Essay abstract: The ‘objective’ courtroom and the ‘subjective’ elevator: Conflict of narrative surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh hearing

My essay began with the recent Brett Kavanaugh hearing as a case study, detailing how dominant institutions such as legislation, in their attempt to remain objective and rational, fail to encompass valid subjective or emotional narratives. I looked at two recent hearings such as the Anita Hill and William Kennedy Smith cases of 1991 to give examples of the conflict between legislation and the subjectivity of assault victims. I then looked at the elevator that Jeff Flake (one of the senators voting in the Kavanaugh nomination) was cornered in by two activists who shared their own stories of sexual assault, arguing that this represented a necessary creation of democratic space that accommodates emotional subjectivity, accounting for the gaps left by legal institutions. The essay was in this way a look into the conflict both between objective and subjective narrative, and also public and private space.

Essay Abstract

My essay was written on the sub-theme of conflict with a basis in the discipline of Geography. I chose to examine to what extent the Parisian subway is a public space, in the sense that it welcomes every individual equally. To do so, I talked about gendered spaces, and how women do not always have the same right to the city as men, or in this case the same right to use the tube. The case-study highlighted a three-dimensional conflict in the use of the Parisian subway: a conflict in the use of the concept of public space to talk about the Parisian underground; a conflict between men and women in their use of the subway; and an internal conflict in women’s head when choosing to use public transports.