[ilds] baboonism

Richard Pine richardpin at eircom.net
Sun Jul 8 01:52:00 PDT 2007


Yes, and sometimes it's explicit: the preface to Memmi's 'The Coloniser and 
the Colonised': 'I was Tunisian and THEREFORE colonised' - my caps. RP
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Haag" <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
To: <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2007 10:58 PM
Subject: Re: [ilds] baboonism


> 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
>>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
> 



More information about the ILDS mailing list