Category Archives: Movement

Perry Anderson

Journalists, exiles, editors, underground conspirators, this was by definition an intelligentsia without positions or place in the institutions of the state.

Read all about it.

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New Orleans Then

“The campaign on Dryades was calculated to start just before Easter because that’s when people bought lots of clothes,” Elie said. Black students from Xavier, Southern University of New Orleans and Dillard, along with a few white students from Tulane and University of New Orleans, joined picketers on Dryades. In mid-1960, former Xavier student-body head Rudy Lombard, SUNO student Oretha Castle and others formed a local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality or CORE. On September 17, 1960, Lombard, Castle, Dillard student Cecil Carter Jr. and Tulane student Lanny Goldfinch were arrested while sitting at the lunch counter at McCrory’s Five and Ten Cents store on Canal St.

Continuez à lire.

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Teresa Buchanan

Read about her, about Louisiana, and about LSU.

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Notes on my notes, perhaps poetic

The word “offender”

What the older white guard said about the roads and Louisiana: that they say there is construction, and that there is the inconvenience of construction, yet there is no actual construction, “is Louisiana”

The use of vocabulary that depersonalizes, changes our relationship to ourselves and to reality

The only interaction not reduced to buying and selling is that of buying and selling itself: vendors are now “team members,” and shoppers are “guests”

This is to say that the most obviously, and also naturally commercial relationship cannot be discussed as such, whereas every other relationship is reframed in commercial terms

These things are very important

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We should say this here

The UK’s universities can justifiably claim an outstanding international reputation, generating multiple direct and indirect benefits for society, and underpinning our core professions through training and education. Yet these attributes are being undermined and degraded from within and without, with innovation, creativity, originality and critical thought, as well as notions of social justice, being threatened by forces of marketisation demanding “competitiveness” and “efficiency” in teaching and research. This generates continuous pressures to standardise, conform, obey and duplicate in order to be “transparent” to measurement.

Government regulations and managerial micro-management are escalating pressures on academics, insisting they function as “small businesses” covering their own costs or generating profits. Highly paid university managers (and even more highly paid “management consultants”) are driving these processes, with little regard for, or understanding of, the teaching and research process in higher education. Yet these outdated models of “competitiveness” and “efficiency” have long since been rejected not only by those who believe in quality education as a force for social change but also by progressive business thinking worldwide. This deprofessionalisation and micro-management of academics is relentlessly eroding their ability to teach and conduct research effectively and appropriately. A compliant, demoralised and deprofessionalised workforce is necessarily underproductive, and cannot innovate.

Unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress among both academic and academic-related staff and students abound, with “obedient” students expecting, and even demanding, hoop-jumping, box-ticking and bean-counting, often terrified by anything new, different, or difficult. Managerial surveys then “measure” their consumer “satisfaction” – such are the low ambitions of today’s universities, locked into a conservative status quo mentality; for what is there left to learn, when you already know it in order to demand it?

We call upon parliament’s newly elected education committee to conduct an urgent investigation into these grave matters.

Signed.

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S o c o r r o, or, I shall be free

If you know who I am and you are willing, send me mail at my regular address and I will send you an address. One of my high school friends is homeless in Stockton, CA and I am soliciting direct donations to her, yes.

When we were in high school one of my friends’ fathers abandoned her family. My father paid her family’s mortgage that month. That friend is not contributing to this friend now, nor is anyone else, but my father is.

The fact that he is has brought it home to me: is it not normal that none of the others are contributing.

Some would say that if I were good I would be magnanimous and realize that these people simply cannot face it but I am not good and I think charity toward the ungenerous is just a mechanism designed to save them face. And of course the degree of my surprise is the degree of my (erroneous) belief in people.

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The MLA, and a diagnosis, and some fascinating questions

The theme of the 2016 MLA convention is Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future.

In the meantime, I am told there are two types of academic worker: intellectual knowledge workers and educational service workers. This is my problem: I am supposed to be the former, but pressed to be the latter. It is all well and good to say teaching and research go together. They do: for my McNair student, for instance. But when there are these two tiers of workers, and when the structure of the industrial complex is such that they pull against one another, and when one is both at once, one has a fraught situation to say the least.

In other news, my Russian family appears to have arrived in the United States in exactly 1865. Our ancestor was born in 1816 or 1817, and was living in Michigan at the time of the 1870 census. My great-grandfather was born in 1855, in St. Petersburg like his father the head immigrant, and studied at the University of Chicago; his wife, my great-grandmother, was Helen Beecher (yes, of those Beechers). My grandfather was born in Cook County, Illinois.

There are two points of interest on this today. One is these books: is the author our man (who did have a German PhD and corresponded with Marx, and was an intellectual)? Was it he who also knew Humboldt? (Why is my German not better, so I could find out more easily what his ideas were?) The other point is that there is a record I found and then lost, of a daughter born in St. Petersburg in the 1850s, after my great-grandfather, but baptized in Germany. That means that the sentence to Siberia and the flight toward Switzerland must have started then; I must write my cousin.

Family stories say that it was under Nicholas I that we were persecuted, and this is surely true, but it has to have been from Alexander II’s Russia that we flew.

#OccupyHE

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