Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Study Guide: 'Borderline - Reflections on War, Sex, and Church'


This study guide for Borderline - Reflections on War, Sex, and Church is for two different kinds of people who might study what they read. Some might be obliged to study as formal students in a college or university. Others might study on their own initiative outside any institutional setting. As a result, the book might seem to "talk up" to the average reader with twelve to fourteen years of formal education, even as it seems to "talk down" in its explanations of various ideas and terms to a graduate student in history, philosophy, or theology.  So there is something there to irritate everyone. The intent, however, is not to talk up or down to anyone, but to be accessible enough to both to be a bridge between these two worlds - between those who are very well-schooled and those who are not, but who on their own initiative are raising the kinds of questions that sociology or history or philosophy or theology might raise. So I ask both groups to be tolerant of the book on those accounts. In a sense, the book is intended to be a small contribution to breaking down what a friend once called "the intellectual division of labor."







Explaining terms, in the main text or in footnotes on the same page, that might not be familiar to those outside of an academic context, was a suggestion from Dr. Amy Laura Hall, the author of the Foreword, based on her experience as a teacher of undergraduates.

The book also bounces back and forth between "academic" frameworks - history, cultural criticism, genealogy of ideas - and an autobiographical framework - snippets of the author's own life and experience, especially as they pertain to his past career in the United States Army.


The only thing the book and this guide assumes about the reader/student is that s/he reads well and carefully with good comprehension. The rest is wide open.

The book is intentionally controversial.  It deals with tough questions about gender/sex, war, church, race, nationalism, developmental psychology, and media, all through the lens of power.  Not the power to do things, but materially and historically structured social power exercised over others.  The book does not take what could be called a conventionally "liberal" or "conservative" perspective on these subjects, so in addition to treading through the minefields of social controversy, it may do so in a way that feels, for some readers, a little off balance.

The study guide moves chapter by chapter, listing key concepts, suggested discussion questions, and reference to the numerous epigraphs at the beginning of most chapters.

* * *

Preface



Key concepts

After reading the Preface, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Story-formed (narrative) community
Transhisoricality
Maniliness/masculinity
Domination
"Way of the cross"
Career overview of the author
Gendered power
Gendered privilege
Invisibility

Discussion questions


How is compassion described by Brueggemann?

What is the relationship between "invisibility" and power?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


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Chapter 1 - Introduction


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 1, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Reciprocity between war and misogyny
Reciprocity between war and masculinity
Pre-rational/pseudo-rational justification
Biological determinism

Discussion questions

What does the author mean by the term "standpoint"?

What is the difference, according to the book, between necessity and contingent un-avoidability?


When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?

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Chapter 2 - My Acquaintance with a Christian Solider and Serial Rapist


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 2, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Overcoming the body
Eros
Unequal complementarity
Rape culture
Gender destabilization


Discussion questions

What stands out the most for you about the description of Delta Selection?

In what ways does the books description of this Special military unit run counter to popular ideas or idealizations of such units, or the military generally?

Why does the author say the serial rapist, Brown, is not "abnormal, but hyper-normal"?

How does/can the author "get away" with "playing the whore" when he makes a mock-offer to exchange a sexual favor for beer?

In the Preface and Introduction, the book associates sex with hostility and domination.  In this chapter, we are given explicit examples.  Can you cite other examples of this association in practice or language?

This chapter has the first reference to the intersection of sex, race, masculinity, and nationalism.  What are your thoughts about American racial stereotypes with regard to sex?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Men’s interest in patriarchy is condensed in hegemonic masculinity and is defended by all the cultural machinery that exalts hegemonic masculinity. It is institutionalized in the state; enforced by violence, intimidation and ridicule in the lives of straight men . . . and enforced by violence against women and gay men."

—R. W. Connell

"Once children have been indoctrinated into the expectations of a dominator society, they may never outgrow the need to locate all evil outside themselves. Even as adults they tend to scapegoat others for all that is wrong in the world. They continue to depend on group identification and the upholding of social norms for a sense of well-being."

—Walter Wink

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Chapter 3 - Forest Troop


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 3, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Mimetic violence
Biological determinism (again)

Discussion question

In this brief chapter, the book addresses the question of biological determinism, which is frequently justified by its adherents through the comparison of human behavior with the behavior of other primates.  But the study described did not set out to study biological determinism.  The unexpected discovery, apart from the original goals of the Sapolsky/Share study, was that even among some primates, their behavior was culturally inflected instead of biologically determined.  Why do you think a book about war and sex introduces the subject of biological determinism two times in the first part of the book?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Do you not realize that Eve is you? The curse God pronounced on your sex weighs still on the world. Guilty, you must bear its hardships. You are the devil’s gateway, you desecrated that fatal tree, you first betrayed the law of God, you who softened up with your cajoling words the man against whom the devil could not prevail by force. The image of God, the man Adam, you broke him, it was child’s play to you. You deserved death, and it was the son of God who had to die!"

—Tertullian (160–225)

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing."

—1 Corinthians 13:1–2
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Chapter 4 - Body Counts


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 4, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Masculinity/femininity
Naturalization
Gender
Difference versus hierarchy
Episteme
Epistemic crisis
Transhistoricality (again)
Hegemony/hegemonic
Threat of effeminacy
Social Darwinism

Discussion questions

The book states that masculinities vary over time, place, and social position.  How does the transhistorical character of war relate to this plasticity of masculinities?  What does it stabilize within hegemonic masculinity?

