That darned presentation, again

Here is a very good article critiquing contact theory.

Here is Martí on New York.

Here is Posternak.

Lagniappe: Here is a book on Lorca I should get from ILL. Here is a review of it.

In my paper: Sommer is heavily under the influence of happy mestizaje theory (which has the flaws of contact theory, inter alia). 90s multiculturalism in US promoted both of these and in that way echoed some of Bolívar and Martí, or some famous phrases from them at least. But the actual 19th century is more complex and contradictory, less triumphant, than Sommer’s narrative suggests. These points have been made already but it is worth gathering them together.

This paper is on the dysfunctional family (cf. the families in crisis thesis) — families that disappear the nation and do not consolidate it.

* * * I am interested because of the way race works, novels working as strategies to contain democracy and maintain hierarchies [work this out, I had such a brilliant, concise formulation while washing dishes last night and I did not write it down]. Was I thinking about this paper or my other one, when I was washing dishes? * * *

* * * At Angola: everyone was black visiting prisoners on this former plantation, and we were watching cowboys and Indians on the tv, and I thought, what a perfect colonial scene; we have not left the late 19th century, US army subjugating new lands while the people they half liberated, still incarcerated, look on as a kind of fellow American * * *

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That class

As lagniappe, let’s look at the MLA 2007 report on FL curricula.

Students say: less is more. If we all watched the same series, we could all talk about it and change groups. The films are too much in conjunction with the series. And we may need more structured grammar review.

More to come on this.


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Agenda for that January meeting

1. Amendments to Constitution, per letter from B.T. (Post restructuring — to fit with idea of sections, address relationship between chapters including national chapter, conference, and section.)

2. Discussion of what Conference can do. (Powers of conference, why we need a functioning one.) One is make sure all chapters, and ideally Senates, try to get handbooks in line with AAUP principles. Another is inspire people to get on board with campaigns like the anti-privatization one, which is important.

3. Nominating committee.

4. Decision on date for April meeting.

5. RESOLUTION and more — my earlier list was:

– reports from chapters, chapter leaders meet each other, discussion of organizing statewide

– the resolution as organizing tool [individuals need to be empowered to use it this way, and there may need to be a coordinating committee; the $66 fix is a California campaign on state funding and it may have concepts and language that are useful to us]

– Committee A liaisons, on campuses without chapters

– Committee A training opportunities

– grant and other funding opportunities through the conference

– 2020 summer institute scholarships

– the summer national meeting, processes for credentialing representatives, creation of sections

6. Anti-privatization campaign and possible visit of Monica Owens; this is a good project to undertake


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We’ve now sent two people to the Institute who, rather than gain knowledge, inspiration and skills, came back disillusioned about governance; credentialed a delegate to the national meeting (and given financial support to him for travel) who has been dismissed from his university and will thus not continue as a strong member of the organization; and had a person elected to national leadership who then resigned.

These things happened because our manner of outreach has meant those were the volunteers we had. We need another mode of outreach, and a different crowd.


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Things I found.

Another smart text by Rolando Pérez. This one is about Martí and New York.

One Laura Posternak has written the article I said I would, and then gone on to use it as the first chapter of a thesis.

I will find as many reviews / discussions / critiques of Sommer as I can, and I will reread Ramos’ book. And Posternak is using all the bibliography I should have better control of just to make this small point I am making — unless I do not need to make it so fully.


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A different set of notes

Honestly, one’s research life is the correction of the errors and gaps in one’s graduate education, and that is it. All my smart ideas then are smart now, but I have to get rid of these files.

My ideas were naïvely put but still right. I said the dissolution of identity might seem like a radical gesture in France, it wasn’t in Latin America, where the project was to find it. And finding it was not a process of maturation (Bello) or a voyage to reified, fetichized autocthonous roots, but creating it from the interstices of pre-existing cultures. People like Rodó and then Larrea thought that meant a synthesis, but it meant a struggle; mestizaje is a field of struggle.

Oswald’s (Mario’s?) utopian past is the S. Paulo of the coffee farms. See also Sandroni 51, the affirmation of Brazilian difference is made via the mediation of the “universal” which is European. There was a FRANTIC investigtion of Brazilian reality in this period and Jean Franco says they were quoting (or she quotes) von Martius. The “true” Brazil — regionalists also said they had it

Franco: note that the desire for revitalization of national culture is NOT necessarily the desire for social revolution … and the culture envisioned is that of the modern city, not of the backlands. Note that I was already reading Cornejo on heterogeneity and remarking that the heterogeneity was in the texts, the place; it is not “heterogeneity” that is proposed as a solution (the way mestizaje is).

1/ Why did antropofagia become so popular again in the 70s, under the military dictatorship? 2/ Primitivismo has a great deal to do with indianismo and the renewal of strong blood for Europe. 3/ Fetichized heterogeneity. 4/ ANTROPOFAGIA AS COLONIAL SEMIOSIS.

That is interesting and the idea of colonial semiosis, mestizaje and colonial semiosis, all of these things, I want to come back to. (I am reading old articles now, written before Re-education, and MY GOD THEY ARE GOOD.)

5/ Modernismo was to modernize Brazil (and was not the Berman-esque reaction to modernity). The Indian world as a metaphor for present and future options, not as a discussion of the actual Indian world. The technicalized savage, the modern man in charge of a machine.

SO: my work was wonderful and I cannot believe I stopped doing it. Stopped believing in it.


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My old dissertation/book

I am not sure where to put this but it was on paper / in a dream and it seemed important at the time I wrote it because I could at least think about it clearly. It isn’t new at all.

It said: Vallejo is hard to read because there is no centered subject to guide us and no clear story to follow — he is undoing the transcendental subject and undoing representation. But at the same time he is refuting dehumanization and fomenting ethical self-awareness and engagement with others.

I had intuitions in those days, mixed with visceral reactions that had little to do with school.



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