Posts Tagged ‘theory’
I have been unable to kick my ass into gear these past few days. I have so many readings and yet I find myself going home, sleeping, or sitting around in a daze. It’s not a good habit to develop into.
I am currently reading Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. I find it appropriate that I am reading this in the same week that President Obama will be sworn into office. We are examining the ways in which America conceives of masculinity.
Hamlet for my Psychoanalysis and Early Modern Drama course is looming along with Lacanian Psychoanalytic criticism. Sure there is some random theory for my various other courses that I am ignoring. Ugh, off to read I go. Cheers.
Judith Butler (born February 24, 1956) is an American post-structuralist philosopher, who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics. She ist he Maxine Elliot professor in the Departs of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Butler received her PH.D. in philosophy from Yale University in 1984, and her dissertation was subsequently published as Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France. In the late-1980s, different teaching/research appointments (such as at the Humanities Center at John Hopkins University), she was involved in “post-structuralist” efforts within Western feminist theory to question the “presuppositional terms” of feminism. Her most recent work focuses on Jewish philosophy, engaging in particular with “pre-zionist criticisms of state violence.”
Now that you have a proper biography of who and where Butler is writing from, I urge you to please check out the following link. This essay/e-mail has been floating around the net through various Academic circles the past week or so. It offers a very critical analysis of what the current U.S. Election signifies about our society and the many implications of how people voted: their theologies, politics, etc.
The past two years since I’ve engaged in more serious literary criticism and with the introduction of theory to my repertoire, I find that the entire world has been opened up to me. Sometimes I struggle with this knowledge because all too often I find that the great writers I’ve been exposed to raise ideas and issues that are ignored or skirted around.
Hmm, let me explain a bit more. There is a disconnect in the way our society should be, according to the “big” ideas and theory that these writers discuss and introduce, and the way that our society functions. I realize that these theorists are not without their own faults and criticism, but often they do introduce correctives and ideas that we as a society should be implementing, and yet more often than not, we tend to just listen to these writers, these theorists, nod our heads and say, “Yes, that is interesting, but I doubt that we’ll be able to set these things in motion…..blah, blah, blah” and then a series of excuses grounded in economics and feasibility are used to deter us from engaging with these issues.
I’ve been reading Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault and sometimes it just pains me to see that not much has really changed in our society since they’ve raised some of their concerns and theories. It frustrates me to know that such greatness is overlooked. Yes, I’m reading them and acknowledging their thoughts and ideas; as such I have power to implement them in my everyday life, and I guess that is the point but it’s still difficult to look around and see so much of the world ignore these ideas.
There is a Canadian Poet/Writer/Theorist that we just read in our Environmental Writing course. Erin and I just presented on him last week, also wrote our term papers on him. Don McKay is a poet, writer that everyone should check out. We wrote and presented on “Vis a Vis”, a selection of essays on nature and poetry as well as his theory about our relationship to the environment. I’ll briefly explain some of his thoughts, keep in mind I’ve been writing and talking about him for two weeks now and I’m a bit tired of him, not to say I dislike him, just exhausted on the “materiel”, so what follows is pretty basic and reductive. If you do like what I’ve written below and have some interest, please check him out, he’s a fascinating writer. Koop, I’m talking to you brother…I know you’ll love him.
He has this rather interesting idea. What he defines as “Materiel” (notice the spelling, not to be confused with material). Essentially it is any “thing” that we use up, use up in the extent that we as humans go so far as to even deny “it” the possibility of death. For example, consider an island that has been used to experiment upon for nuclear testing. After we have used this island, what is left? We have denied it the possibility of it naturally eroding, it’s social use and utility have been taken from it, it can no longer even return to nature or the environment from which it came, it has lost its “wilderness/wildness”.
The example he uses in a very figurative and literal way is this bird that he finds dangling from a fence wrapped in baler twine. McKay was taking a walk one day and then found himself confronted with this dead raven wrapped in twine hanging on a fence. The raven he sees has clearly been shot, not for any hunting purpose or ecological study, just shot, and to make it worse it has then been displayed as this symbol, but for what? The human that did this has denied death to this raven.
Kinda depressing eh… Well he resolves his essay by asking us to pay attention, “poetic attetentiveness” is what he wants, for us to understand our place in the world, to understand that language is a system we create in order to understand an “other” nature that is in essence written in its own language system.
There is nothing wrong in going out and finding inspiration while walking in the woods, but to turn that inspiration inwards, like Romantic poets such as: Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, etc… the poetry ends up becoming about the man, about the poet, this is not what we want. Let nature inspire you, be aware that any environment in which you find yourself in has a sense of “wilderness/wildness” in it.
As I said, I’m reducing much of his theory, mostly because I’m exhausted on the theory itself, but I do love his work enough to want to share it with you, my friends. (Fuck, now I sound like John McCain. Anyways, go out and find a copy of this or any of his other work for that matter. He’s an interesting ecologist/writer/poet. Very concerned with our connections to nature and the implications of this relationship.
…another school year friendos. For those interested, this first term I’ll be taking four courses.
Structuralist & Post Structuralist Theory, Writing the Environment, Old Norse, and Medieval Collections & Social Control.
It’s a fair bit of work, but I think I can manage to stay afloat. While I will be working a full work week the way I’ve been working this past summer, there is some good news. I will only occasionally *knocks on wood* have to take the night audit shift. Last year I was working night audit every weekend and a full term of courses as well, so things have improved, at least this year I shall be able to achieve some normal sleep cycles.
As far as this week goes, I’ve already been given some assignments: yay for Nietzsche and “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”.
I will probably be posting in a more relaxed manner as the school year begins, maybe not as regularly, but with occasional moments of fervor and energy as blogging for me is a release of stress, so as horrible as it is, I’ll probably blog more when my readings and assignments really start to thicken as this is a nice and convenient way of avoiding that work.
Well, see you around kiddos. Cheers.