Permanent URI for this collection

A peer-reviewed, graduate student-run journal of the ASPECT program


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 117
  • A Tale of Two Systems: Learning to Cooperate and Compete in the International System
    Millard, Matt (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2017-09-08)
    I argue that states and leaders in competitive frameworks learn to behave with realist policies from their interactions with other states and leaders and, in the absence of these interactions, rely on other mechanisms. Contrary to what scholars of the realist tradition maintain, I do not argue that the tenants consistent with realism are effectively human nature or due to the self-help, anarchic structure of the international system. Instead, I maintain that leaders in conflictual relationships learn these methods are an effective way in which to respond to the world around them as they learn the constraints that are placed on them by other states’ leaders.
  • Two Times: Being and Becoming in Jane Bennett and Matthew Scherer
    Jackson, Darren (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2017-09-08)
    In an era of exponentially increasing globalization, the experience of time has changed. Tasks that once took days or weeks, now take hours or seconds. This shrinking of time, or the speeding up of activities and processes that transpire within it, has also had profound effects on the experience of space, bringing personal and cultural identities into increasingly closer proximity. As a result, the public sphere has become a contested site in which a multiplicity of heterogenous identities vie for legitimacy and acknowledgment. In such an environment, the concept of identity has taken on a new and heightened significance. Citizens of the contemporary global village risk irreconcilable conflict by privileging rigid conceptions of identity based upon an understanding of time that privileges being over becoming; an understanding that excludes the reality of change, difference, and alterity. Although Jane Bennett’s The Enchantment of Modern Life and Matthew Scherer’s Beyond Church and State: Democracy, Secularism, and Conversion are addressing fundamentally different problems, they nevertheless agree on the ethical and political significance of the plasticity of identity, as well as the possibility and nature of change. This convergence is not entirely surprising, given the web of influences in which Bennett and Scherer are implicated; a web wherein Gilles Deleuze is influenced by Henri Bergson and Bennett and Scherer by both Bergson and Deleuze. In this paper, I argue that both Bennett and Scherer, drawing upon the writings of Deleuze and Bergson respectively, acknowledge two kinds of time: a closed, circular time that solidifies habits—what I will call the time of being—and an open, spiral time which allows for the possibility of change and the production of new habits, the time of becoming. Not only do both Scherer and Bennett acknowledge these different understandings of time, but they also stress the necessity of cultivating an appreciation of the fundamental reality of becoming, and the role that such a cultivation can play in navigating an increasingly heterogeneous political landscape.
  • Black Feminist Thought and why it Matters Today
    Hein, Lindsay (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2017-09-08)
    As tensions based on race, gender and class continue, I believe it is imperative for scholars reexamine Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought. Collins uses an intersectional approach to describe the unique oppression which women of color in the United States face. Although the book was published over a decade ago, I believe it can aid one in understanding current oppression women of color still face today. Furthermore, Black Feminist Thought can help to facilitate meaningful dialogue around topics of racism and sexism which are happening across the country. As women continue to be at the forefront of activism against the current division and oppression in the United States, Black Feminist Thought will aid in establishing an inclusive and educated movement.
  • Revealing and Acting: Anxiety and Courage in Heidegger and Arendt
    Caivano, Dean; Murphy, Hailey (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2017-09-08)
    In Martin Heidegger’s concept of care, he explains the process of becoming as an intersubjective relation that extends beyond mere spatial proximity of one being to an other. Through this common and basic experience of care, anxiety is an ontological revealing of self, perpetually leaving behind remnants of prior self-constitution(s). It is through anxiety that being is lifted out of the average everydayness of our human condition. Anxiety, then for Heidegger, is critical, as it confronts nothingness on route to an authentic existence where being finds grounding in Being. We find in the work of Hannah Arendt, therefore, a conceptual continuation of Heidegger’s conception of anxiety through her understanding of courage. For Heidegger, anxiety suggests transcendence as a possibility whereas for Arendt courage via action is transcending. By reading Heidegger’s concept of anxiety through an Arendtian lens we can therefore arrive at a political project shaped by both theory and practice.
