Sunday, November 18, 2007

Waist-deep in theory...

...and the big fool (me) says to push on.

(warning: academic-geek post follows)

Yup. Silence recently because this is my Theory Weekend. Which is rapidly becoming a Theory-Weekend-Plus-Monday. Without giving away too much of my semi-secret identity: I've been intuitively playing with the ideas about performance, and finally decided to read some of the purely theoretical stuff. I'm not brave enough yet to tackle Judith Butler's work, but I have spent this weekend curled up with a couple of things by Erving Goffman (Yes, it's old, but pre-Linguistic Turn theory is always easier to read). I spent most of grad school successfully avoiding theory. Now, it appears, it's my turn.

I am finding useful things to peg my thoughts to. But by far my favorite quote so far is one that I won't be using in my work at all: "All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn't are not easy to specify."

/geek

Hoping to start organizing for writing on Tuesday, and actual writing on Wednesday.

5 comments:

Belle said...

Ohhh, theory; (fingers held out in front, crossed, to ward off evil theory-types). And yet, I'm getting ready to go in and do a class on fascism and the contesting theories and definitions of that.

By choice. Talk about geek-dom!

squadratomagico said...

I will take the opposite tack and say: yay for theory! Hip, hip, hoooray!

I don't always "get" every word, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Especially performance theory, in fact.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Okay, squadrato: now you've opened yourself up to me picking your brain a bit. In the event that I do decide to try to read some Judith Butler, but want to avoid becoming too bogged down, what is the best thing to read on gender and performance? Based on title alone, I would have thought "Gender Trouble," but a colleague recommended "Excitable Speech." Your thoughts?

squadratomagico said...

Well, your colleague, unlike me, actually knows what you are working on, so perhaps his/her suggestions are more relevant than my own. But I really like Gender Trouble, preferring it to both Bodies That Matter and Excitable Speech (though I will admit I only have spot-read the latter). One benefit to Gender Trouble is that you can read it in conjunction with Kathleen Biddick's article "Genders, Bodies, Borders: Technologies of the Visible" Speculum 68 (1993), which relies on it quite a bit. Thus you can see Butler's work being put to use by a medievalist.

Susan said...

There are also some good articles -- one I found was from a collection ed. by Diana Fuss, _Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories_ (1991) which had the advantage of being short, and therefore much more easily grasped...