Picart straddles a number of traditions as a female philosopher. As a philosopher of science, she was most influenced by the writings of Thomas Kuhn, Gaston Bachelard, Donna Haraway, and Sandra Harding. Her earliest publication in the philosophy of science traced the social construction and rhetorically farcical nature of the onset and closure of a well-known scientific controversy, which claimed to have proven the scientific veracity of homeopathy. The case was dismissed through a “ghostbusting team” led by the Randy the magician, along with a team of scientific experts from ''Scientific Nature'', and eventually led to a short-lived but vivid media war; this piece, one of four essays that were unanimously awarded the Wolfson Prize in 1991, revealed the mentorships of Nicholas Jardine, Simon Schaffer and Peter Lipton of the University of Cambridge.
While Picart has done some work on phenomenology as applied to the visual arts, much of her work as a Continental philosopher begins with roots derived from Nietzsche's critique of power, as applied to the history of philosophy, the visual arts, and literature. Several of Picart's early scholarly work on Nietzsche traces the German philosopher's ambivalent relationship with Romanticism, women and the concept of ''das weiblich'' (“the feminine”) in his philosophy. For example, her first two books, on Nietzsche and Thomas Mann – ''Resentment and the Feminine in Nietzsche's Politico-Aesthetics'' and ''Thomas Mann and Friedrich Nietzsche: Eroticism, Death, Music and Laughter''– trace the refractory evolution of Nietzsche's political philosophy in relation to his aesthetics, using the rhetorical registers of power, nature, woman and “the feminine.” These reflect the influences of Stanley Rosen, Daniel Conway, Irene Harvey, and Raymond Fleming [http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2408/Fleming-Raymond.html]. Her contribution to this discussion is in doing a genealogy of Nietzsche's own resentful ambivalences regarding women, their symbolic power, as well as their biological capability to birth. Nietzsche's own evolving personal relationship with his mother and sister (alongside other factors, such as the devolution of his own health, through the onset of syphilis) mirrors how “the feminine” figures into his political and aesthetic philosophy initially as a symbol for power and Health (''Grössegesundheit'') alongside masculine figures, eventually to become replaced by references to real women as symbols of utter decadence and sickliness.
Beyond in-depth studies of Nietzsche's writing, Picard has attempted to cross-fertilize a Nietzschean approach with other approaches. For example, her work in film criticism springs from her initial work on Nietzsche's ambivalences regarding women and the feminine, to applications of a Jungian analysis of cultural “shadows” reflected in popular films, revealing both the deepest anxieties and hopes of a specific historical period, as captured in cyborg films and films that reveal a “Frankensteinian complex.” Her first articles on this topic set the trajectory for three books: ''Remaking the Frankensteinian Myth on Film: Between Laughter and Horror'', ''The Cinematic Rebirths of Frankenstein'' and (with Jayne Blodgett and Frank Smoot) ''A Frankenstein Film Sourcebook''.
Picart's approach moves from using archival production history documents, to the evolution of scripts, to a detailed formal analysis of the final film, noting omissions and revisions, with respect to key “shadow figures” (women, minorities, cyborgs, monsters, raced and gendered hybrid figures). Her key contribution to this critical discussion has been hypothesizing a “third shadow” – often a conjunction of the female and the monstrous – which the horror genre in particular tends to treat as a scapegoat more severely than its other marginalized characters. Picart plays close attention to film genre conventions or forms, and has traced connections binding classic horror, horror-comedies, and hybrid science fiction narratives. Her work in this area was most influenced by Janice Rushing and Thomas Frentz [http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=48779], Thomas Benson [http://cas.la.psu.edu/faculty/benson.htm] and Noël Carroll.
Picart's interest in genre studies and the Gothic eventually led her to explore cinematic conventions cross-fertilizing the realms of fact and fiction, leading her to an examination of how storytelling conventions in the documentation of the Holocaust draws from classic Hollywood horror conventions, and how some contemporary horror films incorporate the Nazi-as-Monster narrative and the iconic “shower scenes” that simultaneously reference ''Psycho'' and Auschwitz. Much of her work in this area began with a systematic archival collection of global Holocaust films (documentaries, fiction, propaganda), ''The Holocaust Film Sourcebook.
From there, Picart teamed up with David Frank [http://honors.uoregon.edu/faculty/profiles/index.php?id=6], a historian and rhetorician, and Cecil Greek [http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/p/faculty-cecil-greek.php], a criminologist interested in film, to produce several articles and two books exploring two key concepts. First, Picart, with Frank, began with a look at classic and conflicted frames as applied to horror and Holocaust narratives that move across fact and fiction and that employ Gothic tropes. Picart and Frank ended with the concept of the possibility of an “ethics of reception,” possibly enabling a healthier collective “working through” (coming to terms with trauma) as opposed to “acting out” (compulsive repetition) of the trauma of the Holocaust through the way in which we frame and collectively remember this event through film. Second, Picart, with Greek, examined the possibility of a “Gothic Criminology,” which explores how “fact” and “fiction” weave across each other in rhetorical media and cinematic depictions of what is “evil” (e.g., serial killers, female serial killers, terrorists, rogue cops, among others). The first line of inquiry is influenced by Dominick LaCapra; the second, by Stanford Lyman [http://www.springerlink.com/content/w4x06644vhk26230/] and to some extent, Lonnie Athens [http://www.pbs.org/thinktank/bio_2043.htm]. The upshot of this line of inquiry is less a popular postmodern cliché, that there is no such thing as 'Truth', than that truth is complex, and is always historically, rhetorically and contextually located.
