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'In the End It Always Does' captures self-shattering desire

(07/31/23 3:40am)

The big secret about sex, Leo Bersani writes in his 1987 essay “Is the Rectum a Grave?,” is that most people don’t like it. And this is true, he says, even for those who seem most capable of embracing their own sexual impulses, including, say, the most enthusiastic proponents of polysexuality with multiple sex partners. In saying this, Bersani intimates that there is nothing more disorienting and boundary-breaking to our selves than the truth of our sexual desire. Or we can say with Bersani that desire disrupts and dissolves the coherence of any stable identity, causing the “shattering of the psychic structures themselves.”

Towards a better disability discourse at Duke

(11/04/22 4:00am)

Who has the courage to be a disability activist at Duke? Or, to put it differently, who is willing to advocate for change within a culture that extols wellness, productivity, and ability above everything else? How much suffering and invalidation does a student have to endure before they proclaim, “Enough is enough!”, and turn to activism as the last resort?

Reclaiming gendered medical categories

(10/21/22 4:00am)

In 1889, Viennese physician Moritz Benedikt was called to examine a rich young woman who complained of intolerable headaches. Initially thought to suffer from a case of meningitis, she later communicated to Benedikt in confidence that her family would not let her pursue her studies despite her strong desire to do so. When the young woman was allowed to study, her symptoms magically disappeared.

Sexual assault: the harmful dichotomy between prevention and intervention

(10/07/22 4:00am)

Sexual violence resources at Duke are reactionary, says Eden Schumer, the founder of SHAPE, because they “do nothing to reduce the number of people who will be [affected] in the future.” Drawing on her criticism, the Community Editorial Board urged the university to “offer more of its abundant financial resources to SHAPE” so that it can initiate more prevention and education programs.

How Duke is failing sexual assault victims

(09/23/22 4:00pm)

When Duke adopted the new mandatory reporting policy regarding sexual misconduct in 2009, it faced backlash from students who viewed it as a threat to confidentiality and the empowerment of victims. It is “not appropriate to make the victims drive the process,” a coordinator of Women’s Center at the time reasoned in The Chronicle, because victims experience “the psychological effects of trauma.” Two years later, in a triumphant Duke Today article, administrators celebrated the apparent success of the new policy, saying that they were “now convinced that [they had] really exposed the problem and empowered the victim.”

Transcending sexual consent

(09/09/22 11:51am)

Let’s face it: consent won’t end the culture of sexual harassment at Duke. We can sexualize consent all we want, yet the fact remains that giving and asking for permission with sexual progression is overwhelmingly shaped by gender expectations, alcohol consumption, and the pressure to engage in casual sex. Not to mention how years of campaigning for the importance of consent has failed to resolve the epidemic of sexual assault on campus.