Category Archives: Resources

Sarmiento du jour

Ricardo Piglia once pointed out that the apocryphal quotation at the beginning of Domingo Sarmiento’s Facundo (1845) — the French sentence “on ne tue point les idées,” written by Sarmiento on a wall after being attacked by a federalist gang — can be taken as an emblem of Argentine literature in its foundational moment. Not simply in its banal content, but primarily in its form and in the discursive economy that presides over its historical inscription. By relating how Rosas’s dictatorship, “after sending a committee in charge of deciphering the hieroglyph,” (Sarmiento 5) must have wondered what in the world it could mean, Sarmiento draws the line between civilization and barbarism with a mere epigraph: barbarians are, of course, those unable to read the sentence. More than in the utopian vision it voices, “the sentence’s political content resides in the use of the French language” (Piglia 15). A voracious student of foreign languages, Sarmiento located in the transculturation of European sources a sine qua non condition for the construction of a modern civilized Argentine nation. Transculturation is, however, always already torn apart by aporias, not the least of which plagues the authorship of Sarmiento’s epigraph. Sarmiento attributes it to Fortoul, but Groussac later argued that it was in fact taken from Volney, only to be contradicted by Verdevoye, who noted that it does not appear either in Fortoul or Volney, but in Diderot. The exercise in tracking down sources naturally does not matter in itself, but as an emblem of the predicament of an entire national literature. Designed to found a nation by alienating, domesticating, and eventually transculturating that nation’s originary barbarism, the letrado’s civilizing gesture is from the beginning contaminated by a savage, barbaric relationship with its sources, emblematized in recurrent erroneous and second-hand attributions. (– I. A.)

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bibliography, Race book, Resources, Teaching

Sobre la ansiedad

This artistic description, explanation and set of antidotes is really good.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, Resources

Nation versus state, and postnationalism

I am not convinced we are really postnational yet. And I am behind the times, so I should read this old piece.

The term ‘post–nationalism’ has been proposed to designate the emergence of political bodies in the wake of economic globalisation. However, not only is the ‘post–national landscape’ strongly redolent of nationalism, but nations themselves continue to correlate with the political subject in ways that cannot be dismissed. In Spanish political debates the notion of ‘post–nationalism’ has been deployed along with the concept of ‘patriotism of the constitution’, vulgarising their original philosophical use. In this context both terms do ideological duty against the peripheral nationalities in an effort to relegitimise the centralised control of the state. In this article I ‘deconstruct’ the self–serving duality between ‘constitutionalists’ and ‘nationalists’ by showing that traditional state nationalism overlaps with the ‘constitutionalist’ position. Subsequently, I consider whether some form of Habermasian detachment of nation from state can be contemplated for Spain.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under Race book, Resources

Imaginaires du néoliberalisme

L’imaginaire néolibéral se révèle comme un dispositif de production de peur et de généralisation de l’impuissance, voué à corseter les imaginaires au prétexte de l’absence d’alternative. On y observe une métamorphose de la violence du régime d’accumulation, présentée comme inévitable, absolue, et dépolitisée. Il s’appuie sur une spacialisation et une culturalisation des rapports sociaux. Qu’il s’agisse de la domination sociale, des affects ordinaires, des modes de gestion du salarié et de la personne ou des subjectivités littéraires, il s’agit de tenter d’identifier, à chaque fois, les logiques à l’oeuvre dans l’entreprise contemporaine de reconfiguration néolibérale et les façons dont elles affectent les sujets et la représentation qu’ils se font d’eux-mêmes et du monde. Les contributions sont regroupées en quatre grandes sections qui explorent cet imaginaire sous l’angle, successivement, du rapport de pouvoir, du lien social, de la nouvelle raison managériale, et, pour finir, de ce que peuvent encore y être l’écriture et la littérature.

Le livre.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bibliography, Movement, Resources, Theories

On student evaluations and gender bias

Here.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Resources, Teaching, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Sarmiento encore

Savage and barbarian were, I am told (and must find out), categories in nineteenth century international law.

Friend:

There is a stunning passage in Foucault’s book Society Must be Defended (1975-76) that compares the figure of the “savage” with that of the “barbarian” as these emerged in 17thc. historical writing in France. His description of the “barbarian” is useful for thinking about the rise of 21st century authoritarians and fascists, from Trump to Duterte, Putin to Assad, and others all over Europe, Asia and Africa. But, as Foucault also points out, the same characteristics associated with the “barbarian” is attributed to the revolutionary in late 18th and 19th, even 20thc. Europe and elsewhere. Nietzsche, for one, was fascinated by the barbarian.

Foucault:

“The barbarian is the opposite of the savage, but in what sense?
First, in this sense: The savage is basically a savage who lives in a
state of savagery together with other savages; once he enters a relation of a social kind, he ceases to be a savage.

