Monthly Archives: February 2016


I am informed that I am in severe distress over workplace bullying. (There is always at least one designated bully, it would seem.)

But what is to be noted is that I am in severe distress, which means that the situation is non trivial.



Filed under News, Working

Someone like me says…

Public universities are stigmatized as elitist because they continue in the work of democratizing privilege, of opening the best thought and the highest art to anyone who wants access to them. They are attacked as elitist because their tuition goes up as the support they receive from the government goes down. The Citizen had a country, a community, children and grandchildren, even — a word we no longer hear — posterity. The Taxpayer has a 401(k). It is no mystery that the former could be glad to endow monumental libraries, excellent laboratories, concert halls, arboretums, and baseball fields, while the latter simply can’t see the profit in it for himself.



Filed under ALFS presentation

The new schedule

Now that spring is coming in I can get up at 6:30, and I will read for research every weekday morning from 7-8. 8-9 is breakfast and commute time.

9-11 is a class preparation bloc on MWF. On T it is a 9-11:30 writing bloc, and on Th it is a 9-10:30 writing bloc.

11-8 on MW is teaching, office hours, meetings, and administration, and I cannot work past 8 PM on these days.

On Tuesday, 11:30-1 is errands and lunch, and 1-3:30 is another writing bloc. After that I have a meeting and the evening off for odds and ends.

On Thursday, 11-12:30 is a class, and than there is a writing bloc from 1:15-3:45. There is a meeting after that and again, the evening is off for odds and ends.

On Friday, 11-1 is teaching and office hours, 1-3 is a meeting, and 3-5 is a class preparation bloc.

More work time is needed, but this is a good minimalist plan. I need the kind of calendar I used to make, color-coded for when I was going to do teaching, research, and service and then filled in again as I actually did them.




Filed under Working


To counter the students’ love of Paulo Coelho I am to assign Pierre Bourdieu, The Aristocracy of Culture and Distinction.

I am wondering, though: if an author is as popular as this, should we not perhaps teach him … ? What is literature? What kind of canon should I work to create or protect?

I had a professor who would not teach testimonio.


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Filed under Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?

La recherche

It does appear some days that my actual research program is not what I say it is, but is about the university itself.

It appears important to look at the definitions of what an “entrepreneurial” university are, and perhaps to distinguish between that and the idea of a “business model” for education, and then monetization — these things all flow together, or appear to do, but to what extent are they distinct and separate movements?

Also, a cursory glance at the bibliography on entrepreneurialization suggests it is strong, global, and well advanced, but there are also strong critiques of the student-as-consumer model.

The more I find out, the less I feel I know–as is usually the case. This critique of entrepreneurialization at Wisconsin covers a great deal of ground.



Filed under Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Le voyage, historic inn version

  • Maringouin to East Texas, then to Oklahoma (if all friends are in town) … or just go to Dallas, stay in the Magnolia Hotel and go to the Meadows Museum
  • Albuquerque, staying in the Hotel Albuquerque
  • Winslow, AZ, staying in La Posada
  • Death Valley, CA, staying at one of the low cost rooms in Stovepipe Wells
  • Lee Vining, CA, staying at the Lakeview Lodge if possible (rooms for July are already filling up in Lee Vining, and I would bet campsites are even harder to get)
  • Berkeley.

On this plan it takes nearly a week to get home, and it costs money, but my friend is donating $400 and so … if I spent $100-$150 a night on these fancy hotels, let us call it $125, in five nights it would be $675 in reality but effectively $275.

The question is how to get back. I think in this case it would be by the allegedly sensible route: from San Rafael to San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo to Needles, Needles to Tucumcari, Tucumcari to Dallas, and home. That is still five days.

In any case, I am thinking this through to think about the real cost of driving. If I stay in the luxurious kinds of places I threaten to stay, I will spend $1,000 on hotels, and then I will also spend as much as $600 on combustible.

On the other, if I do not drive I will spend nearly as much as this on planes and rental cars, so it may be a simple question of what I want to do, how I feel; I feel like doing the drive out, but not the drive back.

It is not quite clear. I could fly to location A, borrow a car for two weeks, then rent one for two weeks and hang out at location B. This is the least expensive alternative.

It is not. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles have $6/day car rental offers now.



Filed under Questions

What belongs to you

Making poems was a way of loving things, of preserving them, of living moments twice; or more than that, it was a way of living more fully, of bestowing on experience a richer meaning.


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Filed under Bibliography, Poetry

Comme c’est beau

I do not know why everything is so beautiful now, I might exclaim, except that I do, and it is that the two or three harassers have been contained.



Filed under News

On writing, time, and absence

One of my classes was talking about some letters and speeches of Simón Bolívar, and how they were about plans for the creation of a country and region that not only did not exist in the form he imagined, but would not, and how it he made it clear that he knew this. There was distance in mental space, but also time between what he wrote and what he was writing about: the discussion of a future he knew was impossible was actually a reflection on hopes from the past.

In the other class we were discussing an epistolary novel by Elena Poniatowska, in which the fictional author is attempting to elicit a response from her lover, who has left. We realized that much of the text actually discusses, describes and makes vivid a past that the subject knows is more real than any future her letters might forge.

I had been reading about Vallejo, his poetic I and his historical and vital selves, and how the poetic I overtakes these, at least in his texts and in his self-representation in the texts. Vallejo as well works with distance, absence, time that turns in on itself, the rooms of his memory and inner life (as Augustine put it).

I am wondering whether all of this is coincidental, something these texts happen to share and that I might tease out with them alone, or whether it has something to do with writing. Writing always addresses an absent interlocutor and therefore moves toward introspection, perhaps.


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Filed under Poetry

Mais c’est bon

So I spent all afternoon yesterday writing on one project, and all afternoon today reading for another, et c’est bon, it makes you find things you were looking for.

Now I am rereading: Julio Ortega’s 1986 book on Vallejo. This turns out to be rather worth doing and I will have some comments on it from various points of view.

I also think I have a use for Endnote or Zotero at last: it is not that I cannot keep track of bibliography manually, it is an issue of current word processors.

All weekend I have not graded, or prepared class, or worked on the departmental strategic plan, or on its website.


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Filed under Poetry, What Is A Scholar?, Working