The Oberlin Review

Scholars of Japanese literature convened in Oberlin last weekend for a conference on “Violence, Justice, & Honor in Japan’s Literary Cultures.”

Japanese Literature Sheds Light on Issues of Violence

February 23, 2018

The two-day annual conference of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies was themed “Violence, Justice, & Honor in Japan’s Literary Cultures” this year. Panel topics ranged from written Japanese literature, manga comics, gaming, and photography, among various other forms of visual art, all revolving around the theme of violence. “Minds are brutal places,” said Norma Fields, University of Chicago Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies and East Asia...

Controversial Events Must Be Met with Reason

Roger Copeland, Professor of Theater and Dance

May 8, 2015

To the Editors: I’m writing to address both of the letters the Review published last week in response to my earlier comments about the generic distinction between “speech” and “violence” (“Violence Requires Multiple Definitions” and “Silencing Survivors Results in Violence,” The Oberlin Review, May 1, 2015). My colleague Jade Schiff argues that the difference between speech and violence is not as absolute as I maintain. She writes, “Constitutionally protected speech can indeed be violent but not in the same way that rape, sexual assault and related offenses are violent.” If Professor Schiff is merely arguing that speech can be both hateful and hurtful, I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, one of the ...

Violence Requires Multiple Definitions

Jade Schiff, Assistant Professor of Politics

May 1, 2015

To the Editors: Violence, sexual and otherwise, afflicts Oberlin as it does colleges and universities around the world, and our community needs to address it vigorously. But we won’t be able to do so effectively unless we know what we are talking about when we talk about violence. I’m not always sure that we do. My colleague, Professor Copeland, responded forcefully last week to a previous letter objecting to Christina Hoff Sommers’ campus visit (“Free Speech Not Equivalent to Violence,” The Oberlin Review, April 24, 2015). In particular, he took issue with this line: “Her talk is happening, so let’s pull together in the face of this violence and make our own space to support each other” (“In Respon...

Free Speech Defenders Underestimate Power, Violence of Language

Cyrus Eosphoros, Columnist

May 1, 2015

An awful lot of problems spring from one question: Does speech do harm comparable to physical injury? Roger Copeland’s letter to the editors (“Free Speech Not Equivalent to Violence,” The Oberlin Review, April 24, 2015) has given us one side. I disagree with him. But beyond that, I’m worried about a miscommunication that might destroy our ability to have this debate. Most people can recognize that verbal threats are a promise of impending violence. However, the standard conception of what qualifies as a threat is absurdly narrow. “I am going to do this thing to you” reads as a threat. Without personal experience to inform someone’s judgment, what about another expression of violence? Throwing things...

Free Speech Not Equivalent to Violence

Roger Copeland, Professor of Theater and Dance

April 24, 2015

To the Editors: I was appalled by last week’s letter to the editor, titled “In Response to Sommers’ Talk: A Love Letter to Ourselves” (The Oberlin Review, April 17, 2015). Published three days in advance of Christina Hoff Sommers’ public lecture at Oberlin, it read in part: “By bringing her to a college campus laden with trauma and sexualized violence and full of victims/survivors, the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians is choosing to reinforce this climate of denial/blame/ shame that ultimately has real life consequences on the well-being of people who have experienced sexualized violence.” Presumably, the signatories to this letter would have preferred that OCRL rescind their invitation to...

Police Racism Dehumanizes Black Youth

Aliyah Abu-Hazeem, Contributing Writer

December 12, 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, not only about the Ferguson decision, but also about the senseless violence that has been occurring across the nation. My thinking has, unconsciously, enabled my silence. I am not silent because I have nothing to say. In fact, I have much to say. Far more than this white space can hold. I was brought up on the sentiment, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” and I know that my words are impactful and will resonate with many people, especially during a time of national grieving such as this. My silence doesn’t indicate a choice not to stand in solidarity for the innumerable Black and Brown individuals’ lives that are lost on a daily basis, in a system that we cal...

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