Monday 20 February 2017

Reparative Reading at 21

It has taken me almost one week after the Reparative Reading at 21 event held at University of York to think about what I would like to reflect on it, yet I remain at a loss. It was one of those rare days where academia and the intimacy of emotional life come into contact in a most genuine and insightful way. It consisted of a gathering of people who loved to ask questions and I was reminded anew of why I love to study.

My aim in this post will not be to try to write something meaningful about Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick or about her 1996 essay 'Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You're So Paraonid You Probably Think This Essay is About You'. Instead, I will note down certain key points that came up during the day that I wish to remember in the future, which may now, collected as such, seem disparate, although they are indeed related. It is exciting to feel this is only the beginning of my engagement with Sedgwick and her ideas.


- Trump's deployment of the spectacle to propagate his power; people at Trump rallies taking pleasure in the crowd and activist environment which seems to be perverse as it is the same pleasure of being part of a rally for causes that we feel are good and worthy (Katie Kent)

- visibility as constituting violence (Katie Kent)

- 'willed ignorance'

- you can never be paranoid enough

- mixing policies with pleasure

- to take pleasure in objects of study/or to keep scholarship separate from pleasure

- In Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts, Rosalind Krauss rejects the personal in academics (Ben Nichols)

- how far does liking things constitute study/change?

- should what extent should love enter work? Does love substitute insight? (Jason Edwards, Ben Nichols)

- DIY academics/professionalism; professional as egalitarian or elitist? Who is excluded from academia? who has access?

- value in affect over truth value? (issues around Trump)

- reading as rhetoric, discourse language

- 'getting stuck' - intellectual and emotional risk (Angus Brown)

- should we want close reading to hurt? (Angus Brown)

- the category of queer as dissolving binaries such as gay/straight and therefore the closet (Monica Pearl)

- sexuality and shame

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Baudrillard and the pornographic

“We no longer partake in the drama of alienation, but are in the ecstasy of communication. And this ecstasy is obscene. Obscene is that which eliminates the gaze, the image and every representation. Obscenity is not confined to sexuality, because today there is a pornography of information and communication, a pornography of circuits and networks, of functions and objects in their legibility, availability, regulation, forced signification, capacity to perform, connection, polyvalence, their free expression”. [1]

“The entire universe also unfolds on your home screen. This is a microscopic pornography, pornographic because it is forced, exaggerated, just like the close-up of sexual acts in a porno film. All this destroys the stage, once preserved through a minimal distance and which was based on a secret ritual known only to its actors”. [2]

[1] Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication, 26-27.

[2] Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication, 26.

Sunday 5 February 2017