my monkied brain (katekat1010) wrote,
my monkied brain
katekat1010

studenty things

the homework completed so far this weekend:

+ the japanese literary world as sociological phenomenon by eto jun.  Such a nostalgic look at the japanese literary world!  He wrote it while he was studying at princeton, talking about the weird slightly marginal space that the japanese writer occupies and how different it is from the intellectual world of the west.  But he so obviously loves that scary marginal totally removed place that he says the japanese scholar lives. 

+ chapter from Soseki's journal about living in England.  There's a real sense of frustration there - makes me want to explain to the guy that the world isn't like that, except that it is.  He kept describing people who talked down to him, checking often to see if he understood specific words like "evolution" and "folk".  They even footnoted letters to him, worried that he wouldn't understand their terminology.  And the man probably spoke more languages than they did!  All of them!  It was kind of absurd.

+ slipped, fell and i lost my heel by Yoko Tawada.  It's funny, because it oddly resonates with an email I got yesterday from a friend who's living in Germany (hi Maggie if you're reading!) whose diction has changed since the last time she wrote me.  Not much, and I suppose I was reading the email a little late at night so any changes were more pronounced, but I almost felt as if, even though she says she's not speaking a ton of German, she's getting into the mindset, constructing thoughts, truly *living* in Germany.  Language is funny like that - there are pathways the brain takes in one language that it simply doesn't in another.  Brittle and strange though my Japanese may be, I do understand that.  Like when Calynda told me that a Japanese person would never say *that* (about one sentence in my sakubun).  Someday maybe i'll be able to do that too.

+ contested visions of community in east & southeast asia by Charles Keyes, Helen Hardacre & Laurel Kendall.  I've read something else by Hardacre, in my classes for last semester, and had to go figure out what it was so I could remember if I thought she was an idiot or not.  Sadly, my 3 page paper about her book isn't that interesting, and I don't think I liked her very much... which isn't a surprise because this particular article didn't define it's terms either.  That always bugs me.  Also, didn't seem to stay on topic as well as it could.  But hey, gives me something to rail about - the fact that the article didn't really talk about contested visions of community as much as detail certain religious movements and their connection with rebellion (which is fine, but ... how does that really fit the title?  not at all, in my opinion)

also, I wonder if writing an introduction to a book with two other authors is like writing tag-fic?

+ defying disenchantment: reflections on ritual, power, and history by Jean Comaroff.  This article, on the other hand, was WAY more fun.  And way easier to agree with (or at least be interested in)!  But that's because it contends that religion isn't some backward traditional and archaic relic from the premodern, but instead is part and parcel of modernity, and everybody who's been screaming for years that it's not is kind of being just a bit blind.  Not all religion, mind you, but Comaroff contends that there are alternative religions that help bolster (or sometimes are products of) resistance to the state (and hegemony, and the like).  I liked it.

+ the cosmic egg & the origin of brama & the churning of the ocean ... three mythological origin stories from India.  Interesting, but frustrating too.  Formatting wise they're three pages long, single spaced, with the most annoying parenthetical references and footnotes on the planet.  Gah.  Sometimes I really despise this kind of academic work, because it's like the scholars can't stand not to put every variation into one single page.  Can't they all just do it like Italo Calvino did and take down each variation in it's entirety... then turn the page and write down another?  then they can be enjoyed (and talked about, if that's what you really want to do) without this endless interruption of the academic editor.

still left:

+ an undercurrent in modern japanese literature by eto jun.
+ the piece (*in japanese*) by eto jun.
+ responses to the prof on half the articles. 

not so bad, really, for saturday night.
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