Jennifer Doyle is an American writer, art historian, blogger, and Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Hold it Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (2013) and Sex Objects: Art and the Dialectics of Desire (2006). In 2012, Doyle won an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital | The Warhol Foundation. She was also the 2013-2014 Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of the Arts, London.
Campus Sex, Campus Security
—from Campus Sex, Campus Security
The psychic life of the university campus is ugly. The idyllic green quad is framed by paranoid cops and an anxious risk-management team. A student is beaten, another is soaked with pepper spray. A professor is thrown to the ground and arrested, charged with felony assault. As the campus is fiscally strip-mined, the country is seized by a crisis of conscience: the student makes headlines now as rape victim and rapist. An administrator writes a report. The crisis is managed.
Each administrative digest of “an incident” fracks an encounter between subjects to convert an outrage into a policy. Anger is turned into violence; violence is turned into administrative process. University resources—time, energy, thought and compassion— are absorbed by a managerial world averse to the inter- personal, lateral and dynamic work of education. The latter is full of risk. The classroom is the university’s soft flesh.
Published on the occasion of the 2014 Whitney Biennial