Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Saturday, March 10, 2012

SHAMELESS FAMILY PROMOTION DEPARTMENT

My son, Professor Tobias Barrington Wolff, has just published an extraordinarily interesting article, which I was privileged to read in manuscript, as it were, when he completed it.  It is called "Civil Rights Reform and the Body," and can be accessed by cutting and pasting this link:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2019632&

What makes the essay so interesting, to my way of thinking, is his ability to bring into fruitful conjunction materials from a diversity of academic fields [I like to believe that he got a little bit of this from me, but then, as a father, I of course take credit for what my sons do.]  In addition to his groundbreaking work on LGBT legal rights, Tobias is the leading young Civil Proceduralist in the academic legal community.

Quite the most fascinating part of the essay is the section in which he talks about the early stages of train travel in America.  That is worth the price of the entire article all by itself.

3 comments:

Superfluous Man said...

After reading this article, my thoughts immediately go back to a time where you'd find me playing with my friend at his fathers gasoline service station (and always a garage attached to those) in rural South Carolina in 1963, 1964, 1965 playing around that well designed building and there you'd find the architects had designed three bathrooms. Men, Ladies, and Colored. We two went in all three as there were long stretches when no travelers to Florida were stopped at that station on Highway 301 which was before I-95 was completed. That was a main route to Florida, if not the main route, our town being the very one "with more motels per capita than any other town or city in the country". Presumably Georgia was not a desirable place for anyone, black or white, and we were there on the Georgia/Carolina border in Allendale SC while Ben Bernanke was busy working for Mr. Scheaffer at the other end of 301 on the South Carolina side of the NC/SC border at Pedro's place. The service station or "fillin' station" as they were often called ,was just one of many thousands of places just like it all throughout the South All those motels, but still the town was a very small place. I didn't notice any difference between the three rest rooms other than the only one to have condom machines was the male one, African American patrons apparently weren't considered to need them or perhaps were considered not able to afford them. We didn't know what those machines were for but we speculated on that at our young innocent age but a quarter would buy too much penny candy to cause us to seriously attempt to find out.

But I see that the primal fear of the bathroom is still with us, just in a different form as your son describes. I suppose in those days there was the fear of some Tom Robinson hiding in a white bathroom, there to pounce upon some Mayella Ewell, fear among adults (but of which we had no clue about at that age) which was as real then as what your son is describing now, as ridiculous as it was. I can't help but see parallels, even though your son does go into the differences quite well.

America's Puritan and Victorian sensitivities seems to be still with us. I remember when I left South Carolina a few years ago a young lady who had visited Europe came back with a great many pictures from a famous European sex museum which I believe she said was in Amsterdam. Apparently she was quite taken with the place and had a trove of photos of this distinctly unique place. Unfortunately, she had them developed in Europe and they were all confiscated by customs. We do have a long way to go. Let's just not go back to three restrooms. The thought of growing up in that environment, which the powers that be never questioned at the time embarrasses me now. I suppose we'll feel the same way about what your son describes one day.

Don Schneier said...

Relatedly, while thinking about the Philosopher-Rhetorician contrast, I entertained the metaphor that Socrates transformed debate from a poker game to a chess match, e. g. in poker, but not in chess, appearance can have greater value than reality. Similarly, the Philosophy grandmaster has an encyclopedic knowledge of dialectical moves, can anticipate the direction of a discussion, won't hesitate to offer a 'poison' premise, etc.

Superfluous Man said...

Professor:

This collection of images with commentary may be useful for your son's future papers.
http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/09/02/guest-post-go-where-sex-gender-and-toilets/

Ran across this while browsing through a site that studies images and their sociological effects, meaning, etc. etc.