Monthly Archives: January 2019


I ordered Through a Lens Darkly, the DVD, and I should see again: Ethnic Notions and Color Adjustment. These are all about race and representation.

Rey talked about the militarization of plantation slavery in Cuba and penal servitude in Puerto Rico; plantation slavery resembled penal servitude.

We’ll continue.


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Filed under Race book, What Is A Scholar?, Working

And a third

This project brings up so much pain and I do not manage it well, do not handle it well, don’t treat myself well, perhaps. I can stop if I don’t think about deadlines, only about doing something now, and don’t require myself to think destructively.

This is how I used to be — before I learned to think destructively, and before I learned that choosing reasonable deadlines was not a good thing to do.

I’ve got fearful avoidant attachment, says the newspaper. Not about everything, but I have it. I have had it since … the first time I said yes to something big that I wanted to say no to, but thought I had no choice on. I made it worse after that.

In it you are afraid to touch the project, and your dread grows. You feel overwhelmed, get lost in things like social media or cleaning your desk, and try to figure out how to explain not getting the frightening project done.

Do I simply not want to do this project? I wonder if that is something I should face. I love intellectual work but I don’t think of it as something I do with friends, but for disapproving and violent authorities. This, I think, is key.

I keep trying to find a technique for battling this. And techniques like self-care are undeniably important. The newspaper says you should reduce your fear response: use  positive self-talk and support from colleagues or friends. Then take gentle action like opening one scary e-mail or working 15 minutes on a scary progress. The idea is that these small successes build on each other.

I keep finding that mere techniques are not enough. The association of certain projects with those violent authorities as opposed to with an idea of colleagues and friends, seems very important. Somehow managing to still be proud of self while working on certain things, instead of immediately going into a kind of worm mode, seems key, central to me.

Perhaps Reeducation was an entry into the world of people who do not meditate. It meant losing those perceptions and learning to think in a hierarchical way, and to think in terms of conflict, battle against others and self. I will meditate.


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And another

I am getting somewhat better at treating myself decently, after 25 years of Reeducation-induced self-destruction. Part of it has to do with not saying I do not get enough done. In Reeducation: learning to deaden the self, so as not to function at such a high level (because Reeducation didn’t like it). Now: trying to hide from that pain enough to function at a high level of imagination, access to self, intellect. But in fact I need that destroyed portion of myself to be working, need to work from it. The only way to make that possible is not to speak so negatively, in all the ways I do this.

I have started to remember my dreams again. There is one about having treasure, in a way reminiscent of my old dream about barely making it through an occupied zone to a neutral country  – one about a marvelous encounter – and one strange one about exploitative academic and real estate practices in California, that I need to think about.

I am going to open a document elsewhere for these old notes, and think about them.

NAPOLEON apparently said that in modernity the Black man cannot rise out of his misery (the structure of the modern world prevents it). I have to find this reference.

And on Cecilia — after the Haitian Revolution Spain decided to turn Cuba into the biggest sugar plantation in the world. In the 19th century Cuba was 43% enslaved, and 86% of the slave population had arrived after the British had abolished the slave trade. About prison construction: Spain in the 1765-1840 period turned peasants into labors by criminalization. This is material from Rey.


Things I notice about me: I am far more activist than most people, more of a leader and less resentful of institutional service. I am less tolerant of drudgery and monotonous detail than most academics. I am less sedentary and a better listener. I like all aspects of academic jobs but in some instances do not feel it is safe to say so, and in others do not feel I am authorized.

I even had impostor syndrome in college. I believed the entire thing had been set up as an illusion. I had not really gotten in, I had not really gotten these grades, my parents and aunt had just set the whole thing up as an illusion to entertain me, indulge me, since I was not really a person.


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Filed under Banes, Race book, What Is A Scholar?

One thing

…I have been procrastinating research and service in favor of teaching and activism but feel worse about service I procrastinated on than about the research. Here is one thing…

I am working with the idea that the modern world was invented in and through America. Race is a key component of modern subjectivity, and the coloniality of power (Mignolo) is based on race.

I will put this in Evernote / OneNote and I will organize this computer desktop, and start putting my thoughts in order.


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Filed under Race book, What Is A Scholar?

Identité, légitimité, autorité

Why this project is difficult: I don’t feel I have the right identity to do it, the legitimacy, the authority. This of course isn’t about the material of the project, it’s about whether I should be allowed to have a research program. I am traumatized by having been told teaching, service have to come first, and I find myself ashamed to have a research orientation, and on the other hand also ashamed to have been threatened for having one and told I should not. I transfer it all onto this project and I think it has to do with having been told I am not an full person and will be executed if I act like one.

So: IDENTITY – LEGITIMACY – AUTHORITY is the incantation I must intone. I have to remember I have them.


First, I need to define this whole project. Part of the problem is that it is sprawling, and more nebulous than I admit.

From Reis: the idea of the transition period 1850-1950. Much of what I am working on fits this period and its concerns. What am I arguing (more exactly than what I articulate when I talk about this off the cuff)? is a question I need to think about more precisely.

