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11 November 2009 @ 06:24 pm
 
Kaja Silverman was giving a talk introducing her new book yesterday and she reminded me of some of the essentials of scholarship (even though I'm not sure if she intended to):
  • love the texts you're working on
  • if you do what you do will have meaning
  • don't forget the theory; and Freud may have gotten everything wrong but he's useful
I first read her Subject of Semiotics in Earl Jackson's Theory 101 class at Santa Cruz.  I'd failed the Theory 101 class I'd taken the quarter before and I thought I hated theory.  Then we read this book, along with Earl's warning that we weren't going to understand anything we read until at least a week after we read it -- but that we needed to do the reading anyway.  That, and the talking we did in the class that I often felt was over my head but ... just over it, so I could kind of reach that level sometimes, made me realize that I kind of love theory.  I love the idea that someone out there wants to talk about meaning, and that there are different ways to figure it out, different guides, different scaffolds.  And we're all operating under those scaffolds anyway, so we may as well know about 'em.

(ok, that's probably the subject of a much longer post, because it's a gut feeling and something I have a little trouble articulating, but the basic premise is that honestly? we all employ theory all the time to make most of our judgements, we just pretend we don't).

And today I am beginning to freak out for intellectual reasons.  The new school is a great environment, and I'm getting to work with someone whose work totally excites me, but on the other hand I'm feeling a little lost at this moment in time.  I have two 20-page papers due in a couple of weeks and I have absolutely NO idea what it is I want to write for either of them.  Some vague notion of new media in Japan, and some vague idea about post-war Japanese film and that's all I've got. 

On the way home I realized that part of my trouble is that I'm not speaking intellectually to anyone in my field right now.  Oh, the girls in my cohort are nice, but they're all in slightly different areas (hello classical Chinese linguistics, do you care about my stuff? do i care about yours? not for paper writing/discussion).  I've got to try tomorrow to meet with my advisor and figure out what direction I'm taking this semester.  It's overdue, and I think I let the fact that she and I are not getting along like houses on fire sort of distract me.  Just because we don't get each other doesn't mean I shouldn't talk with her about these things.

I know.  *hangs head* figuring out this whole business seems like it's long overdue.  I can't believe the semester is done in like two weeks.
 
 
 
EB: Queen of the Social Lepers: i <3 uelizabuffy on November 12th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
OMFG! You are way busy. No wonder you feel over your head at times.

I, too, love theory. There's just something about it that draws me in. I think it's the fact that it's not necessarily 1+1=2 that I like about it.

~e!
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on November 12th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
i completely agree with you! well, and that it wants to know why and how you decided adding was a good idea ;)
Taraelementalv on November 12th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
love the texts you're working on
if you do what you do will have meaning
don't forget the theory


Given that I keep managing to work fan fiction into my schoolwork at least once a semester, I think I've got these covered.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on November 12th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
emotionally i'm right there with you - that's part of the reason why working with henry jenkins is a boon and evil at the same time...
Taraelementalv on November 12th, 2009 09:59 am (UTC)
You get to work with Henry Jenkins? I am SO. FREAKIN'. JEALOUS!
my monkied brain: xander - excitedkatekat1010 on November 12th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
:D (no, make that a wicked grin). yeah. and honestly? he's as cool or cooler in real life as he is on his blog, and totally interested in everything.

HEEE! I didn't realize that anyone on the flist knew who he was -- it's so awesome that you know! have you used any of his stuff for your schoolwork? oh, and i can say without a doubt that if you ever want to contact him with questions or anything, he is TOTALLY friendly and will try his best to answer them...
Taraelementalv on November 12th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
I've known of Henry Jenkins for a few years now, and I've been debating whether or not to contact him for my research paper for Rhetoric. I'm analyzing the communication failure between Ogas and Gaddam and fandom (a.k.a. Surveyfail). If you're curious about my working thesis, you can find it here, but it's a bit out of date. Our most recent readings in class offer a much better rhetorical model than Aristotle for me to use.
Taraelementalv on November 12th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
I've known of Henry Jenkins for a few years now, and I've been debating whether or not to contact him for my research paper for Rhetoric. I'm analyzing the communication failure between Ogas and Gaddam and fandom (a.k.a. Surveyfail). If you're curious about my working thesis, you can find it here, but it's a bit out of date. Our most recent readings in class offer a much better rhetorical model than Aristotle for me to use.
Cantakerous troubadoursonder on November 12th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
I had sushi today...that's kind of common ground...
my monkied brain: _nihon_prayerskatekat1010 on November 12th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
got any postWWII Japanese films you think i should be writing about? I'm over Ozu, which leaves me Kurosawa, but I don't think I can compare two of his films -- i have to do at least one other person....