Wir sind soweit

Modernism in literature is (often) the effort of a national elite to develop a theory of national identity that is both modern and traditionalist, that negotiates claims of exceptionalism / universality. Modernism is distinctively peripheral, not prototypically metropolitan, in that it is interested in those romantic notions of identity that are more distinctive around the edges. Unamuno’s casticismo, Cavafy’s Hellenism, or Pessoa’s Lusoism. Williams’ Americanism. Lezama Lima’s insularism. Peninsular studies has not been able to talk about modernism in a way that explains this convincingly. (Soufas gets at a lot of this from another angle, but he thinks of modernism as a “European” movement with a particular manifestation in Spain. He argues against exceptionalism, but doesn’t fully see its productive nature.) -ist and -ism are productive suffixes here. Modernism, peninsularism, Hispanism.

I have been concerned as to whether Denise da Silva is right or not but I might leave off this line of questioning because whether or not it is ultimately accurate or ultimately accounts for everything her model seems productive. As long as modernity is white and is considered a good, there will be nonwhite people trying to get into modernity and being frustrated. Where certain kinds of mestizaje are part of whiteness you get mestizo modernism, but due to questions about identity and validity this modernism, while it is often some of the most modernist modernism, is peculiarly fragile or feels peculiarly fragile. This is where it becomes important to look at actual Blackness.

Work tracking today:

Alarm rings at 8 and I do not get up until 9. 9:30 drinking coffee, glance at Jonathan’s blog, start meditating on research; I do not normally count blog reading as work but this led to an hour of contemplation and I am counting it. Research, 1 hour.

11-12:30 teach and consult; class is not interesting because I am feeling so introverted; I want to either just lecture or put them in working groups for the whole hour; not do the dynamic lecture-discussion I prefer; perhaps I should start planning classes this way so I can stay introverted instead of what I usually do, which is work up and then perform extroversion, after which I have to take time to recover.

1:00 write this post and I am calling it research although I do not usually count blog post writing as work. Next up we have:

1:30-6 prepare, teach, grade, consult.

That means 6 hours of teaching today and 1.5 hours of research. Tonight I intend to do 1 to 1.5 hours of service and e-mail, so that makes today a 9 hour day, and look how I keep on averaging 8 hours just naturally.




Filed under Questions, Theories, What Is A Scholar?

2 responses to “Wir sind soweit

  1. Z

    Also from that post: “A nation orientalizes itself.” My tropicalismo chapter can be called “Orientalizing Bahia” — it is what I mean.

  2. Z

    And, work-tracking: the class I put so much into yesterday went really well, so you see, one cannot cut corners on teaching.

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