Privilege of Neglect


During the late summer and fall of 2017, an incident took place that initially concerned the scholarly content of a paper submitted as part of the doctoral requirements by an advanced graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. The incident took an unexpected turn when the graduate student made claims and initiated actions that apparently intimidated departmental officials. As regards the content of these claims, these officials have adopted a total wall of silence, as complete an opacity as they could enforce, on what was alleged. Regardless, without explanation, they abruptly waived certain departmental requirements for the student.

Rabinow has been informed that providing specifics of the case could involve him in legal proceedings. Since he does not know what the allegations are, he attempted for a year to proceed on grounds of collegiality: no response was forthcoming.

Concurrently, he decided to proceed to a conceptualization of the events, since, regardless of whatever the minutiae of this case may be (if they are ever to be revealed), many other colleagues and students at Berkeley and around the world have described parallel incidents.

His thoughts about the “Privilege of Neglect” are the product of that effort; he discusses the topic in the essay “Contemporary Counter-Conduct.”

In the fall of 2018, Rabinow began exploring what other media exists—comic books, You Tube animated video, etc.— that would protect him from further Star Chamber proceedings within the university yet provide him an outlet for one version of events.

Hence, again, a rationale for this website.

Freedom of speech and expression outside the academy.