Mireille Miller-Young is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She teaches in the Department of Feminist Studies (“an interdisciplinary discipline that produces cutting-edge research,” offers an undergraduate major and minor, and houses “the minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer studies”). According to her university web page, Dr. Miller-Young’s “areas of emphasis” are “black cultural studies, pornography and sex work.” She appears to teach four courses: “Women of Color,” “Sexual Cultures Special Topics,” “Feminist Research and Practice,” and “Sexualities.” She holds a Ph.D. in “American History and History of the African Diaspora” from New York University. The title of her dissertation, a book version of which is forthcoming from Duke University Press, is “A Taste for Brown Sugar: The History of Black Women in American Pornography.” She has contributed to such organs as $pread, “a quarterly magazine by and for sex workers and those who support their rights,” Colorlines, a magazine with “articles concerning race, culture, and organizing,” and the New York Times, a paper that — well, you know. Dr. Miller-Young, again according to her web page, “has won several highly regarded grants and awards,” possibly for her contributions to C’Lick Me: A Netporn Studies Reader and The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure.
In other words, Dr. Miller-Young is a typical specimen of homo academicus (or perhaps I should say, mulier academica), circa 2014. The non-stop racial grievance mongering. The anaphrodisiac obsession with gutter sex. The bad prose. The cutesy nods to pop culture. The reflexive left-wing politics. The angry, intellectually nugatory posturing. It’s all a dime a dozen in the trendy precincts of the university today. Dr. Miller-Young is as dreary and predictable a representative of the low-wattage, affirmative-action branch of that enterprise as any cultural pathologist could wish for. Would you let her loose on your delicately brought-up daughter?
While you ponder that question, let me repeat that there is nothing out of the ordinary about Dr. Miller-Young. She is exactly what you can expect when you sign up for a course in the “humanities” these day. I bring her to your attention not for her intellectual or pedagogical achievements. For what has just guaranteed Dr. Miller-Young her fifteen minutes of notoriety had nothing to do with her pathetic, polysyllabic banalities masquerading as scholarship but rather her unexpected entry into what some of her ideological consoeurs refer to as “direct action.” The Santa Barbara Independent broke the story under the admirably informative title “UCSB Professor Accused of Assaulting Anti-Abortion Activist.”
That just about sums it up.