Thou Shalt Not Remember Rape #1: Japan to Korea

I originally titled this post, “Japan to Korea: Thou Shalt Not Remember Rape”. I quickly realized, however, that the command not to remember rape is so common that over the course of this blog, I’m likely to have quite a few more posts referencing the command than referencing Japan’s government talking to Korea’s government. Moreover, writing the headline as if the important bit were the identities “Japan” and “Korea” only feeds into Japan’s odious framing that governments’ speaking to each other is much more valuable than the ability of humans to remember our own experiences generally and our rapes specifically. Newspaper-headline conventions be damned, then.

This post comes about courtesy of a wonderful website, Hyperallergic, to which our own Caine, writing the wonderful blog Affinity, just introduced me.

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The Metaphor is not the Concept

Over the course of this blog, we’ll be talking quite a bit about social theories and theory making. These theories have some similarities to scientific theories, but also some differences, so it’s worth stepping back for a moment and contemplating them. In particular, I think it’s productive to reinforce the idea that the theory is not the concept.

What is a theory? In these circles, in these uses, a theory is similar to scientific theory. It is a model used to discuss a concept or body of facts. Unlike scientific theories, social and critical theories reach their best when they explain a large body of observations and are contradicted by no repeatable, empirical observations, but they remain “theories” when they have not yet reached this pinnacle. Science has a separate category, hypotheses, for unconfirmed but educated speculations whose merits are debated in an academic community. Social critics? Not so much.

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