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Tainted WitnessWhy We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives$
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Leigh Gilmore

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231177146

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231177146.001.0001

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Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Search for an Adequate Witness

Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Search for an Adequate Witness

(p.27) 1 Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Search for an Adequate Witness
Tainted Witness

Leigh Gilmore

Columbia University Press

Chapter one begins with Anita Hill, situates the study at the beginning of the 1990s (with roots in the 1980s) within the context of post-Reagan neoliberalism, and argues that Anita Hill’s testimony initiates a new phase in the history of discrediting women’s public accounts of agentic response to sexual harassment. The chapter goes on to theorize that sexual harassment offers a test case of how the social contract, based as it is in a public/private split, is confounded by the presence of women in the workplace as citizens, workers, professionals, colleagues, and sexual agents rather than objects. Finally, the chapter examines how race and gender migrated in relation to judgment about Hill’s and Thomas’s life stories and claims the purposeful use of racism and sexism in the hearings.

Keywords:   Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, Testimonial Network, Scandal, Racial Pornography, Life Narrative

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