Monthly Archives: August 2019

For this article

I am going to go through a long, very old, hand written notebook, take a few notes here from it, and then recycle it. One must rid oneself of things if one is to think.

1/ Republic should mean equality, but modernity is exclusionist: this is a problem.

2/ An article worth reading, on manners that show class and race, and an 1890s magazine: El Chispazo y el proyecto modernizador. Un acercamiento a «En los trenes», de Juan de Arona, Néstor Saavedra Muñoz.

3/ Who said, and in relation to what, that: Meléndez y Pelayo just repeated whatever Palma told him? What could Basadre not find, that Monguió had found? All of this too place at a conference on the beginning of cultural journalism in the Peruvian Republic, at the Riva Agüero, and there was an estudioso, Alberto Varillas, whose work interested me.

4/ In the meantime I was reading Jerry Dávila. He quoted Hassenbalg: how to legitimate cultural diversity and also ensure equal social integration of ethnic and racial groups? But Brazil found ways to enforce racist practices while denying racism [EVOKE AND ELIDE]. Guimarães calls racial democracy and incomplete project; Sansone is very concerned to say Brazil is not US, because Brazil has a racial continuum and inclusivity whereas US has no continuum and exclusivity (I say that is very superficial). I said: Hollinger has been criticized, and there is better work than Sansone’s, but their points of view are still the “common-sense” ones. And both cite the exceptions as proof that racism is over. The post-ethnicity enthusiasts seem not to be aware of formation theory, CR theory, heterogeneity theory. There is hybridity without heterogeneity and without equality; is it possible to be non-heterogeneous and have equality?

5/ This Varillas person talked about the origins of the literary essay and cultural journalism. In the period he discused, literature was considered to be where you saw all all knowledge — all “ciencia” — all of life. The crónica was the precursor of literary journalism, and 19th century literature defined and produced culture / nation and was seen as a fountain of knowledge (see the Mercurio Peruano for instance). [This we all know of course because of Anderson and Sommer; they are not wrong]. What Latin America can teach the US, I said, is that multiculturalist projects and assimilationist projets started early on; the 90s multicuturalists seem not fullyi aware of this, I felt when I wrote this notebook, and it’s a point I might still make in the renovated Anzaldúa essay.
VARILLAS HAS A BOOK on periodismo in the history of Peru to 1850. (I kept talking about Hollinger, how looking at Lat. Am. work on race/ethnicity would belie his claims. I kept saying Sansone was wrong that criticism of Brazilian racism was all motivated by U.S. projection of itself into Brazil.)

6/ I was fascinated by John D. French, Nepantla 4.2 2003 and elsewhere, and wanted to get work by João José Reis and Rita Segato. French was defending Michael Hanchard. Bourdieu/Wacquant in that famous article echo Freyre and are actually behind current scholarship, seem unaware of it. Me: just because a particular racist practice cannot be analogized to US does not mean it is not a racist practice. Racism in Brazil is culturally distinct (see Sheriff).

7/ Da Silva: Winant’s notion of formation is socially and historically bounded: he thinks racial difference is real like sexual difference; he and Hanchard expect Afro-Brazilians to identify as black, as they do in the US, but blackness is not a single community in Brazil.  French: Bourdieu and Wacquant do NOT respect Brazilian scholarship on this matter, and they distort US scholarship — and in the name of anti-imperialist solidarity they align themselves with conservative positions in Brazil.

8/ More from French: black activists in B are not separatists but anti-discriminationists, and MNU did take symbols from the US and South Africa, but did not do so passively. Me: Sansone thinks whites can and should police what the MNU does. French: Bourdieu and Wacquant’s model is motivated by anxieties and subjectivities from France. Their characterization of Brazil and Brazilian intellectuals is false.

9/ Healy: Winant sees race as a universal category and this is the problem with him. The problem with Bourdieu and Wacquant is that they think attempts to give race primacy as an analytical category are necessarily an imposition of US categories. There’s also Lott, “Boomer liberalism” (Transition 78: 24-44): race and gender are some of the ways class is lived, and race may not be real but it is an effecdtive way of mobilizing.

