Monthly Archives: May 2019

Cultures of reading

I was going to make note of, and then donate my issue of the January, 2019 PMLA but I think I will keep it, for now. I often do not even read PMLA, it seems boring, but then once in a while it has things of interest.

Here, there’s an article on Fanon’s radio; one by Emily Apter on untranslatability that starts out discussing Auerbach’s correspondence with Benjamin, from Istanbul; one on anticolonial reading and one on Juan Moreira; one on racial imaginaries of reading … and more. I am quite interested in all of this.


How do you get interested in things? I have many thoughts on this question, but sitting in Northern California among trees taking notes on theories of writing and reading is a strong memory in me, and my interest is partly in the material and partly in the fact it is my indigenous activity. I am from here and this is what I do here.



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Filed under Bibliography, Theories, Theories Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?

For Friday, May 24

I will write and submit the abstract here, and so should you. (The conference starts on a Thursday and I’ll teach my first class, farm the other two out, and go.)

I will finish my book orders and also work as much as I can on the syllabus and reading for that class.

I will make my plans for Florida and beyond. I will look up the Rob Stone books as well.

I will visit the ASUC store and REI. I will see Liz and Susan for work, and maybe others, for fun.

For the abstract, very rough:

Is it Bhabha, Mary L. Pratt, Said, who, how many say that looking at oneself through the eyes of the metropolis is a colonial trope? In Cecilia Valdés Villaverde represents Cuba with New Orleans eyes (Cuba sees itself through other eyes) but the New Orleans through which Cuba is seen is itself a construction based upon Northeastern tourists’ perceptions of Haitian immigrants. What was the French, but also heavily Spanish Louisiana actually like, before Americanization and also before the refrancesamiento created another fantasy image of the state? I will look at C. V. and K. Chopin but also G. W. Cable and A. Carpentier, but also N.O. press and lesser known writers like Charles Gayarré.

I discovered a Steven Yates who has interesting books and an interesting blog that will be good for my other article.


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Omar Pimienta

Here is one of the poets I discovered.


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Filed under Poetry

On tragedy

My student wrote an essay on Bodas de sangre as anti-tragedy and it was great. I then discovered there is a book by George Steiner on this matter and another very interesting one by Ekbert Faas. I never thought I was interested in theatre as a genre but I think that many of the decisions I made as an early undergraduate had to do with not having a good background in literature from high school. I am for poetry because I am, but the additional reason I was interested in it in college was that I had no training in writing about literature and with poems, I could feel sure I was really covering them and yet more importantly, because I could focus on words, images, language. I did not want to discuss novels or theatre because I did not have the personal confidence I felt I needed to comment on characters or action in the world. I am discovering now that with poetry and the essay, theatre is quite the thing for me. Perhaps when I am truly old I will begin to feel really comfortable with narrative.


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Filed under Bibliography, Theories Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?

A 2009 article on the Turk

“Jefferson’s universalistic vision of human rights challenged the Anglo-American principle that freedoms flowed from a specific group’s identity (Britons never will be slaves). Jefferson did not believe that Americans were free because they were Americans or Protestant Christians. He could not credibly claim that the values he promoted were truly universal unless he showed that they applied to Muslims as well as to all other men. For Jefferson, deconstructing Orientalist constructs was a precondition for the success of liberty in the United States. . . . ”

Yes, Jefferson had slaves, but the article is talking about how the idea that Europeans should NOT be slaves developed in the context of fascination and also much interaction with things Ottoman, including being enslaved by the Turk, and then how, under the influence of Islam (Jefferson was under the influence of Islam) they started to believe rights were universal. THERE ARE SO MANY TWISTS AND TURNS TO ALL THE LOGIC ABOUT ALL OF THIS THINGS, IT IS FASCINATING AND STRANGE.

Earlier in Europe, the line “Britons never shall be slaves” referred to hopes of not being captured by Muslim seamen and enslaved by the Turk. (The idea was growing that Europeans should not be slaves, and that freedom was based on identity; interestingly Jefferson the slaveholder is the one who worked on the theory of universal and not identity-based rights.)


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Filed under Race book