  • The 21st Century is Lacanian: Thoughts in Reading Élisabeth Roudinesco's Lacan: In Spite of Everything
    Bejan, Raluca (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2017-09-08)
    Roudinesco, Élisabeth. Lacan: In Spite of Everything. Verso Books, 2014. Paperback. £12.09 ISBN: 9-781-78168162-6
  • Symbiogenic Interaction: The State and University Development Rationalities
    Stubberfield, Alexander T. (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    I discuss the changes taking place in higher education in the United States. I argue that the changes in higher education are the result of a distinct development rationality termed academic capitalism by Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades and not a neoliberalization dynamic. This process implies a different relationship to the state and society than other analyses would lead us to believe. I employ William Connolly’s concept of symbiogenesis to discuss how the dynamics of this relationship are displayed. Further, I employ Louis Althusser to explain the difference between ideology and rationality and then posit that the changes in higher education and state are not a shift in ideology but in rationality according to Wendy Brown. I argue that: (1) that the changes happening in universities cannot be merely the result of ‘neoliberalization’; (2) the dynamics inherent in the social changes of neoliberalism and academic capitalism are the result of a symbiogenesis as a response to the conditions of the new economy; and (3) neither neoliberalism nor academic capitalism can be understood as ideological shifts but must be understood in terms of rationalities that are redefining the interpretation of extant relationships that are the product of liberal ideology without positing new relationships implied by an ideological shift.
  • Special Section on Celebrity Humanitarianism: Excerpted Introduction from Celebrity Humanitarianism and North—South Relations: Politics, Place and Power
    Richey, Lisa Ann (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    As I wrote this book introduction, North—South relations were pessimistically characterized by a tone of humanitarian crisis over how to respond to the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in history...
  • Building New Platforms for Civil Society: the Right to Image in Syrian Abounaddara Collective’s Cinema of Emergency
    Popan, Elena R. (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    In the past five years, the Syrian conflict became “the most socially mediated civil conflict in history” i, bringing into spotlight controversial debates that involve freedom of expression, freedom of information, and the urgency to create a balance between them. In this context, Syrian Abounaddara Collective, a group of self-taught filmmakers based in Damascus, launched the concept of emergency cinema. Starting with April 2011, Abounaddara uploaded every week a film on Facebook, Twitter, and on Vimeo, aiming to represent Syrians in a just and dignified way and offering an alternate narrative to those of Assad’s regime and (inter)national media. The project is very accessible since the Collective is a promoter of the power of “smaller screens” like computers and smartphones, with all films being subtitled from the original Arabic to French and English. Their works combines visual culture and film with philosophy, history, science, sociology etc. inviting critics to provide in-depth analyses of cultural phenomena linked to visuality. The films are supposed to make the viewer look at reality differently, to empathize, and demand for justice; however, the message is intended to be open to interpretation, not merely reduced to the clash between good and evil. The article explores the interdisciplinary features of emergency cinema, especially its juridical dimension and the emphasis on one person’s right to image, that recommend it as an updated version of social cinema. By concisely analyzing several films created by Abounaddara Collective and by relying on information made available by interviews, I aim to offer a fresh perspective on the role of cinema in today’s geopolitical context and open a dialogue on how innovative artistic and media forms can challenge the dominant representations of politics and events.
  • Defining a Crisis: the Impact of Attention and Crisis Language on Diabetes in America
    McPhie, Michael (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    Public health crises are shaped by the nature of public discourse surrounding them. Attention and portrayal of disease in the media and advocacy from interest groups play a significant role in defining, labeling, and framing health threats in the United States. The frequency of coverage and the use of crisis language in the public discourse determine issue salience and creates a discursive epidemic that coincides with medical threats. Diabetes presents a growing challenge for public health in the U.S. due to its rising prevalence in the population; however, it also represents an important example of how health crisis are portrayed. This paper examines how media coverage and advocacy group portrayals of diabetes have evolved. Taking a longitudinal approach, media archives and advocacy group publications are examined, focusing on the period from 1985 to 2014. Finally, this paper seeks to use the coverage of diabetes as a reflection of public discourse and the nature of public health crises. This research falls at the intersection of several fields of study, including media effects, communication, psychology, and political behavior. The perception of a crisis and its surrounding discourse shape public perception and determine political and social response. Specifically, observing the frequency and content of language used to discuss diabetes in America can reveal the dynamics of communication in the public sphere and why some issues are salient while others are not.
