Category Archives: Bibliography

Famous writers I should have known about, or should have worked with more

I really do not get out enough. My students should know about Mario Bellatín, Hilda HIlst, Pedro Lemebel, Naty Menstrual, and Eugenia Prado. It seems that they, together with Diamela Eltit and others, wrote or are writing the nueva narrativa femenina latinoamericana.

I should have told my student about Sarduy, Escrito sobre un cuerpo, and Nelly Richard, Masculino/femenino; I might (although this does not go with the project so exactly) talk about what convergence there is or is not between “feminine” and postmodern writing.


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Things people have sent me to try.

Alan Watts on Chesterton.

Paul Preston on the Spanish Civil War — as holocaust.

The Holocaust Encyclopedia actually has an entry on the Spanish Civil War.

U.S. economists are always wrong.

Hattie says:

There was also an excerpt from Chris Hayes’s new book, A Colony Within a Nation. As he says,  “In the nation, you have rights;  in the colony you have commands.” These are the two Americas. We need this  kind of structural historical analysis to understand the way systemic racism works. That is, those of us who live in the nation do. Those who live in the colony know all about it. It is absolutely part and parcel of what our country is. No use denying it.


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Filed under Arts, Bibliography

Encore des nouvelles. On modernity, and on race.

– Thursday is César Vallejo’s birthday and he will be 125.

– This, as we know, could also be about Vallejo, as it is about many:

Living in Budapest, connected to a self-confident and industrializing West but set apart from it by language and often religion, Polanyi and his contemporaries embodied one of the central facts about the cultural and political ferment that we often equate with modernism: Its vitality depended on the admixture of a modern social order and outlook with often archaic folk communities. (Bartók’s music is a classic example.)

Polanyi is one of many intellectuals I would like to understand.

I am interested also in the conversion of the Jews in the nineteenth century, as both Marx’ and Heinrich Heine’s parents converted, as my ancestor did. Polanyi and other twentieth century figures longed, says Gareth Dale, for “a social order in which the entire issue of assimilation would be an irrelevance.” (It could be worth reading the book whose review I refer here to learn more about what this meant then, because it is yet another experience of race and difference in the high modernist period.)

Then there is Marisol de la Cadena:

…mestizo and mestizaje…are doubly hybrid. On the one hand they house an empirical hybridity, built upon eighteenth and nineteenth century racial taxonomies and according to which ‘mestizos’ are non-indigenous individuals, the result of biological or cultural mixtures. Yet, mestizos’ genealogy starts earlier, when ‘mixture’ denoted transgression of the rule of faith, and its statutes of purity. Within this taxonomic regime mestizos could be, at the same time, indigenous. Apparently dominant, racial theories sustained by scientific knowledge mixed with, (rather than cancel) previous faith based racial taxonomies. ‘Mestizo’ thus houses a conceptual hybridity – the mixture of two classificatory regimes – which reveals subordinate alternatives for mestizo subject positions, including forms of indigeneity.

Y sí, and that is what the talk the other day did not address, and it is key for my piece on Isaacs: there is racial and religious mestizaje that stand in for each other. THIS is a good insight, I do think. (About mestizaje itself, the other way in which the word or concept “means in two accents” is that it is deployed in both oppressive and utopian or liberating ways.)

And Isaacs is another 19th century person, working on the conversion of the Jews, and there is a connection here.

(I so must create a system in which to put all these thoughts together.)


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Filed under Bibliography, Movement, Race book, Theories

“Where you stand is where you sit”

Here is a book about how to be an academic administrator and it looks quite good.

It is from 2006 but glancing at it I thought it would be older, as it seems to come from an era so much kinder and gentler and humane. The university was already savage, of course, but it really seems to me that things took a hard turn for the worse with the 2008 economic crisis. Others may perceive the shift differently, or may not have perceived it yet.


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

Beatriz Preciado

¿Y qué aportan esos ‘detritus del sistema’, como usted los llama?

Inventan nuevas formas de relación personal y política que se salen de una coordenada que engancha con las políticas coloniales del siglo XV y que tienen que ver con la familia, la nación, la raza. Esa línea se ha agotado, hay que abrirse a lo no familiar, no nacional, no racial, no generizado.




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Filed under Bibliography, Race book

She is Cuba

I have to get this book at Tulane. It is so tempting to just click “buy,” but no. Ideally, I not even check the book out: I will go there, read, and leave having actually conducted research. Or I will become very serious and use interlibrary loan, despite not liking to do this online.

I do not know where my copy of The Dialogic Imagination is (that is a disadvantage of having too many books), but amazingly we have it at our very own library. There are other things we have: Burke, Raymond Williams, some of Koselleck, and it is impressive. The 1983 edition of Williams’ book is online.

In the meantime, here is a neo-surrealist film about race and consciousness, that was recommended by our friend Junot Díaz and that should be seen. Also, there is this journal Contretemps, that is Communist and I used to flee dogma, but I think some serious left theory may be needed now.


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Steal this university

I have been reading and lying low, but tomorrow I will have to write, and work out, and socialize over an interesting film. Reading of some interest includes Steal this university, a 2003 book one should have read then (I read the reviews, but one should have read it and taken action on it). It seems dated now, which only shows how rapidly the changes it discusses and predicts have taken hold. A key point from early chapters is the commercialization of education: students are customers because education is a product.

Patrick O’Donnell has a good working bibliography on the corporatization of higher education but it is far from complete, as this topic is broader than one may realize and has also been discussed in greater, more erudite detail than one might think. Yet most people have been too busy with their jobs to notice what has been happening, and what has been happening has also been discussed in an obfuscating way. Finally, those with power are in situations where they are protected from these developments. Those without are in situations where we can see them, but have too few colleagues willing to open their eyes.

Then there is this piece on authoritarian neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is not about free markets, it is about creating inequality in the name of the free market, and turning everything over to the corporations and the authoritarian state. That, of course, is what has happened to universities. My piece, that I must finish, must resist the temptation to cover everything: I am talking about language.

BUT these are victors who will never declare victory — because the carefully-maintained capitalist illusion of the “university education” still benefits them. Never, ever, admit that the university is dead.

That is from this blog post which is very good. We have to use at least some of the words we have always used so that we can maintain the university as simulacrum. But this means that we are not necessarily talking about the same things when we use these words. (There was something I read a few weeks ago, on doublespeak and neoliberalism, that I must find.)

I have been thinking that my piece is not original and is not fresh but I think that if it is taking me as much thought as it is, and if it is true that not enough people understand what is happening, then it has some value.



Filed under ALFS presentation, Bibliography