What was the relationship between a perceived crisis of masculinity and the emphasis on David by the "muscular Christianity" movement?

What relates "naturalization" to the question of biological determinism?

What are the key points of comparison between David and Jesus in this chapter?

Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"The Almighty exists and acts and speaks here in the form of One who is weak and impotent, the eternal as One who is temporal and perishing, the Most High in the deepest humility. The Holy One stands in the place and under the accusation of a sinner with other sinners. The glorious One is covered with shame. The One who lives forever has fallen prey to death. The Creator is subjected to and overcome by the onslaught of that which is not. In short, the Lord is a servant, a slave. And it is not accidental. It could not be otherwise."

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV.1.59

"Fierce is the dragon and cunning the asp; but women have the malice of both."

—St. Gregory of Nazianzus (329–89)
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Chapter 5 - Ontology of the Witch Hunt


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 5, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

The Enlightenment
Ontology
Criminalization of sin

Discussion questions

Does it surprise the reader that witch hunts correspond to the Enlightenment and not the "Dark Ages"?  Why?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Remember that God took the rib out of Adam’s body, not a part of his soul, to make her. She was not made in the image of God, like man."

—St. Ambrose (339–97)

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

—Galatians 3:28

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Chapter 6 - Ecologies of Power


Key Concepts

After reading Chapter 6, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Construction of masculinity
Historical turbulence/unpredictability
Christendom

Discussion questions

Why is this chapter called "Ecologies of Power"?  What does it mean for power to have an ecology?

How did changes in political power affect a church that was aligned with political power?

What do you think these questions have to do with the church and witch hunts?

There is a long standing debate about whether new ideas determine changes in material conditions, or changes in material conditions are more determinative of new ideas.  Which do you believe is true, and why?  What are examples in this chapter of the interaction between changes in ideas and changes in conditions?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"The whole of her body is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum and the fluid of digested food. . . . If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and the cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is only a whitened sepulchre."

—St. John Chrysostom (347–407)

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

—Ephesians 6:12

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Chapter 7 - The Rise of the Lawyers


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 7, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Criminalization of sin (again)
Juridical mindset
Absolutist state
Mercantile class
Professionalization of Law
Contractarianism
Sexual contract
The Reformation

Discussion questions

How does Illich describe the transformation of the church from covenental to contractual relationships?  How does the "criminalization of sin" lead to the new found power of lawyers by the beginning of the Enlightenment?  What effect does this have on witch hunts?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.

—St. Thomas Aquinas

With the New Testament, some very new forms of perception—not only of conception but also of perception—came into the world. I believe that these forms have had a definitive influence on our Western manner of living, shaping our way of thinking about what is good and desirable. I also believe that this influence has been mediated by the Christian Church, which bases its authority on its claim to speak for the New Testament. The Church . . . attempted to safeguard the newness of the Gospel by institutionalizing it, and in this way the newness got corrupted.

—Ivan Illich 

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Chapter 8 - Misbegotten Men


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 8, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Misogyny
Naturalization (again)
Woman-Eve tautology
Complementarity (again)

Discussion questions

Can you briefly reconstruct the author's argument that the church has acted in "bad faith" on questions of gender?

Do you believe the violence learned in war contributed more or the witch hunts, or the male contempt for women?  Explain.

Can you now summarize the witch hunts drawing on the last four chapters?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes procreation. If woman is not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate?"

—St. Augustine (354–450 AD)

"He told them still another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.'"

—Matthew 13:33

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Chapter 9 - Eros and War


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 9, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Eros (again)
Formative practice
Transgression
Evolution of the forms of war
Authoritarianism
Probative masculinity
Individual woman as honorary male
Feminization
Symbolic sexual subjugation

Discussion questions

What were some of your reactions to Broyles' description of men loving war?

Why do the necessities of war always increase authoritarianism?

In the script for GI Jane, she makes an anatomically impossible demand as the symbol of her victory in a fight.  This demand associates male-sex, symbolically through a female character, with conquest.  How might this relate to stories of same-sex prison relations in which one male is in the "male-role" and another in the "female-role"?  What is this telling us about our cultural constructions of sex?  How might these associations inform the idea of "women's equality" being understood merely as access by women to positions of power held by men? How do you feel about this notion of "equality"?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon a people who have the courage to meet it. War is to man what maternity is to woman. I do not believe in peace, but I find it depressing and a negation of all human virtues of man.

—Benito Mussolini

If there were no erotic or sentimental investment in the state, if our identities as modern sexually defined subjects did not take the state to be the primary object and therefore the partner on whom our identity depends, what could explain our passion for “la patria”?

—Doris Sommer

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Chapter 10 - Practice Makes Perfect


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 10, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Formative practice (again)
Archetypical practice
Mimetic learning
Role models
Intersubjectivity

Recognition
Constitution of the subject

Discussion questions

We often hear conversations and debates about "individuals" versus "culture."  According to Wulf and others cited in this chapter, what is the relation between mimetic learning (for the individual) and the cultural transmission of ideas and epistemes?

What role do the following play in what we call "learning":  recognition, belonging, affective resonance?

According to Žižek, how does desire matter in the process of enculturation?  How does mimesis affect the development of desire?  Why are fat people considered sexually desirable in some times and cultures, and not in others?  Skinny people?  Particular kinds of clothing?

