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Protest and Dissent

Conflicting Spaces in Translation and Culture

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Edited By Agnieszka Pantuchowicz and Anna Warso

Essays collected in this book discuss textual and discursive formulations of dominance and resistance. The authors analyze how they are narrated and re-narrated, framed and reframed in different social, political and language communities and realities, through different media and means, and translated into different contexts and languages. As the ways we name, rename, or label events, people and places have implications in the real world, the essays are also meant to investigate the ways in which we partake in negotiating its construction, its changing meanings and senses through the stories we tell and the practices we live by.

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The Strategic Role of Humor in Contemporary Race-Related Student Activism on the Basis of “I, Too, Am Harvard” Project and Justin Simien’s Dear White People

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This chapter analyzes “I, Too, Am Harvard,” a multimedia initiative presenting Harvard’s students of color, and Dear White People, a satire about race relations in the Ivy League schools. These projects encapsulate issues central to the recent student protests in the USA, and exemplify the critical potential of satire and humor in campus activism.

Keywords: African-American StudiesHumor Studiescampus activismsatireirony

In recent years, universities in the United States have witnessed a resurgence of race-related campus activism. At first scattered and seemingly insignificant, student protests managed to transform themselves into a notable intercampus phenomenon. During the fall semester of 2014 alone there were over 160 protests on campuses throughout the country, most of them focused around the issue of race relations (Johnston); in the 2015/16 academic year, almost one hundred universities received lists of demands from students advocating for racial equity (Chang, 33). Emboldened by the ever-growing presence of the Black Lives Matter movement on the national stage, student activists managed to spark a widespread debate about the lack of racial inclusiveness on American campuses.

The rise in campus activism provoked an outcry from both liberal and conservative media. The majority of publications described campus activists in a patronizing manner, and portrayed them as people willing to censor open intellectual discourse in the name of their own emotional comfort. Framed as unfit, un-academic, and ultimately un-American, the protesters met with an antithetical accusation of being simultaneously thin-skinned and threatening (Chang, 34)...

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