Essay: "On Being Postacademic"

Wow, in my perusal of Invisible Adjunct this evening, I found an essay by Kenneth Mostern, a former professor of African American literature at the University of Tennessee. He taught there when I was doing my M.A., but I unfortunately did not take a course from him. I have benefitted from hearing his story.

Random News Stories: Because I can't sleep.

Choose the sex of your baby. Thanks to MicroSort, which sorts sperm accordingly into X and Y categories, reproductive technology just got a whole lot scarier.

Domestic Partners Gain Rights in CA. Gray Davis "signed into law Assembly Bill 205 (AB205), granting same-sex couples rights in areas such as family care leave, child custody, property ownership, gift/estate tax exemptions, and making arrangements in the event of a partner's death, reported the Los Angeles Times." Cool--but I'm wondering if this is a "go out with a bang" thing.

and, finally, Amina Lawal Wins Appeal Against Stoning. Lawal is a Nigerian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for allegedly having sex out of wedlock, and her sentence was just overturned by an Islamic appeals court. I hope it will be safe for her to get on with her life.

The next U.S. President

Sometimes I wonder if critical thinking is the downfall of the political left. I like critical thought and all, but lefties are splintered (into Green Party, Democrats, various independents) as a result of all this disagreement on fine points, so there isn't the unity you have with the right-wing and right-leaning support of the Republican Party. Obviously, I don't know a lot about politics, but this is the impression I get. I am, however, cautiously optimistic when it comes to Howard Dean. When I look at all the stuff on his site and Blog for America, it's just so dang upbeat, and now I'm hopeful. Could he become our next president? Could Carol Moseley Braun? Now that would make me ecstatic...

Happy to inspire...

Earlier today, I read Rebekah Bennetch's M.A. thesis proposal for her project titled "The Gospel According to Glamour: A Rhetorical Analysis of Revolve: The Complete New Testament." I was really impressed and wondered if maybe my earlier post about Revolve inspired the project. Tonight she emailed me, saying that it did! I feel so beneficent.

Position Papers Aplenty!

The Alliance of Rhetoric Societies recently held a conference in which participants got into groups and discussed four questions:

  1. How ought we to understand the concept of rhetorical

  2. Do we have a “rhetorical tradition”?  Are we better
    advised to think of traditions rather than a single tradition?  If we
    do recognize a tradition or several traditions, how do we identify and
    characterize it (or them)? 

Considering buying a laptop

I'm thinking about using this year's birthday money toward an iBook. Logie and others have expressed dissatisfaction with their titanium PowerBooks, so I'm thinking an iBook would be more sensible for my needs (and budget!).

• 128MB SDRAM built-in
• 40GB Ultra ATA drive
• Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English

I *heart* Gayle Rubin

For most of the afternoon, I've been reading Rubin's well-known 1975 essay "The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex." Rubin is fabulous; she has even inspired a new item in my post taxonomy, "People I *heart*." In case you're wondering, "heart" used in this way means you like the person a lot, but you wouldn't say "I love Gayle Rubin," unless of course you and Rubin have a meaningful relationship, so you say you heart them instead. I'm going to post some initial responses to this essay--quotations mostly, like a commonplace book--while it's fresh in my mind. Here are the questions I was asked to consider for class discussion on Tuesday:

"How does Rubin in 'Traffic' articulate the relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality?"

"Gender is a socially imposed division of the sexes. It is a product of the social relations of sexuality," Rubin writes. She uses Lévi-Strauss' theories of kinship to point out trends in human sexuality: "the incest taboo, obligatory heterosexuality, and an asymmetric division between the sexes. The asymmetry of gender [...] entails the constraint of female sexuality." At this point, it is difficult for me to tell if Rubin is arguing that any one item--sex, gender, and sexuality--logically or temporally precedes the others. I did find this point useful: "Gender is not only an identification with one sex; it also entails that sexual desire be directed toward the other sex." Rubin's illumination here helps me to understand exactly why "gender studies" is thought to be more inclusive than "women's studies" when it comes to studies of sexuality, especially queer theory. Yeah, it was probably obvious to the rest of you, but I needed that sentence from Rubin for my own edification.

I'm pickin' up good vibrations...

Today has been awesome so far! This morning was busy, but as I was getting ready to leave my apartment I listened to my Beach Boys CD. I got a few of those "10 Best" series CDs the other day at Best Buy when I went there for a flash drive. I got Beach Boys, Culture Club, Bonnie Tyler, and Blondie/Pat Benatar. I had a nice lunch of pho with Jennifer and Amy, and I also got this lovely compliment. Yippee!

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