These ruminations arose in response to America's war on terrorism. I started from the conviction that there is no response to war. War is a cruel caricature of what in us can respond. You cannot be answerable to war. Yet one cannot remain silent. Out of the imperative or compulsion to speak, then, two questions: What are some already existing responses? And, how respond in the face of the impossibility of response? When I thus assigned myself the agency of response, my institutionally validated agency kicked in. I am a teacher of the humanities. In the humanities classroom begins a training for what may produce a criticism that can possibly engage a public sphere deeply hostile to the mission of the humanities when they are understood as a persistent attempt at an uncoercive rearrangement of desires, through teaching reading. Before I begin, I would like to distinguish this from the stockpiling of apparently political, tediously radical, and often narcissistic descriptions, according to whatever is perceived to be the latest Euro-US theoretical trend, that we bequeath to our students in the name of public criticism. Uncoercive rearrangement of desires, then; the repeated effort in the classroom. Thus I found myself constructed as a respondent. . . .
Friday, January 02, 2009
Abstract of the Week!