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Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus
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HarperCollins 2017
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Description

A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2017

From a highly regarded feminist cultural critic and professor comes a polemic arguing that the stifling sense of sexual danger sweeping American campuses doesn't empower women, it impedes the fight for gender equality.

Feminism is broken, argues Laura Kipnis, if anyone thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress.

A committed feminist, Kipnis was surprised to find herself the object of a protest march by student activists at her university for writing an essay about sexual paranoia on campus. Next she was brought up on Title IX complaints for creating a "hostile environment." Defying confidentiality strictures, she wrote a whistleblowing essay about the ensuing seventy-two-day investigation, which propelled her to the center of national debates over free speech, "safe spaces," and the vast federal overreach of Title IX.

In the process she uncovered an astonishing netherworld of accused professors and students, campus witch hunts, rigged investigations, and Title IX officers run amuck. Drawing on interviews and internal documents, Unwanted Advances demonstrates the chilling effect of this new sexual McCarthyism on intellectual freedom. Without minimizing the seriousness of campus assault, Kipnis argues for more honesty about the sexual realities and ambivalences hidden behind the notion of "rape culture." Instead, regulation is replacing education, and women's hard-won right to be treated as consenting adults is being repealed by well-meaning bureaucrats.

Unwanted Advances is a risk-taking, often darkly funny interrogation of feminist paternalism, the covert sexual conservatism of hook-up culture, and the institutionalized backlash of holding men alone responsible for mutually drunken sex. It's not just compulsively readable, it will change the national conversation.

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Street Date:
04/04/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062657886
ASIN:
B01LYS5X4O
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APA Citation (style guide)

Laura Kipnis. (2017). Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Laura Kipnis. 2017. Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Laura Kipnis, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. HarperCollins, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Laura Kipnis. Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. HarperCollins, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic and a professor at Northwestern University, where she teaches filmmaking. She is the author of six previous books, including Against Love: A Polemic and Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and Yaddo, among others, and has written for Slate, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Bookforum. Her essay "Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe" was included in The Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen. She lives in New York and Chicago.

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shortDescription

A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2017

From a highly regarded feminist cultural critic and professor comes a polemic arguing that the stifling sense of sexual danger sweeping American campuses doesn't empower women, it impedes the fight for gender equality.

Feminism is broken, argues Laura Kipnis, if anyone thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress.

A committed feminist, Kipnis was surprised to find herself the object of a protest march by student activists at her university for writing an essay about sexual paranoia on campus. Next she was brought up on Title IX complaints for creating a "hostile environment." Defying confidentiality strictures, she wrote a whistleblowing essay about the ensuing seventy-two-day investigation, which propelled her to the center of national debates over free speech, "safe spaces," and the vast federal overreach of Title IX.

In the process she...

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Unwanted Advances
fullDescription

A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2017

From a highly regarded feminist cultural critic and professor comes a polemic arguing that the stifling sense of sexual danger sweeping American campuses doesn't empower women, it impedes the fight for gender equality.

Feminism is broken, argues Laura Kipnis, if anyone thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress.

A committed feminist, Kipnis was surprised to find herself the object of a protest march by student activists at her university for writing an essay about sexual paranoia on campus. Next she was brought up on Title IX complaints for creating a "hostile environment." Defying confidentiality strictures, she wrote a whistleblowing essay about the ensuing seventy-two-day investigation, which propelled her to the center of national debates over free speech, "safe spaces," and the vast federal overreach of Title IX.

In the process she uncovered an astonishing netherworld of accused professors and students, campus witch hunts, rigged investigations, and Title IX officers run amuck. Drawing on interviews and internal documents, Unwanted Advances demonstrates the chilling effect of this new sexual McCarthyism on intellectual freedom. Without minimizing the seriousness of campus assault, Kipnis argues for more honesty about the sexual realities and ambivalences hidden behind the notion of "rape culture." Instead, regulation is replacing education, and women's hard-won right to be treated as consenting adults is being repealed by well-meaning bureaucrats.

