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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