10/ Me: Hollinger just believes in the melting pot, no matter how he dresses this up. Lott, “The new cosmopolitanism”: postethnicity is for people put off by the group solidarities of multiculturalism. Hollinger likes polyethnic identities so long as they can be transcended by cultural cohesion; postethnicity is liberal common sense; the idea of black selves as open-ended is NOT ENGAGÉ.

11/ Lott: The preference for the obviously biracial forgets that the BIG AJIACO IS AFRICAN AMERICA. AFRICAN AMERICA IS ALREADY HYBRID. Hollinger wants enlightened hybridism (113, 114); he wants to separate culture from politics; he, like Sansone, is more upset with the politicized identities the ethnoracial paradigm creates than the ugly history it seeks to come back. SOLLORS HAS A BOOK CALLED BEYOND ETHNICITY. And Walter Benn Michaels has one called OUR AMERICA! Transition 69 and 72 had articles I was interested in.






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The next meeting, and abstract


What is his agenda?
What did we say about ourselves in our self-study (can we see our self-study)?

Password for that organization


Abstract — things one cannot say

Is everything the fault of modernity, and if so, is it specifically the fault of Descartes? What are the exact problems, regarding this issue, with Hegel?
I think the issue is expansionism, and that predates the Enlightenment.
And I am NOT convinced it is all the fault of reason, or of science
Are there notes on this in my archives, from my old professor T.C.? This would help.

Budget for Austin (outrageous)

$100 dues
$140 registration
…and the beat will go on.


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Marinade for Korean steak

Sufficient for 5 to 7 pounds of beef: 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup rice wine or Mirim (can be found in Korean groceries, usually in the same aisle as vinegar and soy sauce), 1/3 cup honey, maple syrup or sweetener of choice (I use 1/4 cup turbinado sugar), one medium onion, a large handful of peeled garlic cloves, a teaspoon or more of black pepper, and one ripe pear (preferably half of a Korean pear — they are huge, but one Bartlett pear will do). Blend it all up in the blender. Add a few teaspoons of roasted sesame oil, the Korean kind. The stuff in the Whole Foods market type stores is horrible. Don’t blend after adding the oil — this time just stir. Add to the beef and let marinade in the fridge for a few hours — preferably overnight. It keeps for 48 hours in a pinch. Then just grill, broil in the oven, or pan fry in a hot cast iron skillet — don’t use any oil when pan frying and make sure to cook on only half the skillet surface or else the cast iron loses heat and the meat doesn’t cook up properly — it will lose all its juices. When I pan fry, I preheat the cast iron on high until it’s really really hot. Serve with lettuce to make lettuce wraps, and with kimchi, especially radish kimchi called ggakdugi.


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Ferreira da Silva

In my own work I have argued that, rather than marking a rejection (as the hegemonic writers of the nation advocated) or the denial (as their critics insist) of race (i.e. racial difference), miscegenation institutes a mode of racial subjection predicated upon the necessary obliteration of the racial subaltern subject.” (ca. 2005)

That sentence is important to me because when I had my first intuitions for this project I was disconcerted by the inability of conservative thinkers to think of difference and equality at once. This would be rejection of difference … and then, in the literary works I read, I kept seeing an obsession with racial categorization and hierarchization, and a simultaneous denial of this (I called it “denial of difference”).

I feel I saw what F. da S. sees but I need to make sure it is in fact the same thing.



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Republican and economic modernity

These are two different things and they don’t go together. That is important to note. I was going to write a blog post on that, as applied to the university.

1/ Where are we now? My university is one of the most neoliberalized (I think) although it mixes that with a certain homespun quality. We are not good at shared governance.

2/ Common wisdom is that people who are not active in shared governance are too demoralized, too busy, or too disengaged / self-absorbed. Many use the excuse that the world to which it corresponds is over now. Is that an excuse, or is it true?

3/ Colleague: our university was founded in 1999 as a corporation, and sought an identity. This is why old traditions had to be stopped and new ones brought in. Student: university since 1999 makes it clear to all that it wants students’ money first. Education is a secondary concern. This is impersonal, and disconcerting.

4/ The ideals of the 18th century revolutions: we would be democratic republicans, citizens of nations. My questions: is that possible if the nation state is ending, and must nations be culturally or racially homogeneous?


