Teaching WMST While Male


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I was asked by Laurenn McCubbin, the curator of the show Feminist/Las Vegas which opened at the Barrick Museum last night, to write a presentation for the opening reception of the exhibition. The show is intended as a reaction to the casual sexism that is the bread-and-butter of Vegas tourism and nightlife. Since my interaction as a feminist with Las Vegas occurs first and foremost in the classroom, I decided to write about being a male Women’s Studies professor, and how that effects both my students perceptions of me and the rest of my day-to-day life. This, then, minus any on-the-fly edits I might have made in the performance, is what I ended up saying.

I hear a gasp behind me as I step through the cluster of waiting students and unlock the classroom door. Up until just that moment, I was just some guy, another student maybe, or some other professor. But when I step up to the door and swipe my key card, it comes clear: I’m the professor. The Women’s Studies professor.

The dude Women’s Studies professor.  [Continue reading] »

New Prices for “Don’t Be Stupid”

I’ve lowered prices for both paperback and e-book copies of my book Don’t Be Stupid: A Guide to Learning, Studying, and Succeeding at College!

Paperback copies are not only $14.00 US (previously $17.00) and the PDF version is now only $10.00 US (previously $14.00). A version formatted specifically for Kindle is also available for $9.99 from Amazon.


Discovering the Male Gaze

Cover Girl (film)

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One of my former students sent me a link to an article he’d come across recently called “Worthless Women and the Men Who Make Them”. The post, written on a “daddy blog” called Single Dad Laughing is a few months old and, judging from the over 1800 comments, almost all hyperbolically positive, spoke to a lot of people, men and women. The author, Dan Pearce, argues that the biggest force keeping women down and making them feel bad about themselves is the unreasonable expectations men place on women about their bodies and appearance, expectations that women can never live up to leading to feelings of worthlessness. Having made his case, Pearce calls on men to change the way we look at women, to celebrate women for their individual beauty rather than for their conformity to an impossible, marketing-driven ideal. And he calls on women to help us out.

Which is where it all goes terribly wrong.

But hold that thought for a minute and let’s talk about the central argument about the way men look at women. Basically, Pearce has discovered the male gaze. A key aspect of feminist theory, the male gaze reflects the way that male power is brought to bear on women through the disciplining of the female body. Essentially, men look and women are looked at – and so it behooves women to be what men want to look at, since that gives them some modicum of power in a male-dominated world.  [Continue reading] »

“Don’t Be Stupid” Now Available on Kindle!

Don't Be StupidMy book Don’t Be Stupid: A Guide To Learning, Studying, And Succeeding At College is now available on Amazon’s Kindle, and for only $9.99! Although I’ve been planning on “eventually one-day when I have time” reformatting the file for the Kindle, it wasn’t until my family gave me a Kindle for Christmas last year (thanks, everyone!) that I got really motivated to do the work.

See, the Kindle is, in a word, great. I say that as a guy with more than a thousand ink-and-paper books stuffed into his apartment. There are 7 bookcases in my living room! I love traditional books — but I love my Kindle, too. I love that I can load it up with books and read whatever I happen to be in the mood for wherever I happen to be, instead of making the fraught choice of which of the 5 or more books I’m currently reading to put in my bag when I leave home in the morning. I love that I can instantly grab a sample or even the full text of a book I decided I wanted to look at (so long as I’m in a wifi area, which these days isn’t asking much). And I love that I can search and annotate and look things up and do all the other stuff that electronic text makes possible.

I won’t give up regular paper books — I have a stack of about 20 on my sofa right now waiting to be read. But the Kindle is really convenient, and I think it’s perfect for students who need to carry three, four, or more books with them at any time. And I’m all about making life easier for students.

Check it out: Don’t Be Stupid: A Guide To Learning, Studying, And Succeeding At College

A little New Orleans street jazz. Listen to her BLOW!

