized solutions is part of an ongoing attack on the public commons.
This introductory chapter opens with the assertion that the left has been woefully inadequate in combatting the recent rise of fascism and right-wing populism, primarily because it retains faith in tenets of liberalism (unrestricted free speech, including racist speech; belief in rationally presenting the facts; and clinging to a colorblind economic analysis). Several examples from current events/media will be presented to orient the reader to the rest of the book.