Category Archives: Resources

Quelque chose a changé

On standing up for oneself, I did it seriously a few days ago and it has made a difference, or meant a shift.

Key words from meditation are disturbing and set adrift.

There are many perceptions to record and many things to say, but my next long meditation will be on Maringouin, our strange lives here.

#OccupyHE

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Sur Deleuze, et sur le sujet

It is time to actually read Anti-Oedipus and the discussions of it from those days, in places like this.

Here is my Vallejo problem: my issue is psychic invasion, and I have a visceral reaction to the idea of subject shattering.

“Then that is a non-liberatory, but binding, shattering,” someone said.

What is fractured subjectivity in and for Vallejo?

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Splitting

So it is the splitting I experience. Last week’s exercise on shame (and the shame I feel comes from this) made it perfectly clear that the problem is splitting. I always have done it to some minor extent. Graduate school cured me of most of it, and Reeducation brought it back in a much more extreme form. I am withdrawn, and this is one split, and I have an introjected torturer or persecutor, and that is the other.

Now I am splitting over this paper. All my writing advice — and I do have writing advice, you must give yourself research time, you must give yourself a space of play within your ideas, you must not lose touch with your work, you should not attempt to “binge write” — is true and I need it, but the person who uses that advice has to be present. For that, one must stop the splitting. I tend to think it is better discipline that is needed but that idea exacerbates the splitting. And one must stop the splitting.

(I am still against free writing and “just writing”, by the way … I think they are forms of binge writing or busywork, and I don’t believe in bad first drafts, either. All these techniques cause me to write in circles, and the idea of rushing makes me shut down. I had my system set up long before free writing, “just writing,” and the use of alarm clocks to goad oneself into starting and stopping, came into style. Perhaps the people who advocate free writing do not keep notebooks full of notes, or logs of work, or paragraphs that come to them out of the blue on scraps of paper, I do not know. In any case, trying to free write when your actual problem is splitting will get you nowhere.)

I have been splitting, and it is important to notice this and integrate, it seems. I have to consider this further. Splitting means I turn on myself, and the reading on shame reminds us that nowadays, the perpetuation of emotional suffering is self inflicted and can therefore be stopped. I want to hold onto some fleeting visions: one, of the feeling that trauma was past or could be past, and two, of myself in the center of my life. Not pressed against the edges while some large other person flings around from the center of the room with a sledgehammer.

I want peace. I can remember what it was like not to be splitting; I remember taking really good care of myself on the one hand, but not thinking about myself at all, on the other, because this was not needed; I was present.

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Des narcissistes

Oh, mais oui, j’ai ces problèmes-là, justement.

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On some origins of self-hatred

The child would have reacted like this or something similar if enormous anxiety hadn’t paralyzed her. These children feel physically and morally helpless. There isn’t sufficient consolidation of their personalities in order to be able to protest, even if only in thought. The overwhelming authority of the adult makes them dumb and can rob them of their senses.

“The same anxiety, however, if it reaches a certain maximum, compels them to subordinate themselves like automata to the will of the aggressor, to divine each one of his desires and to gratify these; completely oblivious of themselves, they identify with the aggressor” (Ferenczi, 1933). Through identification, he disappears as a part of external reality and becomes intra instead of extra psychic. The child succeeds in maintaining the previous situation of tenderness to the [abuser] but hates herself. She now treats herself with the same sadism previously expressed by the [abuser].

When she attacks herself for not having fought harder she is demonstrating a lack of connection with her own helpless rage and is enacting a sadistic attack on herself. They behave as if they are largely id and superego and there is little ego. Modern psychoanalytic work with trauma supports Ferenczi and finds there is “little ego” during traumatic over stimulation (Davies & Frawley, 1994). Diamond (1994) elaborates on this adaptive response to trauma.

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C’est des tips volés

12 things, none of them a real solution to anything. Mostly these are about letting myself be a “good enough teacher.”

–Anonymous

1. Cancel a class. Ideally timed to a point in the term when students are cramming my office or when I know I’ll need to catch my breath. Very hard to give oneself permission to do this. But my God it helps. (This works particularly well on the quarter system.)

2. Drop an assignment — even if this departs from the syllabus, even if you’ve already started the term with a plan, if you are spending all your time grading, there’s one way to fix this, which is by giving fewer assignments. Again, hard to give oneself permission, especially mid-course but I have NEVER regretted doing this.

3. Next best thing: Convert an assignment to pass/fail.

4. Grade only with letters or, even better, with just A/B/C/D – no pluses/minuses. Helps to draw the line more clearly between an “A” and a “B.” And man o man it speeds up grading! I end up giving more As than I would, but that’s OK.

5. It feels like a total betrayal, but, depending on assignment no comments beyond those which explain the grade.

6. Assign bibliographic research — an annotated bibliography takes less time to evaluate than does an essay. You end up teaching them a lot as most have no idea how to research anything, but this is less soul killing than reading essays. Most of your teaching is done face-to-face rather than in comments. Someone else said this, which means it is not lazy of me to do it.

7. If you have a large class and can hire a grader, hire 2 — it pays so little, most students who hire themselves out as graders are doing it for the exposure to teaching upper division classes — but if you hire 2, you can split the grading 3 ways. In a 90-person class, this means that you each handle 30. 30 is much better than 45. This kind of arithmetic is important.

8. Do not meet with students outside of office hours, move office hours once or twice during the term to make schedule conflict less likely.

9. Say no to all LOR requests for a term, unless its a PhD student on the job market. I’ve never been able to see this through but it does mean in a term like that I only write LORs for the exceptional student.

10. Make the following a matter of policy: you read but do not reply to their emails. Period. All questions about grades must be made in person, after class or during office hours, no exceptions.

11. A trick, for when you are “in the weeds” and are entering a week when prepping for class is going to be hard—make your students bring questions to class, written down. Collect at the beginning of class, and spend the whole class answering the most interesting ones. This is fun, it really works — and it requires no prep beyond doing the reading yourself. I do this even when I am not “in the weeds.” Why: because it allows me to meet the students where they are. I tend to prepare way above their level and class does not go well then.

12. (related to 11) Teach from handouts made of key quotations from that day’s reading. Also, assign a question on the reading to be answered in writing before class, and organize discussion based on the answers people bring. (Make them answer in a serious way, of course, if you want this to work.)

12. (related to 11) NEVER assign material you haven’t read within the past 2 years. Generally a good rule of thumb. I should do this. I had never thought of it since I am usually assigned to teach so far out of field. But I should do it and make it a rule of thumb: also for accepting invitations to speak and write.

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Qu’est-ce que je peux faire pour MOI asteur?

…decide what this paper, which feels alien, has to do with my book, which does not.

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