What does mimetic learning have to do with masculinity and war across long historical periods?

How does MacIntyre describe the difference between an internal and an external good?  What is the relation between institutionalization and external goods?  How does this relate to what Illich has said about institutionalization (for example, of the criminalization of sin)?  What is the story of Jesus cited at the end of this chapter, and what does it have to do with institutionalization and external goods?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

Being and becoming similar are factors which are essential for children’s development, and gradually establish their relationship to the world, to themselves, and to language.

—Christoph Wulf

Would the military welcome pilots who worried if dropping bombs might incur civilian casualties?

—Stanley Hauerwas

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Chapter 11 - The Masculine Fortress


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 11, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Conceptual coordinates
Strategy
Tactics
Strategic mindset
Strategic boundaries
Strategic redoubt
Fear of fusion
Bricolage
The Weaponized Phallus

Discussion questions

What does De Certeau mean when he says that strategy is a self-isolating calculus?

What does the book mean when it claims that war provides the "conceptual coordinates" for masculinity in situations other than war?

What does De Certeau's distinction between strategy and tactics have to do with many men's fear of intimacy/vulnerability and compulsion for control?  How does this chapter tie this fear of intimacy and need for control to the association of sex with aggression and hostility?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'"

—Luke 22:19–20

"I call a strategy a calculation (or manipulation) of power relationships that becomes possible as soon as a subject with will and power (a business, an army, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated. It postulates a place that can be delimited as its own and serve as the base from which relations with an exteriority composed of targets or threats (customers or competitors, enemies, the country surrounding the city, objectives and objects of research, etc.) can be managed. . . . Every 'strategic' rationalization seeks first of all its 'own' place, that is, the place of its own power and will, from an 'environment.' A Cartesian attitude, if you wish: it is an effort to delimit one’s own place in a world bewitched by the powers of the Other. It is also the typical attitude of modern science, politics, and military strategy."

—Michel de Certeau

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Chapter 12 - Torture and Redemption



Key Concepts

After reading Chapter 12, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Cultural criticism
Redemptive violence
Social imaginary
Decoy
Male revenge fantasy
The national popular
Compulsory heterosexuality
Rape culture (again)
Meaning-making


Discussion questions

Why does this chapter pair a kind of movie review with a story about a booklet that was written explaining to prospective male prison inmates how to select a sex partner in prison?

Can you describe the common characteristics for most movies that can be classified as male revenge fantasies?

How does this chapter tie in with the preceding chapters on mimetic learning, cultural transmission, and the strategic mindset?

If the conceptual coordinates for many masculinities are found in war, do those masculinities require an enemy to be achieved?  How does this square with Jesus' mandate to "love your enemies and pray for them"?

How many films can you name where the story is redeemed by violence?  How many television programs?  How many films or television programs can you name that do NOT involve guns and other forms of violence to stop an evil or create a good?

Why is rape called wrong at the same time that many people seem to relish the thought of "criminals" being raped in prison?  What does this say about how we view the relationship between sex and power?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?


"Christians worship a God who was tortured to death by the empire; it is this God who saves by saying no to violence on the cross. Our penance, then, would take the form of resisting the idolatry of nation and state and its attendant violence."

—William Cavanaugh

"The myth of redemptive violence is the simplest, laziest, most exciting, uncomplicated, irrational, and primitive depiction of evil the world has ever known. Furthermore, its orientation toward evil is one into which virtually all modern children (boys especially) are socialized in the process of maturation."

—Walter Wink

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Chapter 13 - The Pope's Army



Key concepts

After reading Chapter 13, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Constantinian temptation/Constantinianism
Penitential war
Antisemitism
Objectification


Discussion questions

Why do you think the author diverged from the history of the witch hunts through three chapters on male psychology and one chapter of cultural criticism before returning to an abbreviated history of the Crusades?  How do the chapters on history, developmental gender psychology, and cultural criticism illuminate the story of the Delta Force serial rapist in Chapter 2?  How does the story of the Delta Force serial rapist in Chapter 2 illuminate the following chapters?

In this chapter, the book claims that war almost always morally degrades its participants.  How does this chapter explain the "inevitability" of moral degradation in war?  How do popular representations of war and violence in film, literature, etc., differ from the actual practices of war and violence?

In Chapter 6, we read about "ecologies of power," about how shifting political realities began to affect the church once it aligned itself with political rulers.  Can you describe some of the "ecological" power shifts that led to the Crusades?

What were some of the factors that influenced Pope Urban II's decision to raise an army of the church?

How did the attacks on various heretics lead to church participation in war?  How did participation in war lead the church to kill various groups of heretics?  How do you think this interaction was influenced by gender?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument? 

"The reality of the Crusades becomes more shabby the more one knows about it."

—Diarmaid MacCulloch

"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'

"Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'"

—Matthew 4:8–10

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Chapter 14 - Sleepwalking


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 14, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

Destabilization of masculinity (again)
Commodification
Demand production
Capitalism
Tempo task
Fragmentation/somnambulence
Anesthesia of power
Colonization

Discussion questions

In the quote at the beginning of the chapter, Frederick Douglass describes the brutal beating of a slave woman.  Why would a man with such absolute power over this person become angrier and angrier the more he beat her?  How does this correspond to what Fanon says about "breaking mirrors"?

