[ilds] baboonism

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sun Jul 8 10:47:43 PDT 2007


I wonder who the Tunisian was colonised by?  The Arabs, I suppose he 
means.

:Michael



On Sunday, July 8, 2007, at 09:52  am, Richard Pine wrote:

> 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
>>>>>> ***************************************
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
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>>>>>
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>>> ***************************************
>>> W. L. Godshalk *
>>> Department of English         *
>>> University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
>>> Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
>>> 513-281-5927
>>> ***************************************
>>>
>>>
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