Sarah Schulman: Conflict is not Abuse
Wednesday, October 18 | 7 PM
Presented in cooperation with Trinity College.
The author will read from and sign copies of her new book, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair.
On Thursday, October 9, the Trinity College Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies will present “Conflict is Not Abuse,” a workshop with Sarah Shulman, part of their Bridging Divides series.
About Sarah Schulman
Sarah Schulman is a novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and AIDS historian, and the author of eighteen books. A Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, Sarah is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, and on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace.
See: In Conversation With Sarah Schulman: “They’re Being Taught That Control Is Freedom” at Autostraddle.
About Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair
From intimate relationships to global politics, Sarah Schulman observes a continuum: that inflated accusations of harm are used to avoid accountability. Illuminating the difference between Conflict and Abuse, Schulman directly addresses our contemporary culture of scapegoating. This deep, brave, and bold work reveals how punishment replaces personal and collective self-criticism, and shows why difference is so often used to justify cruelty and shunning. Rooting the problem of escalation in negative group relationships, Schulman illuminates the ways cliques, communities, families, and religious, racial, and national groups bond through the refusal to change their self-concept. She illustrates how Supremacy behavior and Traumatized behavior resemble each other, through a shared inability to tolerate difference.
This important and sure to be controversial book illuminates such contemporary and historical issues of personal, racial, and geo-political difference as tools of escalation towards injustice, exclusion, and punishment, whether the objects of dehumanization are other individuals in our families or communities, people with HIV, African Americans, or Palestinians. Conflict Is Not Abuse is a searing rejection of the cultural phenomenon of blame, cruelty, and scapegoating, and how those in positions of power exacerbate and manipulate fear of the “other” to achieve their goals.
"With awesome brilliance and insight, Sarah Schulman offers readers new strategies to intervene on all relations of domination both personal and political. The core of this book provides ways to think and move beyond blaming and/or assuming victimhood -- so that each of us may come to understand the role we assume in creating and sustaining conflicts in all our relations. Sharing myriad ways, critical vigilance can help us all understand that conflict need not be viewed as abuse, that essential distinctions may be made between the hurt we experience in conflict and the violence of abuse, Schulman offers a vision of mutual recognition and accountability that liberates."
"It's impossible to be invested in the world and not be invested in this groundbreaking and challenging book. From a position of artist and social critic, Sarah Schulman gives us a detailed and considered reading of some of our most overly determined and venomous conflicts. Conflict Is Not Abuse is a book to interrogate, ponder, and discuss."
"Schulman's book could not have come at a better time ... Conflict is a balm against comforting explanations for violence and abuse, ones we know aren't true, just easy."