When Jacqui Alexander and Mab Segrest describe the degradation of the master or the colonizer, they use terms like sleepwalking and anesthesia.  What are they saying about the cost of oppression for the oppressor?

What price do hardened men pay for their power over women?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Before he commenced whipping Aunt Hester, he took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist, leaving her neck, shoulders, and back entirely naked. Then he told her to cross her hands. . . . 'Now, you damned bitch, I’ll learn you how to disobey my orders!' . . . The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped the longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin."

—Frederick Douglass

"When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, 'What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!' For Jesus had said to him, 'Come out of this man, you impure spirit!'

"Then Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?'

“'My name is Legion,' he replied, 'for we are many.'”

—Mark 5:6–9

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Chapter 15 - Genealogy


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 15, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.

The Reformation
The wars of religion
Nation-state
Monetary accumulation
Acquisitive individualism


Discussion questions

After another pass through the psychology of power, this chapter whiplashes us back into the stream of history.  Chapter 15 serves as the fulcrum between the foregoing chapters and the subsequent chapters.  While we have scuttled back and forth between the history of war, sex, and church and the psychology of war and sex to open a window on the periods leading to the sixteenth century with Western civilization and the Western church, Chapter 15 begins an examination of the pivotal period called The Enlightenment and the epoch called modernity with which we are still living.  According to this chapter, how did the practice of war begin to shift the relationship of church to political power?

Do you believe that philosophers form their historical periods or reflect the conditions of those periods?  Using examples from this chapter, explain your answer.

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"It is as easy to disentangle these remote causations as to tell at a river’s mouth which waters come from which glaciers and from which tributaries."

—Jacques Maritain

"Not surprisingly, given the traditional prominence of warfare for masculine prestige, an updated and idealized version of the soldier provided one form of masculine claim on the nation, and vice versa."

—John Horne

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Chapter 16 - Bodies and Objects


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 16, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Incarnation
Embodiment
Cartesian doubt/anxiety
Cartesian dualism
Epistemological boundaries
Epistemological instability
Disembodied mind
Objectification/objectivity
Subjectivity
Location vertigo
Exteriorization
Empiricism
Death of nature/res extensa


Discussion questions

In this chapter, the book loops back again from the description of an important historical turning point to address the intersection of philosophy and psychology.  In particular, it focuses on epistemology, the study of how we "know," or how what we call "knowledge" is organized.  In earlier chapters, the reader encounters the idea of conceptual coordinates, or how, for example, military concepts might be mapped onto things like business or sports.  In this chapter, the reader encounters Susan Bordo's reading of philosopher and mathematician Descartes.  Can you summarize what Bordo is calling Descartes' new "epistemological boundaries"?  What might these boundaries have to do with the title of the book and the whole of the book's argument?

What is the relation between Descartes' "anxieties" and the socio-political circumstances of his own life?

How does Cartesian dualism lead to the death of a (feminized) nature?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"The notion that the world of objects and the world of subjects are separable, in any other than an analytical sense, has been an illusion from the start."

—Alf Hornborg

"Americans do not have to believe in God, because they believe that it is a good thing simply to believe: all they need is a general belief in belief. That is why we have never been able to produce interesting atheists in the U.S. The god most Americans say they believe in is not interesting enough to deny."

—Stanley Hauerwas


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Chapter 17 - Contagious Prefix


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 17, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Disembedding
Disembodiment
Disenchantment
Disaggregation
Dissolution
Modernity
Optic versus haptic
Death of nature (again)
De-skilling

Discussion questions

How might you relate the Enlightenment's accelerated exploitation of nature to the witch hunts?

How might disenchantment and disaggregation lead to the dissolution of stable communities?  What effect does the dissolution of a stable community have on personhood?

What are the relationships between war and the accelerated exploitation of the natural world?  What are the relationships between gender and the accelerated exploitation of the natural world?  Combine your answers.

How did obedience become the cardinal virtue of a modernizing Europe?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"So what did these prophets have to say to the Church . . . ? I think they had to announce a mystery, which was that the final evil that would bring the world to an end was already present. This evil was called the Anti-Christ, and the Church was identified as the milieu in which it would nest. The Church had gone pregnant with an evil which could have found no nesting place in the Old Testament. Paul in the second chapter of his second letter to the Thessalonians calls this new reality the mysterium iniquitatis, the mystery of evil. . . . The more I try to examine the present as an historical entity, the more it seems confusing, unbelievable, and incomprehensible. It forces me to accept a set of axioms for which I find no parallels in past societies and displays a puzzling kind of horror, cruelty, and degradation with no precedent in other historical epochs."

—Ivan Illich

"A crucial condition for [exclusive humanism] was a new sense of the self and its place in the cosmos: not open and porous and vulnerable to a world of spirits and powers, but what I want to call buffered."

—Charles Taylor

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Chapter 18 - Just, Civil, and Total War - The Sanctification of the State


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 18, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Capitalism (again)
Manifest Destiny
Free labor
Slavery as a commodity trade
Industrialization
Centralization

Apotheosis of the nation-state
Civil religion
Propaganda
National masculinity
Efficacy/instrumentalism
Just War theory/principles
Veteran worship
"Military necessity"
"Migration of the holy"

Discussion questions

The author jumps from Europe to the United States in this chapter.  The "autobiographical" character of the book means to trace history from Biblical times through the author's own own general ancestry as a twentieth/twenty-first  century American.  But the American Civil War is also a more general turning point in two senses:  first, it is in many respects the first, modern, industrial war; and second, it leads, as the chapter title suggests, to the "sanctification of the state."  Can you list some of the ways that the Civil War prefigures modern warfare, including how it mobilizes propaganda and patriotism?