Many of Picart's published articles follow this line of argumentation concerning gender, power and depictions of monstrosity (and victimhood), while expanding out to other areas, such as law. One such example is: “Rhetorically Constructing and Deconstructing Victimhood and Agency: The Violence Against Women Act’s Civil Rights Clause,” ''Rhetoric and Public Affairs'', volume 6:1 (spring 2003). [http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/rhetoric_and_public_affairs/toc/rap6.1.html] While Picart is a feminist philosopher, her framework would be difficult to classify, as the strength of her work lies in its cross-pollination of frameworks; her article on the Violence Against Women Act, for example, combines detailed rhetorical analyses of court documents as well as media depictions of who (credible) “victims” are, based on depictions of gender, race, and class, balanced with a law and economics framework influenced by Richard Posner and an intersectional critical race theory analysis by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw. Influenced by a Jurisprudence seminar taught by Lani Guinier at the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, whom she met in 1999, as well as by the writings of Patricia J. Williams and Mari Matsuda, Picart began her own explorations of critical race theory, from her perspective as a woman of mixed heritage, neither “black” nor “white,” and as a then “resident alien” married to a Caucasian American man, while returning to a nuanced application of Nietzschean perspectivism.
Picart's exploration of her own subject-position, as a woman of mixed heritage, neither black nor white, drew her to autoethnographic studies. Perhaps the closest to an autobiography she has written is ''Travel Notes of an Insider-Outsider'', which grapples with questions like: What does it mean to be defined as a member of a specific race, especially as a “foreigner” then married to a white Anglo Saxon American male, living in the erst-labelled “salad bowl” of multicultural America? What does it mean to be characterized as a “Filipino” woman, whose mother tongue was English, and whose name reveals my lack of racial purity? What does it mean to look/be “Asian” to non-Asians and “not-quite-Asian” to “Asians”? Much of the theoretical work Picart does is rooted in lived experience, and in actually negotiating these boundaries to form creative alliances.
Many of Picart's articles deal with the concept of being an 'insider-outsider – being simultaneously inside, and outside, several cultures, or identities, or modes of identification; this is a position she began to explore, initially as a columnist for the ''Korea Times'', from 1992 to 1995. The concept of the 'insider-outsider' is an attempt to restore some sense of agency, and the leverage of power, to whatever subject position one occupies in the midst of the prevalence of so much postmodern and postcolonial malaise, and complex discussions on race and power in the U.S. Picart uses the insider-outsider approach to analyzing the pedagogy and theory of science. In other articles, Picard applies this view to aesthetics, moving across her experiences as a visual artist, dancer and academic to explore and negotiate various subject-positions.
''From Ballroom to DanceSport: Aesthetics, Athletics and Body Culture'' is an offshoot of this line of analysis, springing from her experience as a then-amateur DanceSport athlete, and winning the 2006 US Open Championship, while holding a tenured Associate Professorship. For this particular book, she collaborated with the photographer Carson Zullinger [http://www.carsonzullinger.com/], among others. Her work in autoethnography owes a great deal to Norman Denzin [http://www.webeasel.net/sites/icr/faculty/profiles/Norman_Denzin.html], Kenneth Gergen, Arthur Bochner [http://www.cas.usf.edu/communication/bochner/], Carolyn Ellis [http://www.cas.usf.edu/communication/ellis/], and H. L. Goodall, Jr.. As a dancesport athlete, specializing in cabaret dancing (a mix of ballroom, ballet and gymnastics), Picart trained, at different times, with world and national champions, such as Vivienne Ramsey [http://www.ncdance.org/Faculty.asp#Vivienne], Hanna Kartunnen and Victor da Silva [http://www.vhdance.com/], Eric Luna [http://www.ericandgeorgia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=33] and Georgia Ambarian [http://www.ericandgeorgia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=34], Shirley Johnson, Bruno Collins, and Michael Chapman, among others. Picart has had approximately 16 years of ballet training, with some training in Hawaiian, Philippine and Korean folk dances as she traveled across the Philippines, England and South Korea; she started ballroom dancing at Cambridge, England in 1991. However, she began competing at the national scene in cabaret only in 2005 and won the US Open in 2006, after being ranked second consistently with three different professional partners.
Two other notable articles are more clearly autobiographical, applying similar analysis to media representations of the Marcoses, the Philippine dictators ousted by the February Revolution in 1986, in particular the flamboyant Imelda Marcos.
Picart's work on global cinematic depictions of vampires, ''Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms: Essays on Gender, Race and Culture'' Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, May, 2009 [http://www.scarecrowpress.com/Catalog/SingleBook.shtml?command=Search&db=^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=081086696X], in collaboration with John Edgar Browning [http://lsu.academia.edu/JohnEdgarBrowning], one of her former students, continues her interests in the rhetorical constructions of “monster-talk,” a concept derived from Edward Ingebretsen[http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/ingebree/].
As more recent articles show, Picart continues her application of Nietzsche's politico-aesthetics to other inter-disciplinary pursuits intersecting with pragmatism (largely due to the influence of John J. Stuhr [http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/philosophy/faculty/stuhr.html]), critical/cultural studies, and geography.
Adapted from the Wikipedia article Caroline Joan S. Picart, under the G. N. U. Free Documentation License. Please also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
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Picart straddles a number of traditions as a female philosopher. As a philosopher of science, she was most influenced by the writings of Thomas Kuhn, Gaston Bachelard, Donna Haraway, and Sandra Harding.