Foul Play and Foul Language: Treatment, Colonialism, and Legality

February 21, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Saunders 624 Add to Calendar

“Sophisticated Treatments for Cursing Brains: A Genealogy of Tourette Syndrome” by Rex Troumbley.

For over 250 years, medical professionals have experimented with a myriad of failed attempts to treat people whose bodies/brains display sudden and uncontrollable motor and vocal tics. What is served by this continual failure and when can cursing be made into a medical disease? This presentation examines the history of Tourette syndrome and demonstrates how the writing conventions of physicians created a disease based upon literary fictions and treatments designed to make brains re-writable. I argue that this history also conditions the contemporary treatment of taboo language governance in the U.S.

“A Fictive Kinship: Ancient Hawaiians and Modern Astronomy” by Iokepa Casumbal-Salazar.

In Hawaiʻi, State laws determining land use and resource management of Mauna Kea embody the logic of settler colonialism, which centers on practices of replacement. In prioritizing the cultural imperatives of astronomy and big science through law, both science and law, in turn, operate to rationalize the settler state, while marginalizing Kanaka ʻŌiwi. Under these terms, scientific industrial development on the sacred mountain cannot be legally prohibited. This paper examines the discursive practices that authorize Mauna Kea astronomy and simultaneously appropriate and disqualify Kanaka ʻŌiwi. As an intervention in prevailing discourses that affirm rather than interrogate continued forms of colonialism, this paper offers another frame for understanding the struggle over Mauna Kea.

“The DarkNet Rises: Cyber Villains and the Otherwise Glorious Internet” by Katie Brennan.

The question of how to frame the Internet has been widely debated. However, these debates have not adequately addressed the issue of the motivations of the frames that we use. My paper addresses the issue of framing the Internet as alternately a safe and horrifyingly dangerous place. I will examine the tension between the intensity of the prosecution of supposed cyber criminals, and the utter laxity with which many businesses and government institutions approach the Internet. Why do governments prosecute individuals who expose vulnerabilities on the Internet rather than those who create the vulnerabilities? I argue that governments prefer to keep the dark side of the Internet dark to preserve a happy, business friendly framing of the Internet, while justifying increasing government intervention through the example of a few bad-apple, cyber criminals.

Event Sponsor
Political Science, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Kathy Ferguson, (808) 956-8357,,

Share by email