Monday, 19 November 2007

Because I'm Hormonal, More "Classic" Acephalous: Who's Important Enough to Write in Your Books ... (I've written or revised fifteen posts the past two days but lack the nerve to post them. No doubt I'm developing a complex which will end in utter silence. But what else can I do? Adam ain't posted either lately [no doubt for better reason]. I could be introspective about this sudden involuntary reticence, but who knows what I'd find in the heart of fear. [Certainly nothing worth blogging.] I'm sure I'll recover soon enough from whatever this is ... unless this is THE END. You know, THE MOMENT when you can no longer speak for sake of meaning. But I don't think I'm on the point of silencing myself. [Yet.] This probably has more to do with my being hormonal because I've been without levothyroxine for two weeks now [THANKS THIEVING LIBRARY!] and that's three times TMI and I'm going to shut it now. Enjoy the rewind and pray for rain.) My copy of Hardt and Negri's Empire has an interesting history. It begins in 2000, the year of its initial publication, when Jim Ziegler (since tenure-tracked somewhere) and I were discussing it in the "TA lounge," a.k.a. the round table in front of the graduate student mailboxes ... which the faculty use as a short-cut between the main English department office and the primary graduate seminar room. (And why shouldn't they? It's their department.) So Jim and I are idly chatting about Empire when Julia Lupton walks up, pauses, greets us, says something to Jim (I'm deaf, remember?) and then hurries off. (Julia's an important person around UCI—a model academic whose standards I fail daily to live up to—she's always hurrying somewhere, and with good reason.) Point being: Julia and Jim exchange words both assumed I could hear. I couldn't, but as I often do in such situations, I nodded my head and pretended to hear all. So when Jim's email arrived later that afternoon asking me what times worked best for me, I had no clue what he was talking about. I related my schedule. "Perfect," he responded. "I'll get right on it." "Get right on it?" I thought to myself. "Get right on what?" Turns out everyone rightly pegged Jim as (but mistook me for) the resident Hardt & Negri expert, and that I was now the co-coordinator of the faculty-dominated Empire reading group. You heard me correctly: a first year, in his second quarter, was assumed expert enough in the Hardt & Negri corpus to lead a faculty-dominated reading group. (In retrospect I realize the faith Julia placed in Jim was well-founded, and her willingness to defer to a graduate student on the topic a sign that she practiced the egalitarianism she preached. But I digress.) So I participated in this reading group with Jim, Julia and a host of imposing faculty members like Mark Poster and Andrzej Warminski. One of the highlights of my first year, I tell you. Time passes. The year is 2005. It is Spring Quarter. I haven't thought about Empire...

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