  • Letter from the Editors
    Laney, Jordan; Szczurek, Anthony (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    We live in interesting times.
  • College Adjuncts as the 21st Century “One Dimensional Man”
    Hassell, Barbara Okker (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2011-09-01)
  • Responsibility to Redress: Global Harm, Obligation and the Afghan and Iraqi Refugee Crises
    Keyel, Jared (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    The U.S. led invasions and occupations of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 created displacement crises that continue to this day. Yet despite the on-going consequences of these actions, and immediate needs of millions of people, U.S. and allied responses have been slow, narrow, and inadequate with regard to basic humanitarian aid and protection. In 2006, for example, the U.S. Government created programs to issue Special Immigrant Visas to a limited number of Afghans and Iraqis who worked for the U.S. military in various capacities. These programs were created to help the “friends” of the U.S. that assisted in its war effort. In this way the U.S. Government recognized a limited duty to redress harm while millions of others who were negatively affected by the invasions and occupations are given no such consideration. This paper first considers “cosmopolitan” and “anti-cosmopolitan” justifications for redressing harm done to outsiders. Then, following what Shelley Wilcox calls the global harm principle I argue that the states involved in military action in Afghanistan and Iraq have an obligation to assist everyone negatively affected, not just “friends.” In order to fulfill this obligation, the U.S. and its allies should expand their refugee resettlement programs to admit any non-combatants from Afghanistan or Iraq who wishes to resettle. For those who do not wish to resettle in the United States or Europe, greater funds should be made available in the form of direct cash transfers to individuals and greater funding for international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). I draw upon precedents of reparations in international law and practice, such as those made following cessation of wars, to support this recommendation. Finally, I consider several of the key trade-offs implied by the GHP when implemented in a “non-ideal” world.
  • Journey: Artist's Statement
    Kavousi, Shabnam (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    The painting presented here is named "Journey" and it tells the story of an emotional journey...
  • Special Section on Celebrity Humanitarianism: Celebrity Humanitarianism--The Ideology of Global Charity
    Kapoor, Ilan (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    My book, Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity, focuses on three contemporary types of celebrity humanitarianisms: the global charity work of entertainment stars such as Bono, Geldof, Jolie, and Madonna; the corporate philanthropy of billionaires (Gates, Soros) and big business; and the humanitarian work of ‘spectacular’ NGOs (Save Darfur, Médeçins Sans Frontières), which not only pursue celebrity endorsements for their programs, but are increasingly able to achieve celebrity status themselves to boost fundraising and reach. I attempt an ideology critique of all three types, showing how each strives to ignore or disavow the dirty underside of the neoliberal global order, including the latter’s tendencies towards depoliticization, imperialism, and inequality.
  • Eco-body: A Biological Anthropology for Technological Evolution
    Hill, Bill (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    This body of work explores the transformation of the human body, both physically and mentally as increased reliance upon electronic technology forces conditions of artificial that replace the “natural”. This fundamental shift in stimuli becomes a tipping point in evolution.
