Sabían que estaban atacando a los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa

Look at this interactive exercise.


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C’est moi


I keep not posting, so I am sending myself instead. This was on Maple Street in New Orleans, 20 November 2015.


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Slavoj Žižek

Global capitalism has no problem in accommodating itself to a plurality of local religions, cultures and traditions. So the irony of anti-Eurocentrism is that, on behalf of anti-colonialism, one criticizes the West at the very historical moment when global capitalism no longer needs Western cultural values in order to smoothly function. In short, one tends to reject Western cultural values at the very time when, critically reinterpreted, many of those values (egalitarianism, fundamental rights, freedom of the press, the welfare-state, etc.) can serve as a weapon against capitalist globalization. Did we already forget that the entire idea of Communist emancipation as envisaged by Marx is a thoroughly “Eurocentric” one?

This is a smart article, and you should read it all.


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Writing group

I have an in person writing group for the first time since graduate school. Here is our plan.

Immediate goal: each have at least two scholarly articles (or one for R. and 3 for Z.) under consideration by 12/1/2016.

Ultimate goal: have a steady stream of articles (R.) and book (Z.) coming; both apply for promotion by 8/15/2019.

1. Minor writing 30 minutes per day, six days per week.

R.: a. Polish up the article on names, to send an early version to a local venue. Send the manuscript to C. as well, and ask about the research that would be needed to make the complete version. This could conceivably be a co-authored piece. b. compile application for NEH Institute. c. Start writing on a new piece, and/or the expanded version of the names article.

Leslie: a. Polish up “Language” article and send to its editor at NFM. b. Work on expansion of this piece for JCI. c. Also consider these venues for related pieces: CHE, Truthout, The Nation. d. Consider applying for an NEH Institute.

2. Major research and writing Tuesday and Thursday mornings 2.5 hours each, and 4 hours on the weekend (or distributed elsewhere in the week.

R.: Immediate goal is reading, primarily in syntax.

Z: Immediate goal is Vallejo paper(s); after that, the book on race.

We should both get calendars and mark off when our research hours are planned and when we actually get work done.


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Sur la blancheur

Given the intriguing context and ways in which Acadian history was materialized in the Memorial, this case foregrounds the critical importance of display practices and expertise necessary to historicize space and time. The broader significance of this claim lies in the fact that despite the growing acknowledgement of the complexities of curation and display, practitioners often hold that past-ness is straightforwardly inherent in objects, and hence that collective histories can uncomplicatedly be re-presented in displays and exhibits (e.g., Handler and Gable 1997; Hall 2006). At the same time, one common argument against these claims asserts that recognizing the social constructedness of historical objects radically undermines their truth value, leaving us without solid criteria for grounding judgments about the accuracy and authenticity of historical claims. In one strong version of this critique, history emerges as a kind of perverted fabrication, whereby political objectives distort or betray the original or previous meanings of objects that are subsequently “traditionalized” or given historical value (Hobsbawm and Ranger, eds. 1983; cf. Loewen 1999). While I would not assert that historical discourse is never shaped by the “Machiavellian” or pragmatic considerations of political authorities, this perspective treats objects as mere chimera that “mirror, congeal, crystallize, or hide social relations” (Latour 1999:197) and obscures the stable, often institutionalized conventions that exist for identifying, experiencing, and displaying that which connotes the past. In this case, Memorial designers had more or less distinct notions of the social effects that they wanted to enable and selected objects accordingly, based on (at times implicit) conventional understandings of their power to sway human behavior. Thus, the objects of the Memorial were neither passive vessels for social relations nor autonomous emanations of a pre-existent past, but were instead recruited—from among a finite group of potential candidates—to “develop” a history that previously existed largely as a (negated) possibility. In other words, the pastness of objects resides in a “conventional wisdom” about history and the protocols of its display as much as it resides in objects themselves. Simply put, then, an adequate appreciation of the power of historical objects requires a corresponding appreciation of socialized customs for their identification and use.

Lire entier.


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Plan Mérida

According Gustavo Gil, director of political analysis at Integralia, a Mexico City consultancy firm, the rule of law should replace military aid as the central pillar of the Mérida Initiative.

“As long as Mexico’s institutions are unable to impose the rule of law,” he says, “the routine violation of human rights will continue.”

Gil cites a 2013 study by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), which indicates that 94 percent of all crimes committed in Mexico go unpunished —  “a damning indictment” of the country’s security policies, he says.

Mexico’s failure to hold its own security forces to account is costing lives — but so, too, is the failure of the U.S. policy-makers to ask quite where Mérida Initiative money is going.

Despite reports from Mexico’s National Secretary on Security that 10,000 people died violently in the first half of 2015, President Obama has requested a further $116 million in spending from Congress, for handover in 2016.

The bill for the Mérida Initiative —in terms of U.S. spending and lost human lives— looks set to rise, with no upward limit in sight.

Tout lire.


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Xanadu II

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.



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