These three things.

1. Internet connections been working poorly at home
2. Lots of work
3. Lots of cool fun stuff hanging out w/ my wife which means getting less of #2 done in addition to less time to write

The above has also made me slower to respond on email, which makes for a 4th thing,

4. email backlog which will sometimes make me slower to blog

and I’m sure blogging will make me slower still to reply to email on occasion

Probly other things I’m forgetting too.

Anyhow –

List of things I hope to post about eventually in the hope of making me not forget:
– E.P. Thompson on “historical logic”
– gender history and/vs women’s history
– notes for something I want to write on workplace organizing as a feminist and anti-racist activity
– notes for something I want to write, maybe like a talk, connecting my laundry worker stuff more explicitly to my last few posts on Virno and Foucault and biopolitics and all that
– belated response to WP’s comments re: the Foucault and biopolitics and stuff
– more stuff on Hegel’s Science of Logic, I finally printed out the next section after my last set of notes
– some recent posts at NP’s blog and WP’s blog
– a response to the question “why do you teach literature?” (got hit in a game of blog tag – that being not a response to the question but an explanation for why I shall respond to the question)
– Marx! (I’m doing a reading group on Capital again via a local thing called Exco; the blurb for the reading group is pasted below.


Blurb for the reading group –

Crash Course in Capital(ism)

C-M-C? M-C-M’? C(lp)-M(w)-M(ms)?! M(vc+cc)-C(mp+lp)…P…C’-M’? WTF?! CCiC(i)!

We live in a capitalist society. What does that mean? Is that a problem? If so, why? And just what is a capitalist anyway? Many people have asked and continue to ask these questions. Karl Marx’s book _Capital_ remains one of the most powerful works for reflecting on these questions, and one of the most historically influential books ever written.

_Capital_ is also a book which is talked about more than it’s actually read. This is in part because the book can be pretty intimidating and is hard to read alone. The Crash Course in Capital(ism) will break down the intimidation and difficulty. The CCiC(i) (believe it or not, that’s actually a mildly funny joke if you’ve read Marx) is a discussion and reading group on _Capital_. The reading group is open to anyone with an open mind and a friendly demeanor who wants to read _Capital_ in relation to their own experiences of life under capitalism, with a group of other open minded and friendly people.

The CCiC(i) will not get at every nuance or exhaust all the details, nor will we get into big arguments about politics and philosophy. What we will do is read all or almost all of the first book and get a pretty good grasp of the general argument. We’re going to read from chapter 4 through to the end of volume one of _Capital_, just under 700 pages. When we’re done, some of us will read the first three chapters and we can revisit spots people want to spend more time on. It may sound weird to start with chapter 4. If you want to know why that makes sense, get in touch, or better yet, read the book with us!

We’re going to meet about once every two weeks starting in early February, and finishing sometime in early-to-mid May. That means about 8 or 10 sessions with between 70 and 90 pages of reading per session -about 35-45 pages of reading per week. We’re still figuring out the details of exactly when and where to meet. At the first meeting we’ll hand out an initial study guide for people who want it, and we can recommend other related reading and study guides. If you’re interested or have questions, please get in touch. There’s no cost to participate except some of your time.

I intend to hold a first meeting in the end of January or beginning of February. From there we will find a time and day that works for as many people as possible. The class will take about 90 minutes per meeting.

Proposed reading plan

Month – February
Number of sessions – 2 (intro plus 1 reading)
Sections of Capital – ch 2 sec I.2.a, ch 4-6 (45 pgs)

Month – March
Number of sessions – 2
Sections of Capital – ch 7-9 (56 pgs); ch10 (71 pgs)

Month – April
Number of sessions – 3
Sections of Capital – ch11-14 (74 pgs); ch 15 (144 pgs); ch16-22 (68 pgs)

Month – May
Number of sessions – 2
Sections of Capital – ch23-24 (37pgs); ch25 (110pgs);

– ch26-33 (69pgs)

– ch1 (52pgs), ch2-3 (70pgs)

Finally, so this post is not simply a placeholder and a “whoo look at this neat blurb”, real quick here’s an example of why I like teaching. Among the things I like about teaching is that I get to be like “hey, group of people, direct your collective brainpower at the following thing of my choosing” and said collective brainpower often generates what seem to me to be insights. Case in point, we discussed an article by William Cronon about the place of narrative in history.

Cronon distinguishes between narrative and chronicle, then relativizes the distinction. His major distinction between the two is that narrative makes one care about (or tries to make one care about) aspects of what is narrated whereas as chronicle does not. He also makes a point about narratives being value laden, and this being a good thing. A student remarked that if more history in school was taught via narratives maybe less people would find history dull. I agreed, then in discussion we pushed on Cronon’s point. Cronon suggests basically that chronicles fail to make us care.

The two positions then are succeeded in or failed in producing a certain attachment between the reader and some aspect of the narrative. What came up in discussion, though, is that one might also deliberately want to make someone not care about something. That is, one might want to deliberately produce a sense of boredom etc. That would make the chronicle form not always only a failed narrative but something one might resort to deliberately based on value judgments just as one might resort to narrative form (defining both “narrative” and “chronicle” in a very abstract/schematic way even more than Cronon does, just as “makes on care” “does not make one care/makes one not care”).

I’d read the Cronon a few times before and had never thought of any of that, it’s an interesting point at least in the context of the article, and one that only came up via the discussion in class. Good times.