How do questions of race, gender, and nationalism intersect in this chapter?

How did the modernizing character of war affect constructions of military masculinity?  What were some of the differences in constructions of masculinity between North and South?

To whom do you believe Christians owe our greater loyalty - to church or state?

In what ways did mass media contribute to the public's perceptions of both war and masculinity during the Civil War?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"In exploring the Civil War through moral lenses, one sees just how unprepared Americans were for such a cataclysm in the moral sense no less than the military or political. And unlike politics and military arsenals, which geared up to meet the challenge, the ability to fix a moral stance never progressed. Rather, it regressed. On all sides—clerical, political, journalistic, military, artistic, and intellectual—the historian searches in vain for moral criticism directed at one’s own cause. Talk of war certainly bristled from the pages of the secular press and civic assemblies, and statesmen, clergy, and intellectuals raged against the unjust conduct of the enemy."

—Harry S. Stout

"The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgement of those who have responsibility for the common good."

—Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, Paragraph 2309
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Chapter 19 - A Bodyguard of Lies: Girl Story and a Boy Story


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 19, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


"Public relations"/propaganda (again)
The war story
Women in combat debate
Idealization
Manipulation


Discussion questions

Why do you think the subject of propaganda taken center stage at this point in the book?  How does this relate to the last chapter on the apotheosis of the nation-state?

What was the purpose of the United States government for misrepresenting what happened to Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman?  Why didn't the same agencies of government create a heroic account for LaVena Johnson.

What is the association between a national imaginary, the national masculinity, the apotheosis of the state, and the kinds of stories that were so readily accepted by and amplified by the media?

What do the debates about Jessica Lynch say about destabilization of gender?

How did the military attempt to "cash in" on Pat Tillman's role as a professional football player to reinforce the national masculinity?

Why was there very little public outcry about the obviously misrepresented case of LaVena Johnson's "suicide"?  Describe this through the dual lens of race and gender.

What stood out for you, as a reader, about the contrast between what was reported and what actually happened with both Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman?

Why does the media seldom exercise a healthy scepticism about the government and the military?

Did the media have an actual stake in war, during the Civil War, during the latest U.S. wars?  If yes, why and how?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraph: How does the following quotation from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

—2 Timothy 2:15
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Chapter 20 - Origin Myths


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 20, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Liberalism
Hobbesian state
Origin stories
Rights-bearing individual
Rights
Abstract individual
Nature-culture dichotomy
Social contract
Sex right
Paternal to fraternal male hegemony
Couverture
Naturalization (again)
Universalization
Disembodied self
Disembedded self
Public-private dichotomy
Civil society
Alienation
Emotivism
Bureaucratic individualism
Power prior to the law
The proprietary body

Discussion questions

To follow the evolution of war and gender - both of which remain linked transhistorically, even though they change form - this chapter jumped from the "manipulative speech" of propaganda back to the political theories underwriting post-Enlightenment capitalism and the emerging capitalist state.  In what ways can you relate the ideologies represented by Hobbes, Locke, and later liberals to what MacIntyre calls the inability to differentiate between manipulative and non-manipulative relations?

What are some of the differences in the origin stories developed by Hobbes, Rousseau, Rawls, and Nozick?  What are the main similarities?

How did the fathers of liberalism manage to post a rights-bearing individual and then deny women the same rights as men?

What are some examples of power exercised "prior" to the law?  What do we mean by that?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, no culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

—Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, XXI.9

"Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property."

—John Locke, Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, 2.25

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Chapter 21 - The Paradox of Domination


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 21, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Mutuality
Recognition
Self-assertion
Fusion
Intrapsychic
Intersubjectivity
Attunement
Concordance/discordance
Medicalization
Intersubjective polarization
The strategic being
Desire for omnipotence
Objectification (again)
Vulnerability
Phallocentrism
Eurocentrism
Perversion


Discussion questions

This is the first in-depth psychological discussion of boundaries in a book named Borderline. They are psychic and symbolic boundaries, to be sure, but they are perceived as functional boundaries, and that perception includes ideas and feelings about the permeability or impermeability of those boundaries. How do Jessica Benjamin's theses on intersubjectivity relate to what you have read so far on the notion of actual, symbolic, and psychological boundaries?

Can you describe Benjamin's thesis on "the inability to sustain paradox"?

When Stoller and Hartsock use the term "perversion," what do they mean?

How does the association between sex and domination, between sex and hostility, emerge during early male development, based on the theses from Benjamin, Hartsock, and Stoller in this chapter?

How does mimesis contribute to the development of and form of desire; and how does this process reproduce not only men who associate domination with the erotic but women who associate submission with the erotic?

