Friend, former bandmate, political blogger and — oh yes — Paterno Family Professor of English Michael Berube has just edited a new book called The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies, including essays by yours truly, Steven Rubio, Rita Felski, Laura Kipnis), and a cavalcade of other clever people.
And here’s a story to go with it:
Back in February 1999, I was a fresh(er) young PhD interviewing at the University of Pittsburgh for a job in the Communication Department. A number of my then-future (now former) colleagues are interested in aesthetics of various sorts. It’s a thing in rhetorical studies. Anyway, on the interview I found myself in one person’s office being asked whether I think aesthetics is making a comeback. We chatted about it, and I said that if it’s really coming back into vogue for academics to make judgements, I’m all for us trying to figure out the good and the true, but I draw the line at the beautiful.
I still do (go to a conference and look at how we all dress before you challenge me on this one), but I’ve since rethought a few other things — which led to my essay for the book. The other fun thing about it is that I directly rip off Hayden White (“The Burden of History”) at the beginning.
The apartment is relatively clean, parents are asleep and so is Carrie. I wish I was, but hey, at least it’s a chance to blog. I don’t mind waking up thinking about stuff, but I’d rather that it were at like 11am.