It's really hot out right now, so hot that my computer is occasionally adding numbers when I use the letters u, i, e, and t. It's not something that inspires much in the way of sustained intellectual effort, particularly when there's no real effective way to either air condition your apartment or even create a sustained draft through the building. In effect, I'm going to let my post on the industrialization of the household go for the moment, along with my examination of Gore Vidal's essays, and create something a bit more modest to tide the blog over until the weather gets a bit less miserable. I feel like I've been fairly isolated this summer from the events that translate into writing. Other than my brief sojourn to Minneapolis and rural Michigan, I've spent the majority of the summer in Irvine, without much ability to get out due to finances. (I've caught a few shows, and a couple films, but nothing that has really translated into writing. Similarly, I've been disconnected from the politics of the region, having missed the brief uprising in Anaheim, and the general lack of political action on the campus during the summer.)
Beyond that, I'm thinking about returning to Gramsci's concept of hegemony in the near future. The question of how structures of domination and exploitation are able to gain consent from those who do not benefit from them seems to be particularly relevant, as is the question of how to create counter-structures that challenge the forms of common sense that allow for that support. One of the things that I am interested in trying to do for the next year is to create some pedagogical structures to begin to challenge that. I think that the student movement has done a remarkable job of challenging the legitimacy of the attempts to privatize the university, but our educational efforts have remained minimal and, at times, conservative. Often, the notion of public education is reduced to the question of cost, rather than thinking about access, quality of education, and other broader questions. There has been some very good worker solidarity, at times, but not enough exploration of the laboring structures of the university. The question of fighting racism in the university has been brought up in slogans and conversations, but not enough exploration of what it means to fight racism in what Christopher Newfield calls, 'pseudo-integration.' I'd love to organize a combination of speakers, reading groups, and workshops around this. If anyone is interested, feel free to leave a message here, or contact me.
There have also been a couple interesting essays on this, written by a number of groups around the Occupy phenomenon. I'll try to explore those in the near future. I'll leave it there.