In what ways do women (and other people who suffer from social exclusions and oppressions) "internalize" their own oppression and begin to identify with oppressors?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"'Gender' . . . has challenged and in part overthrown the received wisdom in social, cultural, and political history. No longer can masculinity confidently be located in specifically 'masculine' contexts of work, family, and homosocial networks. Its discursive traces are to be found in every area of culture and society . . . "

—John Tosh

"Perhaps it is because this conception of the individual reflects a powerful experience . . . the experience of a paradox as painful, or even intolerable. Perhaps also, because of a continuing fear that dependency on the other is a threat to independence, that recognition of the other comprises the self. When the conflict between dependence and independence becomes too intense, the psyche gives up the paradox in favor of an opposition."

—Jessica Benjamin
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Chapter 22 - Disgust, Transgression, and Sex



Key concepts

After reading Chapter 22, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Disgust psychology
Purity codes
Feeling of rightness
Resonance
Oral incorporation
Animal reminder
Mortality reminder
Sociomoral
Contagion
Magical thinking
Contact
Dose insensitivity
Permanence
Negativity dominance
Stanford Prison Experiment
Symbolic boundary of self
Transgression and privilege


Discussion questions

How can the emotion of disgust short-circuit critical thought?

Can you discuss the paradoxical way in which the symbolic boundaries that organize disgust can both repel and attract?

How does disgust function in the process of dehumanization?

There was a story in 2014-15 about a squad of American soldiers in Afghanistan who were systematically killing Afghan civilians - a "thrill-kill squad."  In what ways do the insights of both Beck and Hartsock in this chapter shed light on this story?

There are some postmodern theorists who promote something called "transgression" as a form of political resistance.  Does the association in this chapter between transgression and privilege apply to that idea?

What are some ways that you have observed in which disgust is used in tandem with dehumanization to mobilize opposition to groups or classes of people?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Everything in life is part of it. Nothing is off in its own corner, isolated from the rest. While on the surface this may seem self-evident, the favorite conceit of male culture is that experience can be fractured, literally its bones split, and that one can examine the splinters as if they were not part of the bone, or the bone as if it were not part of the body. This conceit replicates in its values and methodology the sexual reductionism of the male and is derived from it."

—Andrea Dworkin

"Loathing for the body, in the sense that bodily needs and desires are humiliating, appears in another way in pornography in the form of the contrast between a man’s self-control and the woman’s frenzied abandon."

—Nancy C. M. Hartsock
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Chapter 23 - Respectability


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 23, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Respectability
Performance
Bourgeois
Rational masculinity
Domestic femininity
Consumption
Respectability politics
Gentility
Privatization of faith
Vernacular versus modern gender
Civilization

Discussion questions

Is respectability today still linked to consumption?  If so, in what ways are the performances of and consumption codes for respectability gendered?

In what ways were international trade linked to eighteenth and nineteenth century respectability performances?

In what ways does respectability politics correspond to fashion, then and now?

How did the Crusades lead to European consumption-respectability? (You will have to go back several chapters to answer this.)

In what ways were European respectability associated with the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"'Separate spheres' was a formula that held that adult males should dominate a family’s relationship to the outside or public world while adult women properly should take direction of the domestic world."

—Woodruff Smith

"When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'"

—Matthew 9:11

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Chapter 24 - Progress and Fear of the Feminine


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 24, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Shadow work
Housewifization
Genteel feminization
Muscular Christianity (again)
Militarism
Colonial expansion
Exteriorization
Women-nature-colonies triad
Jingoism
Nationalism
White supremacy
Eugenics
Natural theology
Racial hygiene
Core-periphery dynamic
White man's burden
Scouting
Compulsory public schools
Sports
Gun culture
Republican masculinity
Frontier masculinity
Myth of the American West

Discussion questions

Theodore Roosevelt is often cited positively today as both a conservationist and an anti-monopolist.  What are your reactions to him as an avowed white supremacist, a colonial expansionist, and a eugenicist?

Today the term "progressive" is often applied to people who are actively anti-racist and anti-imperial, even though the term originally applied to those who promoted racialized eugenics and imperial expansion.  Are there still any similarities between the early twentieth century progressive movement and today's progressives?  If so, what are they?

Can you compare and relate Mies' thesis on the three objects of metropolitan masculine conquest - women, nature, and colonies - and the language of the purveyors of early twentieth century "progressive" masculinity?

Can you list and describe the ways that state, church, and white upper-class civil society discourse in the early twentieth century United States promoted the idea that the U.S. was The Providential Nation . . . the "city on the hill," that had a civilizing mission among "dark" and "backward" peoples?  Is this still part of our public discourse?

Why is part of this chapter called "the fear of the feminine"?

How many of the ideas that emerged during this period are still operating in American culture?  Explain.

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?

Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"The man must be glad to do a man’s work, to dare and to endure and to labor; to keep himself, and to keep those dependent upon him. The woman must be the housewife, the helpmeet of the homemaker, the wise and the fearless mother of many healthy children. . . . When men fear work or fear righteous war, when women fear motherhood, they tremble on the brink of doom; and well it is that they should vanish from the earth."

—Theodore Roosevelt

"If politics . . . were reshaped in part by new norms of masculinity, war (to adapt Clausewitz’s dictum) became masculinity by other means."

—John Horne

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Chapter 25 - Shell Shock


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 25, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Fordism
Taylorism
Nihilism
Hysteria/shell shock
Muscular Christianity


Discussion questions

How did new war technologies undermine the probative masculinity promoted by people like Theodore Roosevelt and the "muscular Christians"?  What is the relation between "honor" and "necessity of war"?

