Article published in:Language/Sexuality/Affect
Edited by William L. Leap
[Journal of Language and Sexuality 7:1] 2018
► pp. 77–104
“I don’t mean to be a dick, but”
Paralipsis, affective excess, and the reproduction of sexual hierarchies in university classrooms
This article explores the significance of paralipsis to analyses of affect and sociopolitical formation. Taking attested utterances from undergraduate anthropology courses as a point of departure, I examine how one White and female-identified student engaged in a sexualized form of paralipsis to claim distance from her own negative construal of the object-category “girls [that brag about community service].” Deploying what I term dick-rhetoric, in combination with strong affect and assertions of ideological common-sense, this student’s performance was effective at garnering stance ratification and “uptake” from classmates (Jaffe 2009), and facilitating the reproduction of gender and sexual hierarchies. Drawing on Browne’s (2015) examination of denied racial subjectivity or “dark matter,” I argue that “dick matter” renders genderism and sexual objectification acceptable in university classrooms (among regimes, e.g., racial) – particularly for settings where professors do not engage students in critical exploration of dominant hierarchies and normalization processes. Discussion emphasizes the salience of engaging (ourselves and) students in examination of uses of paralipsis and dick-rhetoric for addressing gender and sexual inequalities.
Keywords: critical pedagogy, dick-rhetoric, paralipsis, stancetaking, sexual inequality
Published online: 22 February 2018
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