Instead of blogging on the road, I did some light editing on my book (oh yeah, that) and wrote two position papers for the upcoming conference at the University of Virginia: “Connections: Media Studies and the New Interdisciplinarity.” They’re both pretty fast and loose, though, so they’re perfect for a blog.
As I sometimes say before delivering my talks, “this is work in progress, but please comment upon it as if I fervently believe every word.”
Plenary paper: The Work of Communication Studies (or, It’s Good Work If You Can Get It)
History panel paper: The Times of Communication History
I like all this very much, but I am particularly interested in numbers 1 and 7.
Re 1: The MLA has been hashing over the issue of publishing standards for several years now, and the conversations have been very enlightening, but I feel like said conversations don’t really get engaged when the rubber hits the road, as it were–in tenure and promotion deliberations.
Re 7: The absence of a vision for alternative institutions amongst radical academics is truly disturbing. Very often I feel like critiques of a given institution become a critique of institutions themselves–the idea that, since institutions (necessarily) foreclose on some practices by enabling others, they are inherently oppressive, and thus must be resisted. I was at a Cultural Studies conference a year or two ago where I heard a very smart paper that nonetheless spent much of its time disparaging the idea that we should ask of various “resistive” practices how they might lead to alternative institutions–as if this itself was an oppressive demand. (And, as if this was the dominant mode of left cultural criticism, rather than the celebration of resistance. Not that I don’t celebrate resistance. But we need to do more than that.)
Anyway, enjoy Charlottesville! I would recommend restaurants, but they have either closed since I was last there, or are heavily meatatarian in their cuisine.
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