The Year's Work in Nerds, Wonks, and Neocons

The Year's Work in Nerds, Wonks, and Neocons

The Year's Work in Nerds, Wonks, and Neocons

The Year's Work in Nerds, Wonks, and Neocons

Synopsis

What happens when math nerds, band and theater geeks, goths, sci-fi fanatics, Young Republican debate poindexters, techies, Trekkies, D&D players, wallflowers, bookworms, and RPG players grow up? And what can they tell us about the life of the mind in the contemporary United States? With #GamerGate in the national news, shows like The Big Bang Theory on ever-increasing numbers of screens, and Peter Orzsag and Paul Ryan on magazine covers, it is clear that nerds, policy wonks, and neoconservatives play a major role in today's popular culture in America. The Year's Work in Nerds, Wonks, and Neocons delves into subcultures of intellectual history to explore their influence on contemporary American intellectual life. Not limiting themselves to describing how individuals are depicted, the authors consider the intellectual endeavors these depictions have come to represent, exploring many models and practices of learnedness, reflection, knowledge production, and opinion in the contemporary world. As teachers, researchers, and university scholars continue to struggle for mainstream visibility, this book illuminates the other forms of intellectual excitement that have emerged alongside them and found ways to survive and even thrive in the face of dismissal or contempt.

Excerpt

It says a lot about your intellectual life if you remember being pushed around for wearing glasses and reading books as a kid—or if you remember pushing around kids who wore glasses and read books. Such persecutions may have faded to a distant memory or persist as a lingering ordeal. But what was the appeal—or the pathology—of glasses and books in the first place? Perhaps you were a Young Republican and flourished on the debating club; perhaps you were the manager for the varsity sports team, more comfortable with a clipboard than a sports bra or jockstrap. Were these expressions of social belonging (or nonbelonging), or were they active interests, ruling passions that comprised the very lifeblood of intellectual existence? Band and theater geeks, lab rats, wallflowers, bookworms, math nerds, goths, sci-fi fanatics, rpg players: the typology of adolescent outcasts reveals a variety of intellectual subclasses that form part of the basic landscape of school-age flora and fauna, a cross-fertilization of patterns of socialization and patterns of intellectualism. But what can it tell us about intellectual life more broadly? What happens to such ruling passions, for instance, when the kids grow up, go to college, and find work? The Year’s Work in Nerds, Wonks, and Neocons takes seriously the kinds of thinkers—and ruling passions—often marginalized or considered simply too weird, too annoying, or too divisive to be considered as “real” public forms of intellectualism. Nerds, wonks, and neoconservatives have much to tell us . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.