How did the Great War undermine the psychoanalytic category of "hysteria"?  How did the undermining of "hysteria" destabilize the gender regime?

In what ways did World War I contribute to masculinity being defined "for its own sake" over and against women?

In what ways did World War I contribute to the rise of nihilism?

During and after the war, what were some of the new social movements that rose up, the reactions to and against them, and how did the war contribute to post-war consumerism?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"I found him staring into the fire. He had not shaved, and his trousers were half open. I could get nothing out of him. . . . He did not appear to be ill. We agreed to let him rest, to let him stay in his billet till the battalion came out of the trenches, but the next day when everyone had gone up the line he blew his head off."

—Charles Watson, WWI veteran

"The government will . . . go on in the highly democratic method of conscripting American manhood for European slaughter."

—Emma Goldman, 1917

-------------------


Chapter 26 - Nation, Race, and Hygiene


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 26, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Public relations
Public hygiene
Racial hygiene
Production/reproduction
Eugenics
Malthusianism

Discussion questions

What was the relation between the emergence of "scientific" propaganda and "scientific" "social hygiene"?  How were these ideas associated with the idea of progress?

How did progressivism transform the female body into a "means of reproduction"?

Can you explain - as the chapter title suggests - the relation between post-war ideas about nation, race, and social hygiene?  Are there still vestiges of this association that operate in today's culture?

How does the word "borderline" in the book title relate to the early twentieth century American campaign for "better babies"?

What happens conceptually when we rename a vagina a "birth canal"?

Are we today practicing a privatized form of eugenics?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

—2 Corinthians 11:14

"Emotivism entails the obliteration of any genuine distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations."

—Alasdair MacIntyre
--------------------

Chapter 27 - The Art of Depression


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 27, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Great Depression
Dust Bowl
Fascism
Frontier masculinity (again)
Anti-hero
Film conventions
Double-consciousness


Discussion questions

What does the author mean when he writes about "the invention of homosexuality . . . and heterosexuality"?

What were some of the gendered characteristics of emerging fascism?

In post-WWI film and literature, we witness the appearance of the anti-hero, a man who still feels compelled to prove himself, even as the world seems to be losing meaning.  Men are no longer proving themselves in work or war (though violence remains a constant).  Which examples from film and literature stand out for you, and why?  Do you see any similarities between this then-new development in masculinity and representations of masculinity in art today?

How is race inscribed onto masculinity during this era?

How is Bigger Thomas different from white anti-heroes?

How did the era and the art undermine "respectable" masculinity and femininity?  Is there a sexualization of contempt for women that accompanies the re-inscription of femininity in a world where meanings seem to be disappearing?  Is there a sexualization of violent masculinity?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?

Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Never before had American men experienced such a massive and system-wide shock to their ability to prove manhood by providing for their families."

—Michael Kimmel, on the Great Depression

"No medium has contributed more greatly than the film to the maintenance of the national morale during a period featured [sic] by revolution, riot and political turmoil in other countries."

—Will Hays, President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors, 1934

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Chapter 28 - Homos and Harlots


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 28, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


New Deal
The symbolic body
Sexual "inversion"
Sexuality

Discussion questions

How did the New Deal, the perceived threat of communism, and the preparation for war affect perceptions about the male body?  About masculinity?

Why did the media conceal President Franklin Roosevelt's infirmity?

How were the bodies of black men and women portrayed respectively during this era, by propagandists and by the medical establishment?  Why were they portrayed the way they were?

Why does the author call "sexuality" a disembodied category, when bodies are so obviously involved in sex?

What is a national masculinity?

How were women portrayed as public health/national hygiene threats in this period?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Persons habitually or occasionally engaged in homosexual or other perverse sexual practices are unsuitable for military service and should be excluded. Feminine bodily characteristics, effeminacy in dress or manner, or a patulous rectum are not consistently found in such persons, but where present should lead to careful psychiatric examination. If the individual admits or claims homosexuality or other sexual perversion, he should be referred to his local board for further psychiatric and social investigation. If an individual has a record as a pervert he should be rejected."

—Mobilization Regulations for Selective Service 1–9, Section XX, Paragraph (2)h, 1940

"For what is a woman but an enemy of friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a domestic danger, delectable mischief, a fault in nature, painted with beautiful colors?"

—St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, 397 CE

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Chapter 29 -Second World War


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 29, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Abjection
Censorship
Good Asian-Bad Asian
White womanhood
Christian realism

Discussion questions

Why were images and text about genital wounds banned from the press during World War II?

How did the war undermine Jim Crow?

How did the war with Japan undermine then reconfigure American stereotypes of Japanese and Asians?

How did images of "the masculine" differ between the Allies and the Axis powers?

How - in this and other chapters - was the "protection of white womanhood" used as a propaganda tool?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"C-for-Charlie, as one man, was curious to see: to see a man die. Curious with a hushed, breathless awe. They could not help but be; fresh blood was so very red, and gaping holes in bared flesh were such curious, strange sights. It was all obscene somehow. Something which they all felt should not be looked at, somehow, but which they were compelled to look at, to cluster closer and study."