Click here to download:

NOLA_Street_Jazz.wmv (55273 KB)

Posted via email from Dustin M. Wax

“Day of the Dead” Show at Blackbird Studios

"Day of the Dead" Show at Blackbird ...
Image by dustin_wax via Flickr

Museum-ing with Dustin

Abe Vigoda as Pre-Columbian artifact

Image by dustin_wax via Flickr

Going on three months ago now, my life took a drastic turn (for the better!). After several years of struggling along as an adjunct professor and freelance writer (financially rewarding, creatively deadening…) I stumbled into a job as the registrar of the UNLV Barrick Museum. Having worked in museums before, done a fellowship at the Smithsonian as part of my dissertation research, and taken museum studies courses as electives in grad school, I clearly had hopes of one day working in a museum, but given the paucity of museums in Las Vegas I hadn’t thought that “one day” would come along so soon! [Continue reading] »

Today Is My 10th Anniversary as a Blogger

Bulle champagne

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I started blogging on November 2nd of 2000 with a carefully crafted analysis of supreme court nominations by previous presidents, in response to anti-Nader campaigning that promised Nader supporters that their support would spell the end of abortion rights in the US. That post has been lost to history (and a bad webhosting service); the oldest post I still have (Sierra Club Goes Anti-Green) was written the following day, again as a defense of the Nader campaign.

2000 was the very dawn of the blogging era — as far as I know (or knew at the time), there was not yet such a thing as “blogging software”, and certainly nothing as elegant as WordPress. Over the years, this blog (originally called “One Man’s Opinion” until that issue with the bad webhosting service allowed my domain to slip away from me) has moved from a collection of hand-coded HTML pages (what a PAIN!) to Bloxsom to Pivot to Drupal and finally to WordPress as of earlier this year. From the beginning, it’s been not just a place to express myself but also a way to explore the latest web technologies, from early third-party commenting and blogrolling services to today’s Twitter integration and WordPress themes and plug-ins. Along the way I’ve learned basic web design principles, a smattering of Javascript and PHP, and of course HTML 4 and CSS. [Continue reading] »

Review of Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War in Critique of Anthropology

After a year-and-a-half, Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War has finally gotten reviewed in an academic journal. Dr. Heonik Kwon, author of several books and articles about the wars in Vietnam and Korean, as well as the forthcoming Columbia University Press book The Decomposition of the Cold War, writes in Critique of Anthropology:

Wax and other contributors to the volume should be congratulated not only for telling their colleagues about anthropology’s hidden past during the early Cold War, but also for opening a new way to investigate the shape of the Cold War political-intellectual complex.

It’s a positive review overall (yay!) although Kwon does highlight an unfortunate omissions, the role of the Korean War. I had actually wanted to include something about the Korean War, but hadn’t found the person to write it. One question that really interests me is how the essentially 12-year-long military extraction of men from the US population affected the gender balance of the US academy (and particularly the social sciences) — whether it opened the way for more women (as the late Mike Salovesh once suggested to me) or whether it was balanced by the increased percentage of men entering the academy through the GI Bill.

The review is at:

Heonik KwonBook Review: Dustin M. Wax ed., Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War: The Influence of Foundations, McCarthyism and the CIA. London: Pluto Press, 2008. Critique of Anthropology 2010 30: 232-233.

If you have access to SagePub (directly or through an academic database like EBSCO), you can get the PDF at Critique of Anthropology.

Whiteness as Ethnicity in Arizona’s New Racial Order

I’ve just posted a few comments on Arizona’s recent legislative attack on ethnic studies at Savage Minds. It started as a post for this site, but as I got into the argument it seemed more appropriate to post there. The nutshell version is: Traditional US history, literature, and civics classes are clearly in violation of Arizona’s new HB 2281, which prohibits courses that “promote resentment towards a race or class” or that “advocate ethnic solidarity”. In fact, the law itself, based as it is on a notion of “Americanness” that clearly excludes Americans of Hispanic origin, does both.

Read the rest at Savage Minds.