Tracy Llanera

Tracy Llanera: “Yes, You Do Deserve a Little Treat”

Check out Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera's recent article in The New York Times, "Yes, You Do Deserve a Little Treat"

*Excerpt*

Tracy Llanera, 35, a philosophy professor at the University of Connecticut who studies nihilism, said that this treat-forward approach is one way people are reclaiming some of the freedom and stability that has been lost since early 2020.

“In the Covid pandemic, the thing that confirms that you’re suffering from existential nihilism is the lack of control,” Ms. Llanera said.

Amid these feelings of ongoing helplessness and grief, she said, people try to find consistent and reliable pleasures.

“Something about treat culture is that you’re always regularly going to get the treat,” she added. “You can depend on that, at least. There’s a guarantee that this small little ritual that you have every week will at least satiate something in you.”

Tracy Llanera: “I Am An American Philosopher”

Check out Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera's recent interview with the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (SAAP), "I Am An American Philosopher."

*Excerpt*

The pragmatist tradition has no problem about being level-headed and getting muddy. There’s no bizarre or elitist hang-up in using (and re-forging) concepts from philosophy or other disciplines to make sense of contemporary issues or to promote social amelioration. As an approach, I’ve found pragmatism to be useful and liberating, whether I’m thinking about existential despair, or the words we use, or how hate festers in people.

Tracy Llanera: “The Misogyny Paradox and the Alt-Right” Accepted by Hypatia

Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera's article, "The Misogyny Paradox and the Alt-right," has been accepted for publication in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.

***ABSTRACT***

This essay offers a philosophical analysis of the misogyny experienced by women in the alternative right (alt-right) movement. I argue that this misogyny takes on a paradoxical form: the better alt-right women propagandists promote hate, the greater hostility they experience from their fellow racists and critics; the more submissive women alt-right members become, the harsher the impact of misogyny on them. I develop this argument in four parts. Part I introduces the alt-right movement and the presumed role of white women in racist hate groups. Using Louise Richardson-Self's work on social imaginaries, I explain how dominant images in racist propaganda could be used as resources for exploring the self-conception of racist white women. Part II offers a description of three dominant images in the racist social imaginary: the goddess/victim, wife and mother, and the female activist. These images accord white women a revered status in virtue of their gendered subordination to white men and the white cause. I present the white power barbie and the tradwife as the contemporary iterations of these social images in the alt-right movement. Part III explores the misogyny paradox as experienced by alt-right women. Beginning with a description of gender relations in the racist patriarchy, I show how alt-right women could be seen as both misogynists and victims of misogyny; in other words, as perpetrators and recipients of misogynist harms. It then moves to a twofold discussion of misogyny through the lens of contemporary feminist philosophy. The first section engages Kate Manne’s writings on the dynamics of misogyny to explain hostility against women propagandists, while the second section discusses Manon Garcia’s Beauvoirian argument of the concept of submission to explain the misogyny hurled against conformist women. Part IV briefly reflects on the absurdity of the alt-right’s dependence on women’s economic labor, a feature that may make the movement vulnerable to political intervention.

Tracy Llanera and Nicholas Smith: Egotism in Higher Education

Check out Tracy Llanera and Nicholas Smith's recent essay, "Egotism in Higher Education," in the Cardiff University blog, Open for Debate. This essay is based on the chapter "A Culture of Egotism: Rorty and Higher Education," The Promise of the University: Reclaiming Humanity, Humility, and Hope, ed.  Áine Mahon, forthcoming with Springer.

***Excerpt***

Universities, ideally speaking, can be places that cultivate the process of self-growth. As the pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty has put it, studying in universities allows students to undergo ‘self-enlargement’. Self-enlargement is Rorty’s take on what his fellow pragmatist and educationalist John Dewey called ‘growth’. Growth as self-enlargement occurs in two main ways: through projects of self-creation and widening relations of solidarity. Self-creation involves the making of oneself anew and the adoption for oneself of a ‘final vocabulary’, or a language that expresses one’s commitments, self-projects, and understanding and relationship with others and the world. Widening solidarity involves expanding the group to which one feels some belonging. At the heart of both are encounters with real or imaginary people, and these encounters reveal the limits and narrowness of one’s previous sense of self. In taking knowingness and self-satisfaction as its enemies, a culture of self-enlargement is the opposite of a culture of egotism.

