Monthly Archives: June 2017

A chronicle of crisis

I want to read Bauman’s Social Europe book. Perhaps, since the book comes in non-traditional forms, this is something I will do while traveling.

I submitted something to my writing group but must not forget to do something with it once I get it back. It has potential to be overshadowed but should not.
After I finish this next paper I must keep working on it, dividing time between it, my out of field paper, and course preparation. Then the question of our grant proposal will come in, and I do not want to miss a beat now.

That means, of course, that I cannot participate in any of my typical self-destruction or self-doubt now; others need me to be whole and want to know what I have to say.

Axé.

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Filed under ALFS presentation, Bibliography, News, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Blood Studies

I’ve left Facebook, temporarily at least. This is difficult as Facebook has often been where the most grown-up conversations were (more than in life). Now, though, I am finding it fragmenting and non-meditative, so I have gone. I will visit certain blogs more regularly: Remaking the University and Blood Studies, for instance.

Also on Facebook, I’ve realized that there are certain secret groups I can go to for very specific purposes and bypass the rest of the things. That way I retain its humanizing aspects (resistance to the corporate university, writing accountability) and evade the noise.

Axé.

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Fraught

On political euphemism, it is very important to note that the PATRIOT ACT (which was not patriotic) and then, rising to a new level of irony, became the FREEDOM ACT.

I read about the lives of Elena Garro and Helena Paz Garro and it was sad. Both died ill, poor and alone; Paz’ death coincided with the pomp and circumstance of her father’s centenary celebration. Garro’s self-imposed exile had to do with the tangled politics around the events of Tlatelolco, and Paz Garro was a talented person who struggled with her parents’ shadows.

About writing, I read this:

Why couldn’t the boy just have refused to sign the letter? Why the paralysis? For Freud, the unconscious was inherently conflictual, and in this example, the boy may have felt both the wish to sign and not to sign the letter. This would have stirred up his oedipal conflict with his father and the guilt that went with it. The symptom allowed him not to sign and, through the physical pain of the paralysis, punished him for his guilty wish.

This applies to many things. (I am convinced Freud is right about many things, and that he is discredited because he is too intellectually demanding and not enough of a profit center.)

Fraught is the word my friend used to characterize the situation at my university. Fraught is the feeling I have and fraughtness is the opposite of peace. It is the affective challenges, not the intellectual ones, that are hard.

I am involved too much, some would say, in service, administration, politics, advocacy; politics and advocacy are me and service and administration are extracted from me in a situation fraught with double binds. One should ignore everything and tend to one’s work, except that those who do this, can do because they have more people to share service and administration with. And the university wants you overworked, so you cannot do advocacy and politics–and it wants you to internalize that view.

And the reason I do not like academic advice is that it ignores context. “Work in the office,” it says to people who have no office (to give a simple example). Context matters. More profoundly, academic advice supposes that everything can be remedied with self-discipline and self-help; you are a neoliberal subject who, if deserving, will excel without context.

People think one should awaken in the morning thinking of discipline, schedules and getting things done, but I think one should awaken thinking of love.

Axé.

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Melissa Weiner, race, subjectivity

Here is Weiner’s smart and highly informative article, which does not discuss Denise Ferreira da Silva that I can see, but that is key. And here is a smart article about Fanon, “safety” and race dialogue that I must read.

Not for the current paper, but in general, there is a Gwen Kirkpatrick article on Diamela Eltit and the materiality of language in this book that I’d like to read as well.

Axé.

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La blancheur

These are notes on offprints I no longer need to keep in paper copies. One is Alex Flynn’s piece on color in Machado de Assis, and the other is on the UNESCO study of race relations in Brazil. My marginal note on the Machado article was: “they want un-naturalized indeterminacy.” What did I mean? The authors “argue that whiteness has become increasingly established in Brazilian public discourse as a naturalized category” (abstract). They see race as a process and not as a thing. (I still like the Omi/Winant concept of race as a relation.) Mixture was seen in the early 20th century as a path toward whitening and modernization. What “white” meant was less clear, but it did become a “sedimented and fixed category” in public discourse.

The article has an interesting discussion of reactions to a Machado story, “Pai contra mãe.” Interpreters of the story tend to see the characters as black and white, although there is no unambiguous evidence of their color in the text. Whiteness is a negotiated category in Machado’s world, something readers tend to forget. In this story a slave-catcher avoids abandoning his own child, earning money for his short-term support by capturing an escaped slave, causing her to miscarry. It is not clear that he is white in color, although readers assume this. (I would say he represents the white side of things, acts as agent of slavery, whiteness and so on.)

In any case: this article has a good review of a great deal of literature. Its primary thesis, though, is that racial categories are not fixed, and people doing the work of whiteness may not look white. I am interested in da Silva because she is not as caught up in repeating the fact that racial categories can be ambiguous and depend on place.

Meanwhile, on those UNESCO studies: the hope was, after the Holocaust, to show how not to be racist, but it turned out that Brazil actually was. “Research findings . . . revealed the tensions between the myth [of racial democracy] and the Brazilian style of racism, a tension that had already been discussed by black and white intellectuals and activists in Brazil.” (134)

Axé.

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Museum of Fine Arts

At the end of the summer break I will get to Houston, and I will be there in time to see what is apparently a truly important exhibit on Mexican modernism.

This of course engages my topics: avant-garde discourse (revolution, modernity), and representations of race (nation), interests I must articulate in a more precise way than I am doing at this moment.

I should hone in on all art exhibits in this way.

Axé.

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ERIP, Tlatelolco, Theatre

In October, I am going to Morelia, Mexico for a week and it is excellent. I must remember to make these arrangements for ERIP. (And Washington/Baltimore in November, and California in December, but ERIP comes first.)

There are other things to remember, as well, including this inspiring article by Jacqueline Bixler on memory-theatre and Tlateloloco. Its bibliography and comments are enough to create a marvelous course and I would like to do this. And there are simple things I do not know, such that Paz’ Posdata was a posdata to Tlatelolco.

Axé.

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