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Open for Debate

Coming to Grief: Violence, Mourning, and Interracial Intimacy

Posted on 3 December 2018 by L. Ashley Atkins

In my last piece, I defended two claims regarding the relationship of Dana Schutz to Mamie Till Mobley. The first concerned Schutz’s statement that Open Casket was undertaken through empathy with Mobley. The response among critics has been to treat this ‘claim of empathy’ as a terribly naive. I think that this is a mistake
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Open for Debate

The Empathy Defense: Emmett Till, “Open Casket,” and ‘White Empathy’

Posted on 19 November 2018 by L. Ashley Atkins

“A painting of a dead black boy by a white artist.” This is British artist Hannah Black‘s description of Dana Schutz’s Open Casket, a painting included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and one that Black has urged be destroyed. The ‘dead black boy’ is Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955,
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Open for Debate

Bullshit You Can Believe In

Posted on 5 November 2018 by Jonathan Webber

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. So begins Harry Frankfurt’s rightly celebrated essay On Bullshit, raising the important questions of precisely what bullshit is and why there is so much of it around. That sentence is particularly poignant now, three decades after it was first
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Open for Debate

Changing minds through argumentation: Black Pete as a case study

Posted on 22 October 2018 by Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Views on the efficacy of argumentation to change minds in public discourse vary widely. On the one hand, there is a long-standing tradition that emphasizes the significance of argumentation and deliberation for public and civic life (Mill, Habermas etc.), in particular in resolving disagreements and leading to consensus. On the other hand, the well-documented phenomenon
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