“The barbarian, in contrast, is someone who can be understood, characterized, and defined only in relation to a civilization, and by the fact that he exists outside it. There can be no barbarian unless an island of civilization exists somewhere, unless he lives outside it, and unless he fights it. And the barbarian’s relationship with that speck of civilization—which the barbarian despises, and which he wants—is one of hostility and permanent warfare.

“The barbarian cannot exist without the civilization he is trying to destroy and appropriate. The barbarian is always the man who stalks the frontiers of States, the man who stumbles into the city walls. Unlike the savage, the barbarian does not emerge from some natural backdrop to which he belongs. He appears only when civilization already exists, and only when he is in conflict with it. He does not make his entrance into history by founding a society, but by penetrating a civilization, setting it ablaze and destroying it. I think that the first point, or the difference between the barbarian and the savage, is this relationship with a civilization, and therefore with a history that already exists. There can be no barbarian without a preexisting history: the history of the civilization he sets ablaze. What is more, and unlike the savage, the barbarian is not a vector for exchange. The barbarian is essentially the vector for something very different from exchange: he is the vector for domination. Unlike the savage, the barbarian takes possession and seizes; his occupation is not the primitive cultivation of the land, but plunder.

“His relationship with property is, in other words, always secondary: he always seizes existing property; similarly, he makes others serve him. He makes others cultivate his land, tend his horses, prepare his weapons, and so on. His freedom is based solely upon the freedom others have lost. And in his relationship with power, the barbarian, unlike the savage, never surrenders his freedom. The savage is a man who has in his hands, so to speak, a plethora of freedom which he surrenders in order to protect his life, his security, his property, and his goods. The barbarian never gives up his freedom. And when he does acquire a power, acquire a king or elect a chief, he certainly does not do so in order to diminish his own share of right but, on the contrary, to increase his strength, to become an even stronger plunderer, a stronger thief and rapist, and to become an invader who is more confident of his own strength. The barbarian establishes a power in order to increase his own individual strength.

“For the barbarian, the model government is, in other words, necessarily a military government, and certainly not one that is based upon the contracts and transfer of civil rights that characterize the savage. The type of history established by [French historians] in the eighteenth century is, I think, that of the figure of the barbarian. So we can well understand why, in modern juridico-anthropological thought—and even in today’s bucolic and American Utopias—the savage is, despite it all and even though it has to be admitted that he has done a few bad things and has a few faults, always the noble savage. Indeed, how could he not be noble, given that his specific function is to exchange and to give—in accordance with his own best interests, obviously, but in a form of reciprocity in which we can, if you like, recognize the acceptable—and juridical—form of goodness?

“The barbarian, in contrast, has to be bad and wicked, even if we have to admit that he does have certain qualities. He has to be full of arrogance and has to be inhuman, precisely because he is not the man of nature and exchange; he is the man of history, the man of pillage and fires, he is the man of domination. “A proud, brutal people, without a homeland, and without laws,” said Mably (who was, as it happens, very fond of barbarians). The soul of the barbarian is great, noble, and proud, but it is always associated with treachery and cruelty. Speaking of barbarians, Bonneville said: “[T]hese adventurers lived only for war . . . the sword was their right and they exercised it without remorse.” And Marat, another great admirer of barbarians, described them as “poor, uncouth, without trade, without arts, but free.” (196-97)

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bibliography, Race book, Resources, Theories

Mary Niall Mitchell, Akala, and more

Δ This blog has few readers but me. It is a reason why I should merge it with my research blog, and work more on my research blog. Or spend more time organizing research notes in other platforms.

Δ In any case, Mary Niall Mitchell at the University of New Orleans has this important project and may know things about New Orleans history that will support my project. I must be inspired.

Δ There is an inspiring British rapper named Akala whom I should use as an inspiration deity. This is his website. He is very intelligent and versatile. He has books, but I am interested in his graphic novel first.

Δ I need to read Ann Twinam’s Purchasing Whiteness and want to buy it, but should look for it in a library first.

Δ Allegory is not about mechanical meanings but about inner life and complex imagery. We are freed to contemplate these things since there is no doubt about theme.

Δ Many works of literature have multifractal structures.

Δ Border Cantosis — an exhibit I will see when I get to San José, which I will do, believe it or not.

Δ A smart, very balanced piece on the Clinton e-mail “scandal.”

Δ A comfortingly pessimistic view of the election and American militarism. Or unsettlingly pessimistic? What should one do (take on the arms industry and the military-prison industrial complex, has typically been my answer)?

Δ I thought steppes were cold Siberian plains with prison camps on them, and I was joking when I said the American prairies and pampas were steppes, but it seems they are. Some steppes are even subtropical. The Silk Road is on steppes, and I have been on one or two.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, Bibliography, News, Poetry, Race book, Resources, Songs