—James Jones

"Jesus actually descends right into [the] zone of death, the fallenness of the creature. His death witnessed to a mode of life, and his resurrection was an affirmation of that mode of life; a distinct way of being human was complete and full and utterly accomplished in him. His mode of life, the way he lived, was fugitive from the order of things. He cared for the poor, fed the hungry, hung out with menaces to society, refused to judge according to our measure of judgment (indeed, his judgment was against all judgment); he worked on the Sabbath, doing good and healing the sick even and especially on that day. This was his mode of life, his way of being human. And it was a threat."

—J. Kameron Carter
-------------------
Chapter 30 - Bombs, Babies, and 'Burbs


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 30, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Defense intellectuals
Technostrategic language
Collateral damage
Nuclear war
Cold War
Suburbs
Baby Boom
Keynesianism
Disney
Housewifization (again)
Smart houses
The Western
Crime fiction/noir

Discussion questions

What was the significance of Levittown?

What was the role of the Western genre in film and television in the post-war construction of white American masculinity and the national imaginary?  How were Westerns related to the cheery domestic genre exemplified by Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver?

Can you find any common thread between Carol Cohn's experience among defense intellectuals and the various forms of the Western television/film genre?

In what ways had femininity come to be viewed in the immediate post-war period as a threat to or drag on masculinity?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?

Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument?

"Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds."

—Robert Oppenheimer, upon witnessing the first atomic bomb test

"Progress is our most important product."

—General Electric tag line, 1954, delivered on television by Ronald Reagan

-------------------

Chapter 31 - The Herd


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 31, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Stockholm Syndrome
Basic Training
Dehumanization
Abjection (again)
Gender policing
Probative masculinity (again)
Colonial war
Mimesis (again)

Discussion questions

As you read this purely autobiographical chapter, what readings and ideas from earlier chapters change or enhance your understanding of this story as a story about gender?

Why does the author say that wars of occupation become race wars at ground level?

Is there a perversely spiritual element to what the author calls the "abject zone" in which thrill killing and thoughtless cruelty are embraced?  How might this relate to what you read in Chapter 9 - "Eros and War"?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument? 


"Saul replied, 'Say to David, "The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies."”

—1 Samuel 18:25

"We are the unwilling, sent by the unqualified, to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful."

—Helmet graffiti, Vietnam

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Chapter 32 - Taboo

author on left - Mogadishu, Somalia - 1993

Key concepts

After reading Chapter 32, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Weapons taboo
Women on combat
Objectification (again)
Dehumanization (again)
Fetishization (again)

Discussion questions

Based on earlier readings, can you explain the relationship between the incident with a woman in combat and the party in Georgia after the mission with the prostituted woman?

This autobiographical account happened twenty-three years after the author preceding account in Vietnam.  What parallels can you identify between the two chapters?


When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?


--------------------

Chapter 33 - Consent


Key concepts

After reading Chapter 33, in one or two sentences, describe what the following words/concepts are intended to convey.  Or, choose one word or concept and write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what the author means by it.


Consent
Structural power
Sexual entitlement


Discussion questions

The author signs off of the autobiographical aspect of the book at the beginning of this chapter with a strange story about Haiti in 1994, then abruptly shifts the narrative to the question of consent, about which he concludes there is a shortcoming in this book.  Can you explain this shortcoming?  What is the weakness in the author's overall theme that defines it?

Why do you believe some men who are otherwise committed to peace and refuse to objectify an "enemy" would continue to objectify women?

How is the notion of consent complicated by the question of structural power prior to "the moment of consent"?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?

--------------------

Chapter 34 - Clarifications


Discussion questions

Why has the question re-occurred again and again:  "Do you see this woman?"

Why is this book referred to as a "conceptual autobiography"?

How would you now summarize the book?

When you read this chapter, what does it bring to mind about the life, teachings, and example of Jesus?

Chapter epigraphs: How do the following quotations from the beginning of this chapter relate to the chapter's content or to the cumulative construction of the book's argument? 

"The violent American male is not simply a figure in American life . . . but rather the figure around which American culture is oriented."

—Marvin Severson

"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."

—1 Corinthians 13:8

7 comments:

  1. Am at "The Pope's Army" now. Will print out this guide.

    You might do a little side trip/essay on behaviorist theory, a la B.F. Skinner & Pavlov (if there isn't one in the rest of the book that I have yet to finish), and how this type of training (reflexive) relates to the inculcation of the values described herein. Training people to kill instinctively, without thought.

    Keep it up!

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    1. Thank you, Michael, as always. xo

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  2. I will definitely be buying this book Stan, thank you so much for writing it, and thank you for this guide. I've followed your work very closely since around 2001, and have had to buy multiple copies of Full Spectrum and Hideous Dream because I've handed so many copies out to friends. Some of the most thought provoking discussions I've ever read were at Feral Scholar, I hope this book will bring about some lively discourse. I hope to meet you someday, if to do nothing else but to thank you in person for enriching my intellectual and spiritual life so much throughout the years.

    Peace,

    Jack

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    1. So very much appreciate your applause, Jack, even if it more generous than I deserve. Be well.

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  3. I have a question----

    At the close of the book, you say "I have no problems with heterosexual unions that are conjugal, exclusive, and generative". Looking up the definition of the word "conjugal", it relates to marriage. Earlier in the book you talk about covenantial & contractual relations. Does a covenantial, versus a contractual relationship between two people constitute conjugal? That is, without the benefit (!) of "law". (lot of "C" words there)

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  5. Is there a PDF of your study guide? I would love to print this out!

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