Reis: transition literature is not transgressive but supportive of the social order. CHECK. And that social order conserves and transforms aspects of the colonial one.

Reis, like many others, alludes to the strategy I call “evoke and elide.” In his version: these texts raise, and then suppress the view and the voice of the Other. So the discourse of Brazilian literature in this period suppresses non-European, or non-elite voices and “ignores the alterity of difference.”


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Filed under Race book

Perhaps the twain is not destined to meet

The people who say there is no difference between the MA and the PhD are also those who say that if there were no tenure, everyone would be FTE with benefits. They have a really different idea of the university than I do and it appears to be a for-profit community college.

I believe in the unity of teaching and research but I have a more Humboldtian education than I had realized heretofore. Many people do not, and in fact in the United States the other vision is that of the English college.

I remember that even when I was a child, adults would argue about this. Some said the “teachers” at the community college were better, and others pointed out that the university did research.

Everyone seems to believe there is a conflict between teaching and research but in the Humboldtian model there is not, that is to say, there is hardly. There is, however, a great conflict between the idea of the college that transmits knowledge, and the university that creates it.

There are, of course, possible problems with the idea of constant progress, constant revolution, constant production.


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Filed under What Is A Scholar?

Rosa Luxemburg suffered more, and accomplished more in less time

And she was executed, after torture, one hundred years ago tomorrow. She hated Prussian men.

In this rentrée, how many of your departments were threatened with loss of program? It happens to us every third year or so and it is very unsettling. I am sure it is a tactic designed to throw us off our game and distract us into self-defense mode, such that we then give them reason to say our evaluations and publications and grantraising fell. I am very tired of it. It amounts to harassment, not because the threat isn’t real but because we are asked to make efforts at program expansion while the administration makes efforts to sabotage these, and when we reach a stalemate, we are then left alone for a year or more.
In the first year, we recover, in the second, we plan on our own terms, in the third, we really start to stream ahead with our work, and then the war is started again.

Also, I spent over an hour making career and graduate school plans with one of our minors, who graduated in December, and was glad to do it, BUT: in the past I could have claimed this as a teaching activity, which is how I think of it, but now it would be a service activity, and would only count if the student were a major and were assigned to me. So I guess it is public service. But my point is that it was meaningful, something a professor should do with this student, and in this case I was the right one to do it, but because this one does not fall within our statistics it is exactly the kind of thing the university considers meaningless now, and because the university had not specifically assigned me to do this for and with this student, they can accuse me of having wasted time today by doing it. D–n them, really.


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Filed under Working

1er. monde

I am glad to be able to travel so much but I wish it took less thought. Since getting back from California it has taken a whole day to fully figure out how to do a weekend of professional travel to Washington, and another to Atlanta. It takes thought because it has to be done economically, cannot be done exhaustingly, and must leave some time for exploration.

In calendar 2019, we have:
* March: Atlanta, Washington … both arranged!
* April: Taos, [New Orleans] … to arrange in February!
* May: California … to arrange soon!
* June: [Florida], Washington … perhaps do in the simplest way possible!
* July: [Mexico] … optional!
* August: California … to arrange soon!
* September:
* October:
* November: Washington … perhaps do in the simplest way possible!
* December: California … arrange this in September / October!

This will make as many as ten total round trip plane rides in 2019. I now see why people have secretaries to make their travel arrangements.

Since I have been flying on Delta I really ought to begin using my Delta frequent flyer account more consistently. In California I stay in Air BnB, so I should join Delta Air Bnb and accumulate Delta miles. And I need to arrange that first California trip now so that the good places to stay are not gone, and because I have it almost conceptualized. There are so many other arrangements I will need to make.



Filed under Juegos, News

An argument I will not have again

1/ All institutions need more tenure track hires. That doesn’t mean everyone has to emphasize research to the exclusion of everything else; it means everyone deserves to be on some form of tenure track.

2/ If you have your NTT people on FTE, with benefits, pensions, offices, telephones, and representation in shared governance, that is good (and forsooth, you should have accomplished it by now), but it is not enough.

3/ If you are one of those people who says, “Gosh! We should really start saying hello to our NTT people in the halls, it is so rude of us to ignore them, as we do!” you were clearly very poorly brought up, what can I say. But don’t start greeting them and congratulate yourself for having taken important political action. When you start greeting them, all you will have done is take a small step toward minimal politeness.

4/ Don’t think you’re going to be able to run a program, or a quality program if you relinquish all your TT lines. Realize as well that you may not be attractive enough to move to unless you can offer the TT; and that even if you are, many others are not.

5/ People who say there is no difference between the M.A. and the Ph.D., and that an NTT job with perks is good enough, are neither serious nor sincere. They are just trying to get away with continuing to overburden and underemploy, while representing themselves as heroic champions of the downtrodden.


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Filed under Movement, What Is A Scholar?, Working


Clearly, I worked too hard too late yesterday.  I knew I was exhausting myself, and I am exhausted. This morning I have lolled about, reading news and e-mail.

Today I will make three phone calls and work out, and work for fifteen minutes. This should put me in shape again.



Filed under Working