Lessons in Time and Space

•2012.01.15 • Leave a Comment

The first two weeks of 2012 have been incredibly busy.
New year, new job, new casa, new everything.
One of the things that becomes ever more apparent to me is how fortunate I am to work with such incredibly committed and intelligent people. Committed as I am to helping to direct and expand the Drop Knowledge Project, I aim to hand off control over content to my many collaborators.

I want to write deeply about the project, about our initial reach, our connectivity and future trajectories. Together with the DKPNYC research participants, I aim to add to the histories we think we know, to offer counter-narratives, and to articulate ourselves into yet uncharted spaces.

At the same time, I’m filling up my days with all kinds of fascinating and unexpected conversations with 7th graders. The more we dialogue in the language of the past tense and the kinetic future, the easier it is to imagine a peaceable movement of visionary ethicists young and old.

On Becoming New Again

•2012.01.04 • Leave a Comment

I started this blog draft about midnight the morning of January 31st, figuring I should give myself a few days to let my ideas settle in and then find time to revise the brief word tsunami.

New Year’s is my favorite holiday. Some wise people I know prefer Halloween (for the chance to be someone else for a night), but I like the feeling of being me and getting fresh and clean. Becoming new again.

This coming year is about striking balance. Nietzsche introduced the gods Apollo and Dionysus as the two figures whose opposed forces balanced each other out in the creation of art. Apollo as the principled god, whose uprightness is found in plasticity – such as in the work of sculpture and pottery. Dionysus exists past the “measured restraint” of Apollo, and is associated with the non-representative arts of poetry and music.  To have aesthetic harmony and continuity, I take Nietzsche’s dualistic notion into a poststructuralist realm, always trying to both maintain Apollonian ethics while shattering past the restraints of plasticity in ways that are full of Dionysian revelry.

To quote Nietzsche on the value of philosophy (or seeking wisdom) in the new year:

“Philosophy, as I have hitherto understood and lived it, is a voluntary living in ice and high mountains – a seeking after everything strange and questionable in existence, all that has hitherto been excommunicated by morality.”

Visions Of Emma Goldman

•2011.12.29 • Leave a Comment

As I paused from revising my writing, I decided to peer into the work of Patti Lather. Lather is an incredibly compelling poststructuralist (she might say postcritical) researcher in the field of education. She teaches at Ohio State University and wrote an excellent book in 2007 called Getting Lost: Feminist Efforts toward a Double(d) Science.

As I think about how I will organize my dissertation into a final draft with an eye towards publication (I’m looking at you AK Press), I frequently turn to writers like Lather, like Linda Tuhiwai Smith and others who work to decolonize the methodologies of the social sciences. Check out the table of contents below to get a sense of Lather’s deeply playful intertextual inquiry in “Getting Lost.”  I can’t wait to see what rhizomatic revisions this re-reading inspires me to create tonight as I return to my own chapters.

 

  • Chapter One: Shifting Imaginaries in the Human Sciences: A Feminist Reading
  • Interlude: Excerpted interview with Patti Lather
  • Chapter Two: Methodology as Subversive Repetition: Practices Toward a Feminist Double(d) Science
  • Interlude: Naked Methodology
  • Chapter Three: Double(d) Science, Mourning and Hauntology: Scientism, Scientificity, and Feminist Methodology
  • Interlude: If We Held a Reunion, Would Anyone Come?
  • Chapter Four: Textuality as Praxis: With Ears to Hear the Monstrous Text
  • Interlude: Excerpted Email Updates
  • Chapter Five: Applied Derrida: (Mis)reading the work of Mourning in Social Research
  • Interlude: Deja Vu All Over Again: Feminism, Postmodernism, and the Educational Left
  • Chapter Six: Fertile Obsession: Validity after Poststructuralism
  • Interlude: Dear Elliot, August 1996-November 1997
  • Chapter Seven: Postbook: Working the Ruins of Feminist Ethnography
  • Interlude: The Angel to Philosophy of Science

Wishing You Joy and Peace In The New Year

•2011.12.28 • Leave a Comment

 

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

Poetic Standoff

•2011.12.28 • 2 Comments

I met with a DKP youth activist participant tonight at a poetry party in downtown New York. It was a cafe with a very rich history in the cultural worlds of New York artists and writers. I arrived at the spot with a copy of Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which I received for Christmas  and recommend to anyone who wants to read a punk rock New York memoir.

Our conversation was amazing, and you will meet her more in the coming weeks. But what I found most noteworthy tonight were the series of events that occurred at the end of the show. I rolled in about twenty minutes before the end of the show, anticipating a gallery opening and finding a poetry slam instead. Approaching 7 o’clock, the performers were warned to bring the show to a close. When the hour arrived, the performers were shut down. The two men on the stage wanted to drop one more poetic riff, but the bartender wouldn’t have it. He called to the tech to cut the microphones.

There was silence. The audience stood motionless a moment, awaiting the next move. Would there be a riot, a shouting match, or worse? People looked around nervously. Then the performer began his piece without a microphone. The singular, silent sound of his voice was inspiring and frightening. Probably 30 seconds in, he forgot the words. He said he needed the music to help him move with it. The bartender stepped up to the mic, explained that there was another show going on exactly then, and officially brought the poetic event to an applause-free close.

I would’ve liked to have arrived earlier so I could’ve known what the vibe was like all night. I can respect the need to bring the event to an end to keep the night moving. Still, I couldn’t help but think about #occupy. Why do people shut each other out of spaces with such malicious force? What is the real impetus behind the urges towards control, management, and containment? How powerful is the human voice to capture an audience and communicate a message even when amplification systems have been cut off – or outlawed?

Future Tracks

•2011.12.26 • Leave a Comment

Meetings with DKP youth all week!

Couldn’t be more excited.

What an excellent way to ring in the new year.

We’re just getting started, and these are some of the most elequent activist youth I’ve ever met.

Can’t wait to see where we go from here!

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Precarity

•2011.12.17 • Leave a Comment

I went down to Liberty Square at Zuccotti Park tonight for a teach-in conducted by youth climate activists organizing for #FutureWeWant. When I arrived, a little after 5pm, I was struck by one overwhelming fact: the hyper-militarized state of the streets. There were still some youth activists out from today’s actions around the city, and I wish I had been able to see more of them get on the mic. Their voices are a powerful force in the struggle for climate justice and a sustainable future. But what I saw mostly was an incredible amount of police, many dozens of weapons, and countless gates blocking off access to public streets.

I had been down to this spot a number of times since September. For a location that has served as the central landmark to so many #occupy battles, I expected to see a viable presence on the street. At least a few dozen people on the steps. But the steps were gated off. There were intermittent protesters enclosed in metal cattle shoots. One of them gave me a copy of “tidal,” a journal of occupy theory and strategy published by Occupy Media. But overall, it was getting cold, dark, and empty.

Maybe I should have perhaps been just as struck by the countless New Yorkers and tourists who were streaming by me, taking photographs of tall buildings or hurrying home on rush hour subways from their long work days. But I couldn’t get over how full of NYPD the sidewalk surrounding the square had become. Was the threat of youth climate activists so great that they had to put in pedestrian check points?

The two pictures below show the square on September 30th and tonight, December 16. What will #D17 bring?