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La rentrée

1/ Martha Washington is related to the Fitzhughs my grandfather is related to, and one of these famously had children with slaves (I am assuming all the Washingtons did, but this was more famous/verified). See…/George-Washington-s-African-Ame…
2/ Now even the NYT has a 1619 Project and is talking about the plantation as the foundation of the country and of capitalism, although of this last I started thinking when I read Jack Weatherford in the 80s and I am sure he was not the first to say it. See…/14/magaz…/slavery-capitalism.html…
3/ My whole project has to do with the half-failed attempts to ignore this biracial and multiracial reality, the effort to create white / Europe-oriented nations yet call them inclusive.
4/ 2019 is the 400th anniversary of US slavery but 2018 is the 500th of the Spanish decree justifying…


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I truly resent Chrome and Firefox demanding your phone number or other information if you try to open e-mail at the public library; I have never given them my number nor do I feel they are justified in expecting me to even have a telephone. I do not believe their requirements exist for my own protection. I don’t use the Google search engine and now I am going to drop gmail. I think I will go with kolab. What do you use?


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Ho Chi Minh 1924

It is well-known that the spread of capitalism and the discovery of the New World had as an immediate result the rebirth of slavery.


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Ginzburg, Melville

The July 29 New Yorker has a beautiful article about Natalia Ginzburg, who is wonderful, and a fascinating one about Melville. Ginzburg: imagination is stronger when you are happy – suffering makes the imagination weak and lazy – drowning in emotions, and in particular, in pain is NOT what women writers should do. This is in the 1949 essay “My vocation” and the author notes that Woolf said something very similar in AROOO. Melville themes: whiteness, race, family romance, and insanity. I love Melville and this article.


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The new outline


1. The national novels are disturbing for what they do with incest, race, death [originary violence, romance of origins]
2. They’ve become nat. novels and also, under influence of Jameson & then Sommer, been read as nat. allegories
3. At that point the 1920s/30s national projects, which reflect some letrado discourse from further back (e.g. Bolívar), get projected back into the said novels
4. But these happy readings, about progress, don’t fit with actual policy — nor with the texts themselves
5. The texts aren’t always about forjando patria, but are diasporic, fragmented, fragmenting, exhibiting fissures, intimating failure
6. A novel like C.V. is about the impossibility of foundational discourse, or at least a foundational discourse based on mestizaje, progress, liberal principles
7. In fact such novels – Sab, María, C.V., others – may be about the prevention of solutions and the preservation or reinstallation of hierarchies
8. Indeed, this fits historically, because the earlier 19th century was the era of republican modernity, and in the second half things get much more conservative
9. This ambivalence is what the novels embody and manifest.

II [This needs development]

1. One of the key ways in which they embody and manifest this ambivalence is via “evoke and elide” – do we want to acknowledge and address the race problem, or not? F. da Silva can help us think about this, because

a/ she has a sophisticated way of talking about production of the L.A. subject
[showing why it NEEDS to be racially unstable/ambivalent]
b/ it explains why what I am calling “evoke and elide” keeps happening — shows that it actually is important, central, the formation of discourse on race in L.A.

*note: her theory of the L.A. subject isn’t just the criollo or the entre-lugar, it is more precise
*note: for her, mestizaje is real but is not a solution
*note: what is interesting about her is that she is looking at a global theory of race, so is not looking to claim L.A. or BR exceptionalism, but is looking at specificity
*note: as we know, she says race is a constituent element in modernity/coloniality & as such is not going away [this is going to have to be explained, but how much will I have to summarize and justify, is the question]
*[what was I saying, in the café, about overdetermination?]

***VERY important note: because modernity is coloniality and depends on race, we don’t get to iron race out of modernity: so when we look at things from her paradigm, we can see what is really happening without asking ourselves to see progress or a linear/single/facile narrative***

I have to keep working on this, there is so much to it. KEY: these texts are not talking about mestizo nation but transnational racial state — diasporic, regional, all of it at the same time. Historians are thinking this way about the continent and we should consider whether the literature is doing the same thing, in its way of engaging/producing national discourse / civic space / identity / etc.


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