Of Sticks and Stones, Words that Wound, and Actions Speaking Louder: When Academic Bullying Becomes Everyday Oppression

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Harry Denny


This article takes up Tyler Clementi's suicide and the "It Gets Better" YouTube campaign in response to it as occasions to complicate oppression in the context of academic workplaces.  The article distinguishes "vulgar" oppression as a mass disciplining/disciplinary mechanism (like Clementi's death and the media coverage of it and the subsequent criminal trial) from "everyday" oppression as tactics (like bullying and mobbing) workers use to leverage for power and status. The author uses his own experience with everyday academic mobbing as a cautionary tale for pre-tenure and LGBTQ faculty.

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Author Biography

Harry Denny, Institute for Writing Studies & Department of English St. John's University

Associate Professor English, Director of University Writing Center