Saturday, April 30, 2005

TV consumption

some days (particularly saturdays) i just need to take in hours of mindless TV. it isn't until i can literally feel the brain cells start to fall away that i will get up and start my day. so far today i've watched:

-tennis: Kim Clijsters v. Svetlana Kuznetsova the J&S Cup Warsaw, Poland.
-Vh1's top 20 countdown
-the last 15 minutes of Shallow Grave
-a few minutes of each morning show
-a few minutes of the Travel Channel's Haunted London
-a few minutes of MTv's Made

it feels like it has been years since i've actually seen music videos--more than one in a row, in their entirety. maybe that is because they don't really show them anymore. it scares me a little--how sucked-in i am by the frangmented images and flashing lights. i can just stare at the screen--slightly comatose. plus i've been so detached and distanced from what is popular in pop music these days. i feel as though it used to be the center of my universe for so feels a little weird to not know who the killers are. or not to know that gwen stefani ain't a hollaback girl.... maybe i'm better off....

now i really need to "get serious." it is the end of the semester, after all.

Friday, April 22, 2005

postponed exam girl:(

So it is official. I met with my committee yesterday. I won't be taking my exams in two weeks as originally planned. I am just not ready. I want to write and articulate more about this lack of "readiness," but for now I just need to retreat a bit. I need to take care of some grading and go see FeverPitch. Then maybe I can start to sort things and elsewhere.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

no academic "fun" for the exam girl

Today the CHATS conference is going on at SUNY. I'm feeling a little left out. I'd love to be there, but I need to have an revised outline of my dissertation chapters out to Rosemary and Bret by tomorrow evening, and I have stacks of student papers just waiting for my attention. Sometimes it is so hard to balance. I was at the "kick-off" of the conference last night for the JAWBONE reading, which I hosted, with readers Kazim Ali and Judy Johnson. The reading was followed by a fabulous round-table discussion on (inter)disciplinarity and the public sphere--organized, in part, by my wonderful friend Tara. It was a wonderful experience of interacting with friends and strangers--graduate students from both across the country and the oceans. Tonight everyone will be at DeJohn's for Judith Johnson's second reading of the weekend, "What ‘Is’ Is When there is no ‘There’ There." Again, I'll be home grading papers on 1984. But I'm not bitter.... No, but I am grateful that I was part of last night's discussion, even if I didn't actually participate--'cuz the heart races and the sweat formulates. No, I just come home and talk my girlfriend's ear off as she falls into sleep.

consumer/producer and re/production (texts)

Many composition scholars (and others in education, cultural studies, etc.) have argued for the goal of changing students from passive consumers to active participants in the writing classroom (and their educational process as a whole). "They" have made it sound as though, if we remove students from their role as consumer, we have somehow found "the answer" (to a more informed, thoughtful citizenry; a more decentered, and therefore, less "corporate" or capitalistic classroom). Some, Alan France, among them, have argued that student texts need to become "something" more tangible, more purposeful than simply a grade in the gradebook. He argues for the publication of students texts. And yet, taking them out of that consumer role (which ultimately is actually impossible--they *are* paying for these classes; we are being paid to teach them) and "empowering" them or "centering" them, is only to put them in a new role within the University setting--that of the worker (which they also were always already--it's just a matter of emphasis). So for me, this is not simply a question of consumer or producer, it is a question of re/production.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

foreign language translation exam

I just got home from the taking the required foreign translation exam. I think my brain has about reached the saturation point for today, and yet I can't stop thinking, planning, printing, writing, e-mailing, etc. I guess that is kind of a good thing, though I feel like my productivity must be a wee bit on the shabby side at this point. I have a very full day ahead of me tomorrow, including a meeting with Bret to go over the revision of my outline for my dissertation chapters. I should get ironing and organizing. But no, I want to say more about the exam. I think that my reader will have an entertaining experience, as there are complete sentences in there that make NO SENSE. non sense. nonsense. I "translated" two pages entitled "Madame Bovary ou Le Livre sur Rien." This is lit. stuff that I can't even understand in English, much less French. *Sigh* At least I now have a general idea of what I'm in for, and maybe I can work with a tutor over the summer.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

textual identities

In studying the noticeable silence within composition studies surrounding class as a writing/classroom issue, I've become hyper-aware (neurotically maybe) of this little classification system found on the back upper left-hand cover of books. I'm not sure if there is a name for this bizarre, seemingly arbitrary labeling system, nor do I understand who chooses the categories. What system is used for this? But I do find it interesting...:

Bruce Horner's Terms of Work for Composition: A Materialist Critique = "Literary Criticism": This is one of the few books that actually argues for a correlation between the teaching of writing and the material conditions of that teaching/writing. He does not shy away from concepts of labor, work, and class (even if the Library of Congress subject headings do). Yet, this book, that clearly addresses composition within its title is classified (somehow, somewhere, by somebody) as lit. crit. ?

??? Where/when does the split happen between socioeconomic? As in, when is it "just" social? When is it "just" economic? I only ask this--driven by the Library of Congress subject headings that simply refer to the book as addressing "social aspects" and "social conditions"--What does that mean???

Donna LeCourt's Identity Matters: Schooling the Student Body in Academic Discourse = "Education": While LeCourt, focuses on identity politics in a more general sense that Horner does, her text still manages to address "class" issues. She even labels herself as working class and writes from that perspective. But again, while the book is devoted to the subject of writing and the writing classroom, its "identity" is not aligned with composition.

Lisa Ede's Situating Composition: Composition Studies and Politics of Location< = "Rhetoric and Composition": Indeed Ede's text proudly professes, in the upper-left-hand corner of the back cover, to be a text situated within the field of rhetoric and composition. Ede who begins the book by making claims about situating composition materially does not mention class, economics, materialism, Raymond Williams, Karl Marx (and here I am generalizing, but still...). Whatever sort of materiality she is writing from, within, or about is never made explicit.

Am I just a conspiracy theorist here? Maybe. But I doubt it. Something is up.