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Sunday Radical Roundup: Inability To Type Coherently Edition, With An Addendum On A Missing Post

March 14, 2010, 3:04 pm

Due to jet lag and a persistent failure of my fingers to connect to my brain, today’s roundup is confined to three items, two of which I did not have to think at all and one of which is a Serious Matter.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: At Legal History Blog Mary Dudziak offers a few tips on how to get an article done over the summer. This will, perhaps, be most useful to old fogies like me who don’t have to publish anything if they don’t want to, but are always open to suggestions for how to use their time well; those of you who just finished a book and can’t imagine using the summer that way again right away; or those of you who have just finished your first year of teaching and are figuring out which dissertation chapter should be offered up to the rest of us. To give you a tasty preview (that exactly corresponds with my own writing experience this spring at Zenith’s wonderful Center for the Humanities:

Pick a time of day that is your writing time. Spend that time in a space that is reserved for writing. You go to your space at the designated time, and then all you can do is write. No phone, no email, nothing else. If you’re at your office, put a “do not disturb/available after __ p.m.” sign on your door. You might feel that you should spend 8 hours a day doing nothing but writing, but that is unrealistic (unrealistic for every day, as compared w/ days when the momentum is going, and you can’t seem to stop). To really protect that time, it might need to be 2-3 hours. If you need to make a lot of progress in a short time, perhaps schedule two writing blocks during a day. But I think you’ll find that if you actually spend 2-3 solid hours writing every day, with no email and nothing but writing, you will have an article by the end of the summer.

For more hints, go to The Faculty Lounge.

Cool (Or Cold?) Conference Announcement of the Week: Well, I’m going with “Cold War Cultures,” Transnational and Interdisciplinary Perspectives Conference at the University of Texas at Austin September 30 – October 3, 2010. Perhaps an excuse to go to the Berkeley of the Southwest doesn’t strike you as a reason to participate, but the CFP might:

If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then Cold War politics can be seen as a continuation of war by other means. This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore these means in the context of global encounters between states and “Blocs” as well as engagements with “East” and “West.” Indeed, after the end of the Second World War, a new kind of “war” continued and expanded as governments and/or interest groups created and continually reshaped institutions, media, popular
culture, and various elements of social and political life. Globally, these broad-based transformations took place in the shadow of Cold War politics, especially as expressed through rhetoric of threat and mutual annihilation. In particular, cultural phenomena shaped by Cold War power conflicts take on myriad forms in a host of geographic contexts, both in and outside the Bloc, from iconic public representations to distinctive media advertising, memorable political speeches, world expositions, spy novels and films, and a plethora of official and popular modes of expression. In some places, of course, military or paramilitary conflagrations translated Cold War politics into “hot” wars, which further fueled the fire of Cold War imaginations.

Go here for details and the full call.

Department of Blog Revisions: Early in my blogging career, I took down several posts about my life at Zenith that, when I became more experienced in the genre, I came to believe might cause students and colleagues to worry that none of our interactions could be private. For a different reason, today I removed a post from late February, 2010: Annals of Contemporary History; or, Queering the Klan. The post was illustrated with a mock photo of “Klansmen” dressed in lavender robes, and — in blogger tradition — I linked to the sites I was drawing evidence from. It was a discussion of homophobia on the far right wing that relied for its evidence on a website and a discussion board maintained by US-based white supremacists. However, comments I have received in my Gmail account (and several that I removed from the comments section) caused me to retire the post.

The misunderstandings that prompted these negative responses were, in my view, a symptom of what everyone who writes on-line knows: people read blogs and other web texts hastily and are not always fully aware of the author’s tone and intention in sensitive or controversial matters. Clearly this phenomenon was a particular liability in a post about right wing extremism that relied heavily on irony to make a point, delivered in the last line, about homophobia among mainstream conservative policy makers. People who do not read my blog regularly (and perhaps did not even make it past the first link), many of whom appear to have viewed the post through forwards from Facebook and Twitter followers of Tenured Radical, were offended and injured by what they saw as my obliviousness to the real harm white supremacist groups do and have done over the course of the last century. I got a few –er, lively — emails from them upon returning from my research trip last night. Therefore, although I don’t think the post supports the view that I take violence, racial discrimination or anti-semitism lightly, in the interests of not putting my scholarly or moral integrity needlessly at risk, I have removed Queering the Klan from public view. Tenured Radical is, and always has been, an anti-racist blog. While I believe in free speech, the principle at stake in the post — that the absolute stigmatizing of queer people by the “respectable” Republican mainstream is far more extreme and less nuanced than it is among their counterparts on the openly racist and anti-semitic unrespectable right wing — my experience in the blogosphere is that some posts are worth fighting for and others are not. And for the edification of other, less experienced bloggers: if a post has to be explained at length, it probably wasn’t well-crafted in the first place.

Photo Credit.

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