Monthly Archives: February 2020

Discerning darkness

Inspired by a Nation article on Toni Morrison: white literature is sprinkled with racial eruptions, that we are not supposed to see. But they are there to remind us that we are not the ones who will suffer from capitalism / colonialism / slavery. As noted, we are trained not to see them, but if we don’t look away, they are very revealing.

Should this be a title of or in my book? That discerning eye refers to the eye of the criollo who must notice the presence of the racial other so as to ward it off, keep it in its place, before it infiltrates and establishes equality. So you want to see them coming, but then look away from what their presence really means. It seems that in white literature the goal is not to see in the first place, but those others are so much closer in Latin America, or so much harder to distinguish from oneself, that one must actually look and watch out, and take preventive measures against power, but not tell anyone you have done this, so that it can appear you did not see / did not need to see. I have to work this out, but it is very interesting.

In news of Reeducation, I have this strange sensation that the spell has lifted. It is amazing–magical.


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Filed under Race book

Rubén Medina

I have to read that old Robert Young book, Colonial Desire. I never did.

Meanwhile, Rubén Medina is a smart person I met randomly at one MLA early on, and who has been smart since. I need to find an old article of his, “Gloria Anzaldúa: The Politicsand Poetics of Mestizaje”, in Crítica: A Journal of Critical Essays (Primavera,1998): 73–85. This is from his 2008 piece.

Gloria Anzaldúa and mestizaje as self-fashioning

+ People think of hybridity as transgressive, but it isn’t always, as Gruzinski has pointed out (in the first half of the piece Medina talked in detail about the colonial history of mestizaje and about Vasconcelos).

+ Pnina Werbner notes the lack of a “process-based” theory of hybridity in critics like Hall, Bhabha and Gilroy. These critics only recognize that heteroglossia opposes monologism. There are a number of questions to be asked here.

+ on 119, Medina agrees with me: the mixing Anzaldúa, and others emphasize is between a subaltern and hegemonic, not among subalterns. An example in the U.S. is that many Chicanos “mix” with people of other races; Anzaldúa is working on the Mexican, the idealized indigenous, and the Anglo.

+ A. uses the mestizaje model in one way, to promote post-structuralist, constantly reforming, interculturality, and then in an aspirational, individualist way, to self-fashion, to imagine another way of being/world. Medina asks: how do you get from here to there?

+ For instance: can you disentangle elements of a culture to form one of your own?  How do you get from the material/historical circumstances of nation to utopia (as a scene of desire) to design a culture of your own, outside discourse and daily life? How will the subalterns do this and can they really tolerate contradictions, in the way the author would like?


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Filed under Borderlands, Race book

Le calvinisme et le travail

Yesterday this illness I have had came upon me again and I wanted to go to sleep for the night at 7:17 PM. I said: you cannot do that, you must read at least one article and answer one e-mail, it won’t be too much. But it took me until after midnight to really read the article because it was a bit long and I was going slowly because I was so tired, and I didn’t get to the e-mail. And then I was so TRULY exhausted that I slept most of the morning. Moral: Calvinism is not only bad for you, it is inefficient. A pox upon that Benjamin Moses Bary for turning into Matveevich, converting, and getting so Calvinistic. He did his children no good by it, nor me.

This, once again, is why I am opposed to academic advice. The neoliberalism of it and the Calvinism.


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Filed under Da Whiteman, Working

The neoliberal self

This is the key to my article “Language and the entrepreneurial university.” How did we get here without realizing it? I saw the signs of it in the 70s and then 80s, and I felt the change happening in the 90s and early 00s but did not understand it, although I had a couple of realizations. Books were coming out on it by then and I read good review essays on them, yet somehow did not connect them directly to my own experience. Even the 2008 crisis did not get me to understand, really. It took my experience on Faculty Senate in 2012-2013, watching how power was flowing and what kind of decisions were being made, to truly understand. How did we get here without fully realizing what road we were walking down? I have been wondering. It is that neoliberalism has these technologies of hiding what it’s doing by recreating you within it. I’d been thinking it was working by euphemism but there is more.


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Filed under ALFS presentation, ULS Presentation, What Is A Scholar?, Working