Tuesday, May 17, 2011

everything remains as it never was

Old habits die hard, but here I am attempting to break the old habit of "never writing anything, ever".

Anyways, it's basically summer. My coursework for my graduate degree are all currently finished (although I am hoping to sit in on some courses the fall, but that's neither here nor there), so I'm left with a little over a year to churn out a thesis. I have a general idea for a topic but I should probably nail something down - originally I wanted to go with something to do with the rights of transgendered people in Canada, but now it's drifting more towards something like multiculturalism (a topic I'm feeling surprisingly comfortable approaching)... both of which increasingly seem to hinge on more abstract questions, like the nature of the political subject, and the political implications of adopting different stances towards conceptualising the human subject. Really exciting, I know, and sure to thrill people who were vaguely interested in my honours thesis on Newfoundland politics.

But I am interested in pursuing obtuse theoretical debates! I just don't want to detach myself completely from real life. I'm hoping that with the upcoming provincial election in 2011 I will be able to immerse myself in some actual concrete matters (I guess this could have applied during the recent federal election, but I honestly don't care that much about federal politics aside from a purely analytical perspective... as a Newfoundlander I have accepted that federal politics is generally more something that happens to me than something I effect, haha). Danny Williams has since retired from provincial politics so our hilariously inept government no longer seems invincible - it's nice. The Muskrat Falls thing seems like a fiasco in the making, so it might be worth keeping on top of. At any rate, I feel like the provincial scene is lacking a good 'critical' voice - not just in the sense of opposition to the sitting government, but to the systemic totality of it all. Haha, I'm such a douchebag.

Meanwhile, though, it is all about the intellectual labour (and finding a paying job so I can eat in the meantime). I've got a small selection of books I want to work my way through in the next month or so - specifically, Alain Badiou's Ethics - An Essay on the Understanding of Evil and Iris Marion Young's Justice and the Politics of Difference. I feel reading these two books together will be a good exercise, because Young seems to set the stage for contemporary debates in political theory around questions of justice related to subjectivity from a post-modern/critical perspective, while Badiou apparently sets out to obliterate both Young's (not explicitly, of course) position and the Anglo-American liberal mainstream she sets herself up against. Naturally, I'm much more interested in Badiou, but reading both should give me enough material to form a really wicked research question that might get me into a good PhD program. This would probably also be easier if my supervisor wasn't in Ontario for the summer, but it's all good.

But other than thesis work, I don't have much planned for the summer. Taking in a couple concerts/festivals (Supertramp in June, Salmon Fest and Osheaga in July) should be deadly, doing some writing with Sondi, helping out the provincial Liberals (I am, after all, a committed Smallwoodist), and generally trying to improve my cooking skills/get outside more. I'm literally anticipating the highlight of my summer being a visit to the Maoist bookstore in Montreal. Yes, I will be paying for everything in cash, thanks.

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