Dedicated Followers of Fashion

I'm pissed off and disillusioned.

Academics like fashion just as much as the rest of us. Fads and fashions exist in every discipline, from economics to physics to history to I don't know what. I happen to think that this is a terrible thing; in some disciplines, if you're not working on the most fashionable idea, getting funding is hard. (Witness the funding of string theory relative to other theories of quantum gravity - although I think it's running out of steam, which frankly is a good thing.) I can't see this as anything but an obstruction to potentially good ideas in any discipline.

I am angry. I am angry because this desire to follow fads and fashions extends to spaces like feminist theory and queer theory - spaces which are ostensibly about understanding and unpicking institutionally oppressive systems, at least to my limited understanding. Instead, when funding is denied for less fashionable but still important projects while fashionable if, say, ableist projects have money lavished upon them, it feels like spaces which advertise themselves as challenging oppression are instead reinforcing it. This is without going into how these spaces harbour manipulative people. I know money is not infinite (although honestly, it's a completely arbitrary exchange mechanism), but I feel like spaces which are supposed to be outwards-looking are still incredibly enclosed; think of how much privilege it takes to be able to navigate the academic maze.

Please actually listen to us when we tell you to consider the perspectives of marginalised people, even if they aren't fashionable.