Tag Archives: modernidad

Books and journals going now

…because they are just too tattered, they are depressing me. They are wonderful and epoch-making as well, and I hate to let them go since they are like limbs. They are:

New German Critique 22 (Winter 1981), special issue on Modernism. Articles by Habermas, Giddens, Bürger, Huyssen, Nägele, Bainard Cowan, Michael Ryan, more.
Revista Iberoamericana 118-119 (enero-junio 1982), with classic articles on the avant-garde, wonderful (if outdated) texts I should really reread; 127 (abril-junio 1984), a marvelous issue on “la proyección de lo indígena en las literaturas de la América Hispánica” with articles on Mariátegui, indigenismo, and much more; 175 (abril-junio 1996), with additional wonderful articles on modernisms I want to reread.
Santiago, Silviano. Uma literatura nos trópicos.

There is so much that I don’t read or write because I do not feel at ease or at home. I am concentrating on holding things together, repressing the desire for life, and containing or tolerating pain and outright terror.

I read and wrote little for several years because I had a book contract. I was not sure I agreed with the revisions I had promised for commercial reasons, and I knew this project could not be finished in six months. But I could not say this, because I was afraid that if I said so out loud I would be accused of laziness or conspiracy to procrastinate, and would have to undergo torture for it. So I did not read or write for other projects, because I was to manage time such as to concentrate on this project; yet I could not find a way to plan the time since in fact, there was no feasible way to read enough in six months to consider whether or not the required revisions were desirable, let alone make them.

Without that six-month deadline, that recurred again and again, I could have worked these things out but the six-month deadline, with the exhortations about time management, laziness and conspiracy to procrastinate, but due to these exhortations I mostly transformed myself into a rabbit or cat, hid behind the couch, and panted.

After that I came here to Maringouin. I had wanted to do something more interesting but had been exhorted not to. I felt guilty about the pain I would cause others if I did not do as they wished, and fearful of the torture I would have to undergo if I caused them that pain. I came here to Maringouin on the theory that now, relieved of that deadline, I would write and read.

What I did was build program and serve others, because they were crying out in pain and requiring it and also because we were all threatened with annihilation if I refused, I was told. Now I do not know whether I would write and read the things I would write and read as an academic in this field if I were no longer employed in it, but I can no longer tolerate this repression.

Let us look at the ways in which I have been repressed by certain categories of academic work, or more accurately by their distortion under neoliberalism:

  1. Teaching. Your primary interest is to be a nurturing teacher of lower division students; your next interest is accompanying advanced undergraduates as they emote with literary texts. Those students may deserve someone to do this with them but it is not me.
  2. Research. You should publish, but not what you are interested in or think best. You should do only what is most marketable, because the objective is not knowledge but measurable production in the most visible English-language venues possible.
  3. Service. You should over-function. We will give you no credit for this, in fact we will penalize you for this, but we will annihilate you and yours completely if you do not over-function.

Mutilate yourself to survive the present, so you will still be alive to regenerate and flourish in the future, is the message I have always perceived. That, of course, fits my personal history but I think there is also a politics to this: teaching as caretaking, research as product preparation, and service as defense against siege.




Filed under Banes, Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Al sur de la modernidad

I will get rid of my photocopy of this book since our library actually has it, and others do, too. I like Martín-Barbero’s work a lot, even though this book seems old now.

The book, very loosely speaking, is about the poverty of progress, as E. Bradford Burns put it in a related context, or the (alleged) desencuentro of modernization and the razón histórica of Latin America. I will check it out as a book and read it as recreaction. But it is hard to let go of the photocopy so I will copy the first paragraph here.

Mucho antes de que la escuela de Frankfurt tematizara el concepto de razón instrumental, América Latina tuvo la experiencia de una racionalidad moderna convertida en “arsenal instrumental del poder y la dominación” (Quijano, Modernidad 53), esto es de una modernización cuya racionalidad, al presentarse como incompatible con su razón histórica, legitimó la voracidad del capital y la implantación de una economía que tornó irracional toda diferencia que no fuera recuperable por la lógica instrumental del mal llamado desarrollo. El debate en torno a la modernidad nos concierne entonces porque a su modo –al replantear aquel tramposo sentido del desarrollo/progreso– hace posible percibir la pluralidad y discontinuidad de temporalidades que atraviesan la modernidad, la larga duración de estratos proundos de la memoria colectiva “sacados a la superficie por las bruscas alteraciones del tejido social que la propia aceleración modernizadora comporta” (Marramao, “Metapolítica” 60). Este debate contiene a América Latina: la resistencia de sus tradiciones y la contemporaneidad de sus atrasos, las contradicciones de su modernización y las ambigüedades de su desarrollo, lo temprano de su modernismo y lo tardío y heterogéneo de su modernidad. Debate que se ha constituido además en escenario del reencuentro de las ciencias sociales con la reflexión filosófica de ésta con la experiencia cotidiana: esa que tanto o más que la crisis de los paradigmas nos está exigiendo cambiar no sólo los esquemas sino las preguntas. (Martín-Barbero 9)

…Really, there is so much in this book that is such a good review, I will perhaps keep the photocopy and give it to a student so they know these things… for instance, that one can consider cultura nacional, identidad colectiva, espacio audiovisual and comunicación ciudadana together…and honestly, so much here is worthwhile as material to make the mind limber again.


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Filed under Bibliography