Yesterday, I met Elaine Scarry at the Humanities and Public Life conference which was really cool and exciting because I’d read The Body in Pain during my first semester of my master’s program. Her talk, “Unheard Warnings: Nuclear Tyranny Requires a Sleeping Citizenry”, was based on her 2016 book Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom. The major takeaway? Nuclear weapons and governance are mutually exclusive. I won’t say more about that here but I will say that her presentation style was awesome. She was so engaging and easy to talk to and I’m so glad I got to hear that talk (and have lunch with her!). We talked a bit about how academics in the humanities can address the population’s indifference to the threat of nuclear war. She said we’ve got to wake people up. I said we need to get academics in the humanities to be scholar activists. I recognize some problems with this suggestion. I have to think more about how to promote scholar activism in the humanities without alienating traditional, research-focused academics. 

Recommended Reading