[The introduction to a current project:] There is something nomadic about Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day (2006). While the novel, so far Pynchon’s longest, takes place in a specific context—the Progressive Era in America up to the chaos of World War I—it nonetheless moves back and forth across space—across America, the globe, and beyond, including
In “This Sex Which Is Not One” (an essay in the book of the same title), Luce Irigaray critiques the masculine conception of feminine/female sexuality and proposes descriptions that come from a woman. Irigaray explains that within female sexuality, an opposition is set up “between ‘masculine’ clitoral activity and ‘feminine’ vaginal passivity” in which “the
[The Berkeley Free Speech movement; Image from The Berkeley Daily Planet] In the section of the essay of the book of the same title, Jean-Luc Nancy explicates his notion of being singular plural. Composed of three words that, as Nancy describes, “do not have any determined syntax (‘being’ is a verb or noun; ‘singular’ and
[An example of a signifier that différance slides] [Presented in François Raffoul’s class on Contemporary French Philosophy at LSU in the fall of 2008; contains his additions and corrections] Jacques Derrida begins the essay “Différance” (perhaps the most systematic articulation of the non-concept that, according to Derrida, he “ha[s] been able to utilize” in previous
I have just passed my comprehensive exam for my MA in Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University. The area of focus is critical theory, specifically Marxism, psychoanalysis, and Foucault and Deleuze. I thought I would pose my responses to the first two parts of the exam (the third and last part being the oral defense).
[A demagogue; Image from Teaching American History] What is a regime of signs? A semiotic machine, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari state in A Thousand Plateaus. In “On Several Regimes of Signs,” they call Ferdinand de Saussure’s structuralist linguistic of the sign—the linguistic system that privileges the signifier and its signifying function—semiology—but one regime of
I’ve been hiding in the forest, in the woods. Up in the mountains. In the wild. I hadn’t gone back to town for some time now. Ryan, as I see, has taken care of this place. He proves, as always, responsible and competent. Ever mindful of the many unhomes that, fortunately or otherwise, we share.
[Image from masternewmedia.org] [Continues "The Surge"] As the war effort was going on abroad, another war was being waged at home: the war of information, with the news media at the forefront. Frontline chronicles how the mainstream media was used by the White House to help build its case for war in Iraq. The media,
It has been a common thing in academic circles to talk about the travails of scholars-in-training (i.e. graduate students) in the field of the humanities, most notably in the “superfluous” concentrations of philosophy, literature, history, anthropology . . . (where scholars-in-training spend at least seven years of their “most productive lives” (their twenties) reading books
In delineating the unconscious as the (no longer merely psychic, as in Freud, but Symbolic (social?)) repository, as it were, of repressed elements, Jacques Lacan stresses that the rules (the Law) these elements are subject to (that determine the shape, as it were, of the unconscious, what it looks like, what’s in there, what happens