Hello blog and bloggers. I’m very sorry for my absence, however, time has not really been on my side this semester. Here’s why in bullets:
1) The Rose Art Museum Fiasco/Conspiracy/ClusterF***/Etc. I’m serving on the faculty senate committee, unfortunately, as one of the only members with knowledge of the operations of a museum; as one of the only with any educational background in museums per say; as one of the only who realizes why the administration put the committee together the way that they did. Essentially, we’re building a museum from scratch, which is incredibly exciting for me as a more liberal interpreter of what a museum is, and how progressive it could be. The downside is trying to tell faculty members (especially business ones) why they can’t just sell any old piece of art for any old purpose. It is a lesson in patience and the seedy underbelly of educational beauracracy. It’s inspired me to want to open my own university ran by intellectuals, not CEOs.
2) My thesis. Probably the most amazing document I’ve written to date. Even I am shocked at how powerful it is. It consists of two parts: a) a philosophical/anthropological treatise on the imagination as a bipartite structure separated by imaginary and imagining b) an ethnography of imagining in the Toronto Zombie Walk that aims at exploring the ways in which there is one social imaginary (what a zombie is, and how it should act, etc.) and multiple social imaginations (one engaging in the world of play and the libidinous energy from manipulating death, and one creating metaphors of Death in the landscape). It is a very interesting read, and I look forward to revisiting parts of it as I progress through the next few years.
3) Too many conferences. I admit it, I stretched myself a little thin on conferences. After planning one that took place March 14, I attended 4 others presenting work. Among these were a) the Cultural Studies conference on “Beyond Television” (presenting YouTube pedagogy w/ Dr. Mark Auslander) b) A Distinguished Lecture at Eastern Illinois University on cultural heritage in tourism and the concept of Authenticity c) The Central States Anthropological Society conference where I presented my work on soundscapes and the body politic d) The popular culture association national conference on Psychoanalysis in Zombie Walks (also, I received an invitation to submit to an interdisciplinary edited volume on zombies, as well as an offer to support a book written on the event) and d) Brandeis’ GSAS Poster Symposium, again on the zombie psychoanalysis, this time focusing specifically on Freud (with a little Marx and Sartre mixed in).
Other than that, I’ve been 1) digging on Gadamer like a mofo, 2) thinking about the directions to take in life and 3) how much it may suck to leave the Bean.
I’ve also been trying to figure out what genre of anthropology I am. Obviously social, but in a more in depth way, I’m really a concoction of marxism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and aesthetics (for the last week, I’ve really been interested in the fetish as a link between Marx and Freud, and Gadamer’s theory of art experience). For that reason, I guess I would go with the description of a literary-philosophical anthropologist or (the classic) symbolic-interpretive anthropologist. Either way, I see Geertz as a grandfather figure, with Crapanzano as a close uncle. The whole Chicago school is quite attractive to me to be honest. And in that, I warp museum studies, cultural geography, visual anthropology, and ethnomusicology. I’m a mess. Thanks for listening to my ramble/identity crisis.
As the semester wraps up, I’m getting ready also to do some writing. In my recent love of Gadamer, I’ve decided to try to think of doing field work in the role of art in space (PIGS IN SPPPAAAAACCCCCEEEEE, sorry, couldn’t help it). It fits nicely with my love of music and space. It’s a great chance to also work in the (excessive) amount of semiotics I’ve learned since getting to Brandeis- Mucharovsky, Lottman, Bryson, Tarasti, Greimas (thanks to Rick Parmentier, and his amazing brain for teaching me more about this subject than I ever thought existed). Specifically, I want to look at the impact of art on the subjective experience of art and place together. I’ll need to, of course, think through this more, but it could become a nice part of my dissertation (which I’m thinking will be on investigations of identity making through the use of art and sound in space.)
I’m sick of reading myself type, so I will now leave you with this pile of information. Expect more blogs, after classes end on next Wednesday, I’ll need an intellectual outlet.