Tracy Llanera: Women, the Alt-right and the Liberal Centre

Why do women join white nationalist and other far-right movements? Misogyny is rampant on the alt-right, along with the notion that women's primary role is to be wives and child-bearers. But the liberal centre can be an ambivalent place for women too. Feminism was founded on the ideal of equality, and on the belief that women should be treated as individuals rather than undifferentiated members of a subordinate class. But have these liberal humanist ideals of of equality and individual autonomy outgrown their usefulness?

Dr. Tracy Llanera [UConn and University of Notre Dame Australia]  and Dr. Louise Richardson-Self [University of Tasmania] are featured in this episode titled "Women, the alt-right and the liberal centre" on The Philosopher's Zone. The radio broadcast in Australia [ABC Radio National] was Sunday August 1 at 5.30 pm on ABC RN, repeated the following Sunday August 8 at 5.30 am.

This interview features philosophical work that will be discussed in this free public panel on Resentment, Guilt, and Shame under Patriarchy on Aug 9, 2021 (Mon).

Tracy Llanera: Resentment, Guilt, and Shame Under Patriarchy Panel

Public Panel: Resentment, Guilt, and Shame Under Patriarchy. An event organised by the University of Tasmania under ARC project DE 190100719 Hate Speech Against Women Online: Concepts and Countermeasures.

Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera will be participating in a public panel on resentment, guilt, and shame under patriarchy live on Zoom on August 9, 2021.

The event will begin with three short talks:

  • Dr Louise Richardson-Self (UTAS) — “Affirmative Action, Gender, and Merit”
  • Dr Tracy Llanera (UNDA/UConn) — “Misogyny, Feminism, and the Alt-Right“
  • Dr Filipa Melo Lopes (Edinburgh) — “What Do Incels Want? Explaining Incel Violence Using Beauvoirian Otherness“

These will be followed by a short response from Dr Noelle Leslie Dela Cruz (DLSU) and then a live Q&A with the Audience.

Then stay for Dr Kate Manne (Cornell)'s keynote talk, “What is Gaslighting?“, with a short response from Dr Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky (NYU) and additional live Q&A.

The event will be held live on Zoom on 9 August 2021 at the following times:

  • 6am–10am (UTC -4)
  • 11am–3pm (UTC +1)
  • 6pm–10pm (UTC +8)
  • 8pm–12pm (UTC +10)

This event has been organized under ARC project DE190100719 Hate Speech Against Women Online: Concepts and Countermeasures and the University of Tasmania, with the support of the Australasian Association of Philosophy and Women Doing Philosophy.

Tracy Llanera: Guest on “The Minefield”

Logo for The Minefield.

Listen to Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera's recent guest appearance on The Minefield with Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens on ABC Radio National.

 

In a world marked by wicked social problems, The Minefield helps you negotiate the ethical dilemmas, contradictory claims and unacknowledged complicities of modern life. This episode addresses such questions as whether a nihilistic view of “reality” is corrosive to a robust conception of the moral life? Or are there defensible ways of thinking about moral obligation, as well as moral progress, that don’t rely on transcendental guarantees? Can “meaning” itself give rise to forms of corrosive egotism, which undermine the possibilities of both moral community and moral growth?

 

Want to know more? Check out the accompanying excerpt from Tracy Llanera and James Tartaglia's book, A Defense of Nihilism.

Tracy Llanera: Interview on Ideas (CBC Radio Canada)

Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera and her co-author James Tartaglia (Keele University) were recently interviewed on the radio show Ideas (CBC Radio Canada). It will also air on Australia's Radio National: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/good-news-for-nihilists-life-is-meaningless-after-all-say-philosophers-1.6036427. The focus was their book A Defence of Nihilism (Routledge, 2021).