  • Mushunguli to Bantu Jareer: A Trajectory Analysis of the People Now Known as Somali Bantu
    Michele C. Deramo (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    This essay is a trajectory analysis of the people now known as Somali Bantu. Beginning with their settlement of the southern Jubba Valley and on through to their third country resettlement in the United States on P2 refugee status, the people now known as Somali Bantu have been continually transformed by engagements with multiple and often disparate cultures, traditions, languages, and histories. According to Stuart Hall, groups such as the Somali Bantu “bear upon them the traces of the particular cultures, traditions, languages and histories by which they were shaped. The difference is that they are not and will never be unified in the old sense because they are irrevocably the product of several interlocking histories and cultures, belonging at one and the same time to several ‘homes.’” (1990, 310) In this essay, I demonstrate the discursive nature of group identity and interrogate the connections between the history of oppression, the sustainability of culture, and the performance of identity in diaspora. I combine first-hand accounts of forced migration with a summary of the documented history of the people now known as Somali Bantu, beginning with their forced migration to Somalia and the various factors shaping their status in the country. The analysis continues through the period of displacement, flight, and human warehousing in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps of Kenya and includes an examination of how bureaucratic labeling as refugees, and the public rhetoric of mainstream media further shaped the story of the Somali Bantu. Each of these moments through the refugee trajectory are foundational to the self-representations that would emerge in diaspora.
  • Special Section on Celebrity Humanitarianism: Celebrity Humanitarianism and Its Critics
    Debrix, François (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    Comments and reflections on Lisa Ann Richey (ed), Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations: Politics, Place and Power (London: Routledge, 2016), and Ilan Kapoor, Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity (London: Routledge, 2013).
  • A Non-Liberal Account of Development
    D'Amato, Claudio (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    For much the 20th century, development aid to the deeply impoverished nations of the Global South has taken the form of humanitarian assistance. Development projects have been motivated, first, by a humanist principle that all people everywhere deserve basic human rights and freedom from want; and, second, by the widely accepted belief that the Global South is entitled to receive extensive reparations for centuries of colonial exploitation. Together, these two views have made development work the near-exclusive province of liberal humanists, and thus most development projects are designed to advance ideological positions that are popular in Western democracies: individual liberty, equal social standing, fair opportunity, and fair political representation. But while the liberal-humanist ideology is valid on its own merits, it is neither the only nor the best available normative framework to underwrite development efforts. This paper argues that development workers—especially international NGOs and transnational activists—should design projects that incorporate a communitarian, morally particularistic, and non-liberal (but not illiberal) ethic that respects the collective determination of groups without requiring the affirmation of individual free agency. This proposal follows some recent collectivist shifts in the literature on Amartya Sen’s capability approach to justice, which is explicitly or implicitly adopted by many development projects based in the Global South. An increasing number of critics in the last decade have argued that the approach’s liberal-humanist foundations hinder rather than promote its usefulness in eradicating systemic poverty while respecting local communal values. This paper sides with these critiques and takes them a step further, suggesting that development workers who subscribe to the capability approach should commit more fully to a communitarian ethic founded on moral particularism.
  • Marcuse, Foucault, and The Purge: Film Review
    Abraham, Judson Charles (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-12-03)
    James DeMonaco’s 2013 horror film The Purge, which imagines a near-future America in which a fascist government declares all crime (including murder) legal for one night a year, received generally bad reviews. Most reviewers overlooked how the film speaks to the relationship between desire and power in modern civilization...
  • Black Cultural Heritage and the Subversion of the Stereotypical Images of the Black Woman in Toni Morrison's Sula
    Sahyoun, Mona Faysal (Virginia Tech Publishing, 2016-04-14)
    One consequence of American slavery was the de-gendering of female slaves, divesting them of a traditional feminine gender identity that their White mistresses were encouraged to assume, thus rendering female slaves sexed yet genderless females. The female slaves are constructed as "breeder" rather than "mother" and promiscuous rather than chaste. While Angela Davis states in Women, Race & Class that, from the perspective of slaveholders, female slaves were no more than "breeders", Eugene D. Genovese records in Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made that Europeans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were appalled by the sexual traditions of West Africans and were persuaded that West Africans lacked morals and sexual restraints. The slavery system also fostered the later constructions of Black women as "mammies", "matriarchs", and the most recent stereotypes of "welfare mothers", and "hoochies". Such constructions revealed the dominant group's concern that Black women maintain a subordinate position. In this paper, I argue that Morrison in Sula draws on the tradition of other-mothering and community other-mothering, notions adapted from West African societies, as well as the practice of biological mothering in ways that successfully disrupt negative stereotypes about Black womanhood originating from slavery.