[ilds] baboonism

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sat Jul 7 14:58:51 PDT 2007


No, Bill, you do not understand.  Postcolonial theory is about 
colonialism and what follows.  So they tell me.  How can you read a 
book without knowing whether the writer is oppressed?  But it is such a 
big field.  If reading Durrell, for example, one would want to know 
about post-Ottoman colonial theory, and also post-Byzantine colonial 
theory, and that is just for reading Bitter Lemons.  Post-Arab colonial 
theory would not go amiss for catching the wider frame of reference.  
These are after all the great imperiums that have shaped and continue 
to shape the Middle East and the Mediterranean to this day -- culture, 
language, thought, religion, even landscape.  So I would like to know 
from Pamela which of these relevant postcolonialisms she deals with 
when turning out her product.

:Michael



On Saturday, July 7, 2007, at 10:42  pm, william godshalk wrote:

> Michael,
>
> A literary theory is about literature, not about Turks and Arabs.
>
> Bill
>
> At 05:37 PM 7/7/2007, you wrote:
>> Which particular colonialism are you post?  Ottoman?  Arab?  or
>> something else?
>>
>> :Michael
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Saturday, July 7, 2007, at 06:43  pm, Pamela Francis wrote:
>>
>>> Yes, Virginia, literary texts ARE still read in universities...and I
>>> feel a real return of the close reading, at least in some areas.  And
>>> one still has to have an "area" or "period" in which the academic is
>>> well-read; I, for instance, am a "modernist"--however, I read
>>> modernist texts using what Bill has called the "necessary category" 
>>> of
>>> postcolonial theory.  This means i use that category to help get at
>>> the text, but it still requires careful close reading of the primary
>>> text.  Some academics, however, make "theory" their "area" and their
>>> "period".  I don't know about other universities, but the English 
>>> dept
>>> (graduate level) at Rice is very primary-text oriented, but even
>>> undergraduates are expected to be familiar with the variety of
>>> theoretical categories--or lenses--to aid their reading of the text.
>>> I find it very constructive--close reading alone, without any sort of
>>> structure, too often winds up being "what this novel means to me"--in
>>> short, it does nothing.  Some people, of course, don't want their
>>> reading to "do anything" and that's fine.  But in order to compete
>>> with other departments, such as the sciences or business, which
>>> produce a "product", we have to be able to say we're doing something.
>>> This is a big bone of contention in English departments
>>> everywhere--Stanley Fish, for instance, thinks we're just kidding
>>> ourselves and should just admit that the study of literature has no
>>> use-value, and sit around on our elitist butts and read books just 
>>> for
>>> the fun of it.  Which, of course, he is doing, at a six-figure salary
>>> that could pay for two or three positions for instructors who 
>>> actually
>>> teach classes.  Others of us want students to know that literature
>>> does mean something--that it came out of a particular context and
>>> makes certain points, undermines certain metanarratives, subverts 
>>> this
>>> cultural assumption, bolsters that ideology.  But that New Criticism
>>> slouching toward the MLA never really went away; it's just been
>>> exploited by categories with sexier names.
>>>
>>>
>>>> From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>>>> Reply-To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>>>> To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>>>> Subject: Re: [ilds] baboonism
>>>> Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2007 12:02:47 -0400
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Bruce asks some questions:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I'm curious -- are primary
>>>> texts still taught in the universities these days?  Or are they on
>>>> the supplemental, not-required reading list?  Not a silly
>>>> question.  Read the big academic journals these days and you note
>>>> that primary texts are simply used to support whims and theories.
>>>> Presumably, writing those kinds of articles will advance your 
>>>> academic
>>>> career.  You never have to touch ground.  Didn't Swift write
>>>> about such airheads living in the sky?
>>>>
>>>> Yes, some of us teach literary texts, e.g. Shakespeare, Milton,
>>>> Woolf. I leave philosophy (i.e. theory) to the philosophers who have
>>>> their bastion down the hall from English.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Yes, in your description of the pretentious world of the MLA, I 
>>>> think
>>>> you
>>>> may be correct -- for the moment. Theory seems to be more prominent
>>>> than
>>>> literature, postcolonial theory more prominent than, say, Haggard's
>>>> She or John Masters's wonderful Indian novels.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> But the text will return -- the return of the repressed! The New
>>>> Critics
>>>> took us back to the text. Some where a New New Criticism is 
>>>> slouching
>>>> toward MLA Headquarters.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Gulliver's Travels, Part 3.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Bill
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ***************************************
>>>> W. L.
>>>> Godshalk
>>>>         *
>>>> Department of
>>>> English         *
>>>> University of
>>>> Cincinnati
>>>> Stellar disorder  *
>>>> Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
>>>> 513-281-5927
>>>> ***************************************
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> ILDS mailing list
>>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> ILDS mailing list
>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> ILDS mailing list
>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
> ***************************************
> W. L. Godshalk		*
> Department of English         *
> University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
> Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
> 513-281-5927
> ***************************************
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>



More information about the ILDS mailing list