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Showing posts from January, 2015

Three Notes on Michèle Barrett

Thanks to Verso's generous 90% sale, I've clawed unevenly in January through Michèle Barrett's classic Women's Oppression Today: The Marxist/Feminist Encounter.

1. As Barrett herself notes in a 2014 afterword, the subtitle of the text, with its new solidus, was changed precisely in order to underscore that 'the Marxist/feminist relationship was tangential - more like an affair than the marriage others had been hoping for'. The study is, in essence, working through the hyphen in Marxist-Feminism. What is apparent - both in the introductory chapters, but also the rigorously circumspect prose of the study - is that trying to understand gender oppression under capitalism involves a difficult theoretical negotiation between schools of Marxism and feminism. The encounter raises methodological issues deeply rooted in both approaches.

Time and time again, the same questions appear. To what extent is gender derived from biological difference, and how might that connect …

Defoe and Levels of Narration

Been a bit hard to prioritise the blog this month, since I'm teaching not only an essentially new eighteenth-century module but have been parachuted into a critical theory module I haven't taught before (perhaps serendipitously, since I've made it my aim to read more theory again in 2015). It's therefore been a bit madcap, and I won't be able to commit to blogging an entire course like I did last term. Nevertheless, here's a few thoughts running off seminar discussion on Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

1. I take it as read that there is a double-narration going on in the novel. That was the spur for investigative discussion, where I asked the students how best they felt they could relate the 'spiritual' level (providence, arcs of salvation, divine signs) to the 'empirical' level (quantification, detail, work, need). I have to admit that this is always the way I first approach Defoe because I had to write an undergraduate essay on narration a…

Three Notes on Benedict Anderson

I seem to have locked myself into blogging an annual project: 2013 was reading monographs, last year was solidifying my knowledge of 'minor' Romantics. Partly because Verso decided to hold a timely eBook sale (90% off, which allowed you to pick up classics for virtually nothing), I've decided 2015 is all about theory. My MA was in theory, and my time at Sussex was inevitably theoretical, but despite keeping up an interest the historicist bent of modern Romantic studies has meant I'm far more likely to be reading a periodical from 1807 than the latest French philosophy.

If you look at 2013 and 2014, I usually fall rather embarrassingly short in my goals but - hey, it's New Year - so my rough idea is to read around ten works of theory - from Jacques Rancière to Ernest Laclau - and offer brief notes on them here: more to mark reading and gather thoughts rather than to do anything especially original or sophisticated...although we'll see.

Despite citing Benedict An…