@womeningerman: A Digital Feminist German Studies Archive on Twitter

By Didem Uca

“Twitter as archive/twitter as sketchbook/as feedback loop/as void/as filesharing network/as an instrument of collaboration/as a megaphone/as therapy.” (Zarina Muhammad, https://www.artrabbit.com/events/live-broadcast-chat-show-with-zarina-muhammad)

Twitter, like other mainstream social media outlets, is an outlet for the virulent and often anonymous expression of misogyny, racism, and other violent forms of discrimination­­––even by the current U.S. President. Yet it is also where social justice issues are discussed in real time and where users can garner support for movements that have consequences beyond the web; to name just a few examples, the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName have long brought attention to police brutality and other forms of violence towards Black Americans, while the Me Too movement, founded by civil rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006 and popularized through the spread of #MeToo on Twitter over a decade later, has helped to expose the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault for women.

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Disability and Decolonizing Time/Knowledge on the Tenure Clock

by Danika Medak-Saltzman (Syracuse University), Deepti Misri (University of Colorado Boulder), and Beverly Weber (University of Colorado Boulder)

In this post, the three of us draw on our shared experience at a predominantly white public university in order to share some initial responses to the following question: How are the neoliberal academy’s modes of organizing labor and valuing knowledge steeped in spatiotemporal logics that are both settler colonial and ableist in nature? Our motivation in tracing these logics stems directly from having observed “faculty with disabilities” at our university “running against the tenure clock” under expectations that are as ableist as the metaphor, as well as seemingly abled women faculty, faculty of color, and contingent faculty, who have strained against the academic clock and ended up debilitated in the process. 

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Counting and Accountability: Collaboration in and Against the Neoliberal University

by Carrie Smith (University of Alberta) and Maria Stehle (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

In our 2016 book Awkward Politics, we write about what collaboration can or might do within, or to, the academy. We write of its subversive and revolutionary quality, of its ability to push back against assessment mechanisms of the university and against the theoretical canon at the foundation of the humanities. Further, we speak at length about our own collaborative relationship that grew from tentative dates via email to long chats on Skype, tracing its origins in a shared sense of academic and feminist political urgency, but also in a mutual understanding that the tools of our discipline, German Studies, should not onlyuse, but must also dotheory in a broad sense. Doing theory can only have meaning when the resulting thinking reaches well beyond the object or subject analyzed, beyond the pages of the book, the frames of the film, the pixels of the video; when that theory has social and political value. Throughout our collaboration, the personal nature of our relationship was bound up in our intellectual and political commitment to feminisms. As Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman write in the preface to their conversation in Sex, or the Unbearable: “our own conversation includes and exceeds us at once” (x). While our thoughts in that book are at times utopian, at their very core lies an understanding that for theory to be written, read, and mobilized as social practice (Berlant and Edelman), the work must be collaborative in conception and execution. 

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Ph.D. in German Studies or the Possibility of Becoming an Unhappy Queer

by Simone Pfleger

In the fall and winter of 2017, I spent the majority of my time revising my dissertation, which I then defended successfully in December of that year. Like many of my fellow graduate students, I was working on my dissertation while constantly keeping an eye on the job market. Keeping an eye on things is necessary to know what is happening in the field and to stay informed, but it also means that my attention is directed elsewhere or redirected.

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Empathy

by Beverly Weber

In the following “pages” I want to think about empathy, including the possibilities and dangers of empathy as a motivation to feminist action.1 At least twice in the last 24 hours prior to the initial draft of this piece, somebody had said to me, “I feel you.” And I appreciated it. But: I am suspicious of this feeling.

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Strategies for Feminist Leadership in the Neoliberal University

With its emphasis on quantification, financialization, and entrepreneurialism, and its attack on the public good, neoliberalism poses a threat to higher education and to feminism by commodifying knowledge, undoing forms of collectivity and solidarity, and privatizing and individualizing forms of resistance.

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When Your Faves are Problematic: Interrupting Harmful Narratives as Feminist Practice

by Didem Uca

Social media has held an important place in my development as an intersectional feminist scholar-activist. Running the Coalition of Women in German Twitter page since October 2014 has allowed me to engage a broad audience in a diverse set of issues. And yet I acknowledge that I am often preaching to the choir, with retweets and favorites coming from like-minded individuals.

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“This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’” —Toni Morrison, “The Truest Eye”1

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