Sabbatical updates

I have just started a 10-month sabbatical fellowship at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst, Germany. In 2020, I will also be an ACLS fellow. This means I’ll be focusing entirely on research from August 2019 through December 2020.

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Das Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg

Having just started my first sabbatical, I have to say I agree with Meagan Day’s argument in Jacobin that everyone should have one. This vision is of course even more radical than an academic sabbatical — Day wants us to have time off from all forms of work. Though I do hope to have time to read more novels, watch more TV, and travel more during my sabbatical, I also have lots of grand plans for new research projects. 

One of the best things about getting tenure last year is that I feel less need to prioritize first- and single-authored publications. I now feel like I can be more open to hanging out in the middle of an author list, which can take my research in unexpected and exciting directions. While I’ve co-authored before, right now, all 5(!) of the projects I am currently working on are collaborative.  One’s nearly in press, others are in the data-gathering phase, another is (hopefully) half-written, and another is merely a glimmer in our eyes and pages of incoherent notes.

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CNN.com op ed on Facebook and revenge porn

I have an op ed on CNN.com today about Facebook’s recent efforts to combat revenge porn.

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“Revenge porn” is sexual abuse in a new digital form. A recent study shows that 10% of women under 30 years old in the United States have been victimized by the misuse of their intimate images. Facebook is one of many platforms that host this kind of abuse despite its efforts to tinker with the ways users can report unauthorized content.

This spring, Facebook rolled out a feature allowing users to request that Facebook take down any unauthorized intimate images that are being shared on the platform. And last week, Facebook announced a pilot program for users in Australia to upload nude images of themselves they suspected were being shared without their permission. Facebook would then generate a digital fingerprint of each image so that it couldn’t be shared on the platform.

A better solution would be to give users the power to prevent any images that depict them from ever being posted on the platform.

I’m not sure why, but I was a bit surprised by the low quality of the user comments. Many are victim-blaming (well, just don’t sext then, duh) and others are panicked misinterpretations of free speech. Here’s a good response from user “Dahak:”

Why are so many people confused about the 1st Amendment? It says the government can’t arrest you or penalize you for speaking. Facebook is not the government. Facebook can put whatever restrictions it wants to on its platform. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. If you have a better idea, go build it and popularize it. That is how the free market works.