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Stepping Up

 Brown Alumni Magazine July/August 2011


When I was a student at Brown, I did not care about shoes. My friends and I were oblivious to fashion trends, except when it came to critical and feminist theory. We knew Adorno instead of adornment, de Beauvoir rather than de la Renta, the "epistemology of the closet" instead of shopping for our closets. 

I recall during my first semester looking around the Intro to Semiotics lecture hall and noticing that just about everyone, professor included, wore Birkenstocks or Doc Martens. Fresh out of yeshiva day school, I'd never seen either type of shoe. Birkenstocks perplexed me—who'd ever heard of wearing socks with sandals? And the heavy black Oxfords—signifier of tough working-class Brits and privileged, radical-wannabe American college students—were hideously clunky. But I needed new shoes, and Marxist-ugly seemed more functional in New England than hippie-ugly. ...


Continue reading at Brown Alumni Magazine.