Sunday, January 31, 2016

two things

by J J Cohen

Medievalists and others who have been following the recent discussions about Allen Frantzen and his anti-feminism, would you please read this? I want to make a special plea for two things:

(1) In the long wake of what has come to light, discussed and condemned, it is also important to keep in mind that Allen Frantzen directed or served as a reader on many dissertations, took part in many panels, published much work in volumes that featured numerous contributors, and there must be no guilt by association. Some fine people worked with him, and some of them are young in the field. Their accomplishments are impressive and belong to them alone. Do not allow the revelations of the past few weeks to take anything away from our good colleagues. They do not deserve that.

(2) Silence is not complicity. Silence is complicated. Sometimes people refrain from speaking 
because they are vulnerable. Sometimes they are traumatized. Sometimes they need time to think, time to choose their words, time even to figure out how they feel. I would ask you not to judge anyone who chooses to hold back from speaking at the current moment. It is their choice and their right.

As I just wrote to a friend, this problem has been very long in its making and will not be solved (if it is ever can really be "solved") swiftly. Slow conversation and careful thinking through of community and care are *essential* to building the kinds of structures we want to support the better futures for which most of us are yearning.

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