Unhappy Solutions: Enduring the Cycle of Institutional Violence From 1972 to the Bi-Co Strike
Haverford College. Department of Philosophy
Place of Publication
The Charles Schwartz Memorial Prize in Philosophy
Table of Contents
Walter Benjamin highlights two kinds of violence, mythic and divine, in his Critique of Violence, which sets up a foundation to further explore how linear temporality affects our recognition of violence. Looking at the insurmountable violence that people of color have endured over the past year, from COVID-19 Asian hate-crimes to the murders of Black, unarmed men and women, this thesis explores how we recognize and solve violence according to a linear temporality. However, I argue that this systemic and institutional violence is actually a cycle that must be solved with non-linear solutions, since violence can only recognize itself, an idea stemming from Frantz Fanon. Inspired by Sarah Ahmed, I argue that unhappiness is a non-linear solution that might help to recognize violence as a cycle, therefore alleviate it accordingly. The Bi-Co Strike serves as a personal and philosophical example of how institutional violence is a cycle, as the 1972 Strike at Haverford College highlights the repetitive nature of violence demonstrating that linear solutions do not work. This thesis is an acknowledgement of my own frustration, confusion, and complicity in orienting myself towards the future and towards happiness. This thesis is not a critique of the legal system and the violence that we have endured over the past year, but is a critique of our orientation towards order, towards clarity, to change, and (un)happiness.
Kylie Woo was a Bryn Mawr College student.