On Sadness (Arcade)

Some thoughts that were prompted by the ongoing discussion about MOOCs, and small humanities seminars. What can the latter do that is specific to what the humanities can offer both teachers and students? Taking the case of sadness as an example–how can we make space in goal-driven world to reappraise our lives and values? How does sadness help root us in reflections that, even though painful, put us in touch with ourselves?

On Reading Diamela Eltit

The Fourth World. Early in my reading I am struck by how she writes simple declarative sentences that beg profound questions as to the precise substance of nouns, the power of verbs to do or not do the things she expects them to do, the whole idea of causality, and the containment of consequence. One of my favorite lines so far: “Our dreams were fused, yet ludicrously abstract, not unlike a severe neurological breakdown.”

Reterritorializing Asia Pacific (Democracy Now!) 2003 [posted 2012]

In April 2003 I gave a talk at event that included Jonathan Schell, Luis Francia, Jack Tchen and others at New York University School of Law.  The speakers were asked to consider how the War on Terror drew in the Asia Pacific region.  My talk was picked up by Amy Goodman and shown in “Democracy Now!” and later elaborated in an essay (see Selected Articles) in Connery et al eds, The Worlding Project.

Discussion with Grace Lee Boggs and Scott Kurashige

On March 1, 2012, I had the immense honor of speaking on a panel with the legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs and her collaborator, Professor Scott Kurashige on their new book, The Next American Revolution.  The discussion ranged from grassroots organizing, her project, “Detroit Summer,” to electoral politics, the Occupy Movement, and neuroscience and poetry, and “Philosophic Activism.”  I later wrote a blog on this, available via my Blog section.  Here are some photographs of the event.

MLA Presidential Forum on “Narrating Lives” January 2011

At the 2011 MLA, Sidonie Smith invited Marianne Hirsch, Françoise Lionnet, Nancy Miller, Robert Warrior and me to speak at her Presidential Forum on Narrating Lives.  The essays were published in Profession.  My essay, “Embedded Lives,” tells how a historical event became narrated through different media and disciplinary discourses by a number of participants, through many years and in different spaces. It takes the 1977 eviction of a group of elderly Filipinos from the International Hotel in San Francisco, and the protests against that eviction, as a starting point of a series of imbricated stories that lead up to today. It argues for the importance of collective voice.

Sidonie Smith, Nancy Miller, Palumbo-Liu, Robert Warrior

Roundtable with Gayatri Spivak on “Aesthetic Education in the Age of Globalization”

In 2010 Ramon Saldivar and I joined Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in a discussion of her lecture of this title.  Ramon spoke about how hemispheric and trans-national studies gave a particular texture to “globalization” and cultural artifacts; I spoke on how notions of rationality and translation had an impact on how we view others, drawing on both Donald Davidson for the former and Etiemble for the latter.  The discussion then ranged to ideas of hope, memory, reconciliation, justice.  You can listen to the discussion here.