Unwanted Advances is a risk-taking, often darkly funny interrogation of feminist paternalism, the covert sexual conservatism of hook-up culture, and the institutionalized backlash of holding men alone responsible for mutually drunken sex. It's not just compulsively readable, it will change the national conversation.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Jennifer Senior, New York Times
      • content:

        "Unwanted Advances is necessary. Argue with the author, by all means. But few people have taken on the excesses of university culture with the brio that Kipnis has." — Jennifer Senior, New York Times

        "Laura Kipnis is a hero. She has written a book that will benefit many while bring all kinds of grief upon her." — Huffington Post

        "A wry, pragmatic analysis....The greatest pleasure Unwanted Advances affords comes from Kipnis' keen sense of human psychology." — BookForum

        "It is precisely the gray where Kipnis summons her strongest stroke, swimming the murkiest depths of our sexual psyches...Even if the current is choppy and the shore miles off, the journey seems more important than ever, and one feels grateful to tread behind her." — Salon.com

        "Gripping.... Unwanted Advances is a clarion call for both men and women to recognize the reality of female autonomy that feminism has always argued for, and that today's campus culture threatens to eclipse." — Tablet

        "Clarity of expression and the uncompromising vehemence of her thoughts make Kipnis the best polemical investigator writing today, which both sells her short and raises an unexpected question: how come reading her, however uncomfortable or complex the subject, is always such a tremendous pleasure?" — Geoff Dyer, author of White Sands

        "Laura Kipnis has written a brave, disturbing, yet scrupulously fair book: a brilliant and pragmatic manifesto for a kind of 'adult' feminism that rejects the campus cult of female victimhood." — Terry Castle, author of The Professor

        "...Kipnis is everything the academic bureaucrats she writes about are not: brave, honest, judicious, mature, and self-aware, with a seasoned understanding of both sexual politics and campus politics. She has struck a mighty blow for sanity, equality, and academic freedom." — William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep

        "...[C]hilling, shocking, meticulously reported, eminently readable, and in places perversely hilarious...most of all it is a crucial piece of a burgeoning conversation about threats to free speech and intellectual freedom on college campuses...Kipnis's voice is as clarion as her insights are astute." — Meghan Daum,, author of The Unspeakable

        "Laura Kipnis's new book is a revelation: a great work of investigative journalism and a thorough examination of a case that feels like it couldn't happen in America... Kipnis makes you fear for a whole new set of reasons." — Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men

        "This book is harrowing; this book is hilarious (like Dorothy Parker channeling Franz Kafka); but the main thing it is is BRAVE. On top of which, it is urgently necessary." — Lawrence Weschler, author of Waves Passing in the Night

        "I loved reading [Unwanted Advances]...force[s] readers to really consider their position and to see if they can fully defend it, or at least to think beyond feminist platitudes...a persuasive and valuable contribution to the continuing debate over how to deal with sexual assault on college campuses." — Jill Filipovic, New York Times Book Review

        "[Kipnis] has written a book about sexual paranoia on the American campus, Unwanted Advances. Which happens to be rather brilliant." — Independent (UK)

        "....riveting read...,Unwanted Advances is a bracing book, its message delivered with fierce intelligence and...

