Monday, December 30, 2013

Thoughts after receiving a Ph.D.

       It's close to the end of 2013, and I thought I would try to put up at least one more blog posting before the end of the year.  I've been busy with contract negotiations and finishing my dissertation project, which was accepted at the beginning of December.  So I now have my Ph.D., which technically makes me a doctor.  I'm now beginning the process of looking for academic work, which is an incredibly dreary and depressing activity, if only because of the lack of work on the job market.  I'm going to give it a couple years, but I will probably be moving on if that doesn't work.  But anyways, the blog.  I'm going to hold onto this project through March, which is when I will be done with my stint at the union.  I'll probably have some more thoughts on that as we go into the triennial election.  I'd like to see the person replacing me to remain committed to the reform project, but right now, that doesn't seem like it's guaranteed.  The last two elections have been controlled by the old leadership faction of Coral and Moshe, who certainly have put in a lot of work on the ground.  If their platform moved anywhere beyond stating that they're from the sciences and the mention of Google parties, I'd be a little more impressed.  (I also have some issues with their campaign claim that they oppose caucuses, which would hold weight if they weren't obviously a part of a caucus.)  I have more to say on the subject, but it will have to wait until the next year, hopefully after a couple posts on other subjects.

       Rather than simply abandoning blogging, my thought was that I should start a new blog that had a greater sense of focus, perhaps on science fictional matters, and other cultural engagement.  The truth is that Work Resumed on the Tower was never a terribly successful blog in terms of readership.  It got a few posts that were read broadly, but often my posts received under 40 views.  I'm not terribly upset about this.  The blog was primarily meant to be a place to push myself to write more, and to express thoughts about a variety of topics.  It also became a place to discuss issues within the student movement and my engagement with the union.  Those two issues are coming to an end with my completion of my degree, which seems to also point to a need for another project.  I've always been interested in the idea of putting together a more focused blog, which while not being commercial, might have an audience in mind, something that this project never had.  On the other hand, I'm not terribly thrilled at the prospect of coming up with another name.  I still like the name of the current blog, but I also don't want it to disappear as a historical record of my work over the period of time that it ran.  I'm tempted towards something Futurian related, but am currently feeling a bit lazy as to doing the research.  Maybe, I'll take a day to go to the Eaton archive in Riverside soon, to take a look at their fanzine collection.

      Beyond that, I've been contemplating a number of directions I might want to go in once I'm finished with turning the present dissertation into something larger.  I know it's a bit off in the future, but I like to have more than one thing going on.  I'm interested in trying to put together a project on Brecht's work in the early 1930's, particularly his Learning Pieces, and their relevance to activism and organizing.  I'd like to look at the emphasis that Brecht puts on experimentation and the necessity for error in the process of creating new political forms.  You can see some early thoughts here.  It also ties into my interest in aleatory aesthetics, as discussed here.  I don't see this is primarily existing as an academic project.  Instead, I could see it looking similar to the sorts of projects that zero books has put out.  Additionally, I'd like to look at the work of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke in relationship to the post war period.  This idea is a lot less developed, but I feel that there is something interesting to be said about the pair in relationship to the cold war, decolonization, a particular modernization project of the time.  Also, I've really enjoyed both the novels by Clarke that I have read, and liked the Foundation novels, as well.  Finally, I'd like to make a more theoretical intervention into the return of the concept of patriarchy.  Using Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, I'd like to argue that patriarchy is an increasingly tertiary matrix of domination within contemporary.  Instead, it's been supplanted by other forms of domination, that are no less serious.  I would probably start with a critique of the Federici's reading of Foucault, and move from there.  We'll see what happens in the next couple of years.

(On reflection, the comment on Moshe and Coral was a little one sided and unfair.  I'll make a slightly lengthier comment on their role in the union in the future, but its worth noting that despite the fact that the two did extensively draw upon the three issues I discussed above for campaigning, they have also occasionally contributed to the union.  More on this in the future.)

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