Congratulations to Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera, who has been awarded a CLAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant to support her work titled “Resilience: A Workshop for Women Doing Philosophy.” Dr. Llanera’s work has already inspired an intellectual movement in the South Pacific, in which Indigenous and other South Pacific women of color working in philosophy have created a Women Doing Philosophy group and project. The result is a series of influential journal articles, conferences, colloquia, and a proposed anthology on resilience. The proposal for the anthology has been enthusiastically received by the series editors for the Routledge-India series Academics, Politics and Society in the Post-Covid World.
Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera gave a keynote at the 2022 Notre Dame School of Virtue & Character presented by the Institute for Ethics & Society. Held over two weeks, the third NDSVC allows selected participants to engage with new research on the topic of cultivating good character. NDSVC features six keynote sessions, each running for 1.5 hours. The sessions are structured around a pre-read paper and provide participants with the opportunity to engage directly with the speakers in a rigorous but friendly discussion of their work.
This article explores the claim that how we talk can inspire how we reason and act. Contemporary research suggests that the words militant Christian leaders in the Philippines use shape how they rationalize President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Describing drug users as “sinners,” a trope in religious language, is particularly lethal. Using work on pragmatism and philosophy of language by Richard Rorty, Robert Brandom, and Lynne Tirrell, the author examines how the term “sinner” generates pernicious claims in the drug war. It explores how the use of the term inspires hermeneutic uptake, redirects discursive focus, and engenders certain social and political actions in the Philippines.
Check out Professor Tracy Llanera’s recent article in Philosophy and Global Affairs, “Pragmatism, Language Games, and the Philippine Drug War.”
This article explores the claim that how we talk can inspire how we reason and act. Contemporary research suggests that the words militant Christian leaders in the Philippines use shape how they rationalize President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Describing drug users as “sinners,” a trope in religious language, is particularly lethal. Using work on pragmatism and philosophy of language by Richard Rorty, Robert Brandom, and Lynne Tirrell, the author examines how the term “sinner” generates pernicious claims in the drug war. It explores how the use of the term inspires hermeneutic uptake, redirects discursive focus, and engenders certain social and political actions in the Philippines
Check out Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera's recent piece on resilience, which examines the extent to which it can, albeit virtuous, be used as weapon for further exploitation of the already exploited.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).