August 16, 2006

Are You Now or Have You Ever... In Ohio, all employees of state agencies--including universities--have to fill out a new form regarding support for so-called terrorist agencies. I post this here in part as a way of complicating what some have called 'gestural politics' in other discussions. To be sure, a blog exchange is not the same as having to fill out a form or sign a loyalty oath. Yet, given the nature of the so-called terrorist list, it's possible that some academics, particularly those in Middle Eastern Studies, International Relations, and Political Science would have to answer yes to some of these questions. For example, does hiring or supporting someone involved in terrorism include inviting members of the political wings of Hamas or Hizbollah to give a lecture? What about publishing their articles or writings? Or, what about hiring a visiting faculty member who is Tamil and politically active? In the 70s and 80s the African National Congress was considered a terrorist organization. Given current US law, supporting them would constitute support for terrorism. Link: Inside Higher Ed :: Are You Now or Have You Ever.... The new form asks potential employees six questions and any “Yes” answer is grounds for not getting the job. Refusing to answer a question is also considered an affirmative answer. The questions are: Are you a member of an organization on the U.S. Department of State Terrorist Exclusion List? Have you used any position of prominence you have with any country to persuade others to support an organization on the...
Not all matters Here is a the third installment of my current reading of Parallax View in terms of Zizek's discussion of materiality (here are the first and second). The third chapter is titled, "The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Divine Shit." It seems to me to be much more loosely structured than the first and second chapters. Differently put, I have a hard time seeing how it hangs together. The chapter starts with the observation that contemporary science is more than ever concerned with the domain of appearance while art is preoccupied with the Real. Following a discussion of the Real in art in terms of a minimal difference, a pure difference that marks the presence of the gaze, Zizek takes up the traditional story of modernity in terms of the diminishment of man and the transcendence of the subject. What he adds to this story is an emphasis on appearance: beginning with phenomenology and extending into quantum physics, thought begins to emphasize the flux of events instead of a substantial reality. This leads Zizek to Deleuze and Badiou, what they do is provide a materialist defense of the immaterial order of the Event. The Event can't be accounted for via a strictly determinist materialist causality; the Event is something completely new. So, how is it possible? How is a free act possible? How does human consciousness emerge out of evolutionary processes? How is art a medium of Truth? Zizek reads Badiou as emphasizing the undecideability of the Event. This means that there...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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