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 13, 2017
        In this courageous, thought-provoking polemic, Kipnis (Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation), a feminist cultural critic and professor at Northwestern University, targets the overzealousness of Title IX investigations on college campuses and shows how they’re undermining academic freedom, free speech, and gender equality. After being at the center of a 72-day Title IX investigation herself (the author was accused of creating a “hostile environment” on campus following the publication of her essay on sexual paranoia in the Chronicle of Higher Education), Kipnis uncovered a “netherworld of accused professors and students, rigged investigations, closed-door hearings, and Title IX officers run amok.” The book focuses on one investigation of a well=known philosophy professor at Northwestern University, but Kipnis draws in numerous other examples to highlight the current climate of “criminalization” of sex on campus due to the 2011 expansion of Title IX’s mandate to encompass sexual misconduct. The guidelines for this are vague, leading to unfair trials where investigators aren’t accountable to anyone. She argues for more honesty about the sexual realties on campuses. Without diminishing the gravity of sexual assault, Kipnis’s readable and judiciously reported work illustrates how the “sex-as-danger preoccupation on campuses now” is infantilizing women rather than empowering them. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2017
        An argument for how the "recent upheavals in sexual culture on American campuses" are symptomatic of "officially sanctioned" sexual paranoia and hysteria.Kipnis (Filmmaking/Northwestern Univ.; Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation, 2014, etc.) examines the sexual culture shift among millennial university students within an increasingly bureaucratized academic system. She argues that although sex culture today outwardly vaunts women's choice to be as libertine as they wish, the reality is much more complex. Many women are using--and in Kipnis' view, abusing--Title IX legislation designed to prevent sex discrimination in education as a way to "remedy sexual ambivalences or awkward sexual experiences, and to adjudicate relationships post-breakup." Drawing on documented Title IX cases, interviews, and her own experiences, Kipnis delineates a world in which "witch hunt conditions" are now the new campus norm. In one case, a troubled female undergraduate used Title IX to take aim at a respected male professor, Peter Ludlow, at Northwestern. The student, Eunice Cho, alleged that he forced her to drink and submit to unwanted groping, two actions Cho claimed led to her suicide attempt. The episode, which later included accusations of improper behavior from a female graduate student who had been Ludlow's lover, transformed his image into a rapist who used his power and personal charisma to target "vulnerable young women." The author's trenchant yet witty analysis reveals how the entrance of university administrators, each with his or her own agendas and vendettas, rendered a complex situation even murkier and more byzantine. Not only did the outcome--which included Ludlow's dismissal--reinforce stereotypical ideas about males as sexual predators and females as their prey. It also strengthened traditional ideas that women were victims with no agency of their own. Though the narrative occasionally reads like an academic gossip column, it never diminishes the problem of campus sexual assault, and the author reveals disturbing trends in university culture that merit further conversation. As in all her books, Kipnis is consistently provocative and intelligent.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2017

        A cultural critic and feminist, Kipnis (Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation) found herself the subject of student protests and a Title IX investigation after writing an article about "sexual paranoia" at Northwestern University. This book functions partly as a response to her experience and partly as an overall examination and critique of the current dialog around sexual assaults on school campuses. She states that a stifling sense of hysteria sets feminism and gender progression many steps back rather than furthering them. Unfortunately, this book's content and tone often feel in conflict. While there are indeed criticisms to be made of the bureaucratic implementations of Title IX and of the often-conflicting messages of modern activists, those criticisms marry poorly with Kipnis relating anecdotes of her own mother fending off a professor who chased her around a desk, and then pondering why modern women can't show that much "agency." VERDICT Kipnis writes sharply and presents valid points, but they're hamstrung by the text's tendency to drift into statements that sound uncomfortably close to excusing the mind-sets and behaviors that allow sexual assaults to continue.--Kathleen McCallister, Tulane Univ., New Orleans

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2017
        Title IX, the 1972 federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs that receive government financial support, has been both a boon and, intrepid cultural critic Kipnis (Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation, 2014) posits, a bane to institutions of higher education. From the hookup culture that permeates dating to a hypervigilance regarding student-professor relationships, there exists on college campuses a heightened awareness of sexual behavior. After writing an essay about what she terms a sexual paranoia in academia, Kipnis found herself the target of a Title IX investigation that put her career as a respected professor and reputation as an ardent feminist at risk. Kipnis assails the ease with which these Title IX allegations can be made and exposes the onerous burden they place on the accused. In doing so, Kipnis reveals the nearly Shakespearean juggernaut of innuendo and irony, witch-hunting and revenge that is reaching epidemic proportions and hindering not only the quest for gender equality but also the pursuit of intellectual excellence. A brave, sobering, and disturbing account of the perilous state of academia.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

subtitle
Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus
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