“They do not have your back the way a normal administrator would.”
This is the problem, yes. Unlike my interlocutor I am not surprised at this, but I will say that the feeling of instability one has living under caudillos in addition to the fact thereof is truly detrimental to progress.
Look at any history book.
…as a character in this weblog. But now da whiteman is always external, because we have consolidated our resistance identities once more.
On m’a dit: the structure of the town is opposed to progress; it is not our fault; it is important not to internalize things, and to remember that they and not we are da whiteman. Once again, always be clear on what is really happening, never internalize. If you begin to question yourself in the way those who never will and will never be required, but ought to do, wish you to do instead, you will be allowing them to colonize you or become hegemonic in you.
I looked at that last sentence and realized: it is, in one way, a brief summary of the dissertation I wrote for my Ph.D., or the intuition that inspired it. That sentence summarizes the things I wanted to learn, perhaps.
I never thought I could justify having post traumatic stress disorder but now from the outside, after more than twenty years, I can see how it had to be this and how like a war or similar set of disasters the roots of it really were.
I had it long before arriving where I live now, but it was from doing research in Latin American cultural history this week that I understood the nature of some things that did happen here.
Thinking about violence, the violence at the origin of nation formation that is then officially forgotten and (therefore) haunts, I realized that I have been in a nation-founding war myself, in my main department, although I was a civilian and not part of the warrior elites. The more I read about the mid nineteenth century and also the early twentieth century, the more this becomes oddly clear.
The other reference is that when I arrived the entire university was under a certain kind of dictatorship against which it was unwise to speak, people said; some were against it but their identities were not revealed to one unless one was trusted. These people were called “Sandinistas” as in, “Do you think so-and-so is a Sandinista?”
I cannot believe how much recovered I am from these events and what went before them than I was, say, a year ago. It is entirely different. But this has been caused by regime change, which was not something under my control and which is also an effect of war.
Filed under Banes, Theories
I can already tell what my report will be, I did nothing all week but grade furiously, work for courses that bring memories I would rather not have. I did figure out how, for the first time ever, to give a seminar next fall that will both fit departmental needs AND student interests AND my research project. This is one of the things we are supposed to do but that is not normally possible.
We sat in the library café (we have a library now, and it has a café) and came up with a rocking title, to wit: STATES OF RUIN: VIOLENCE AND IDENTITY IN LATIN AMERICA, 1810-1930. Elements in it that I might not have fit in, but that are there by student demand are the films Camila and Krik Krak, corridos and narco-corridos, music and hegemony or music as it arises and is deployed in moments of conflict to form or consolidate resistance identities, and perhaps Tina Rosenberg’s book Children of Cain.
Obviously, I will have to have a book prospectus to teach this course. I will also have to have a better idea than I do now of said book prospectus’ actual contents by the time we order books in the spring, and I will have to decide whether the book is now to be written to this title or to the currently alleged one which has the word race in it; so there, something of research and the blocking out of a manuscript plan has been accomplished this week.
The other post would be a description of a workplace dominated by lower classmen terrified and resentful about the language requirement, new assistant professors concerned about research and teaching evaluations, and serious about the language program and worried about tenure, and instructors and adjuncts resentful that there were any assistant professors at all and who had discovered that the best way to get them to leave was by destabilizing their classes, which they could do and which was a very effective form of harassment. Add to this that the library was closed for renovations at this time, post hurricane.
Consider all the people desperate for survival: students, surviving courses they resented; instructors, concerned about their survival as a partially ruling class; assistant professors, concerned for teaching evaluations and research in a situation where neither were within reasonable reach. Each group feels terrible, each group is struggling, and the victory of one always means the defeat of another. This is what I mean when I say, an atmosphere that is antithetical to research and which does not leave one enough peace of mind to make a good LSAT score.
I should have a flyer placed surreptitiously under everyone’s door saying “Don’t fret — organize,” but I will have a sticker made to put on student compositions and it will say:
DON’T TRANSLATE, COMPOSE!
I do not have time to say why these population groups are also to be criticized much more than they are already but I owe you posts of vitriol against adjuncts, student affairs officers, counselors, and psychotherapists, especially in our region, and I will give one anecdote to explain why:
My student was recruited by Swarthmore and told not to go because it would be too dangerous to be that far from family: if there were an emergency, they would be more than two hours away. He was browbeaten by family, friends, advisor and student affairs officers into this and I rest my case.