“New Books on the Edge” with K. Merinda Simmons

Simmons-Changing

New Books on the Edge” is an ongoing blog series, which engages forthcoming manuscripts by Edge collective members.

Changing the Subject: Writing Women Across the African Diaspora

From diaspora to class, gender, subjectivity, migration, labor and much more – take us behind the scenes of Changing the Subject — how it came to be, what sorts of questions are raised in this project, and what data is being engaged?

My disciplinary training is in literary theory, and I have long been puzzled by a tendencyI see working in that domain of scholarship. Namely, while so much of the field has been influenced by what many—myself included—see as important poststructuralist intellectual moves, I nonetheless keep coming across analyses by prominent scholars that focus on “authenticity” in one manner or other. This seems an especially noticeable phenomenon within scholarship on texts deemed marginalized—and, as my data set when I began the work that would ultimately become this book was comprised of narratives by women of various African diasporas, I decided to delve into how and why the emphasis on something called authenticity appears in the criticism surrounding these texts. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with K. Merinda Simmons”

Jump the Shark

spoilers

While I’m sure there’s long been lots of people eager to give away the ending to a good play, radio drama, novel, or movie — and yes, I’m certainly one of them — it seems to me that the current fashion of saying “Spoilers…” to make one immune from learning the ending is a good example of how material culture drives social habit, demonstrating that the two are simply different analytic nodes of the same, mutually constituting thing. Continue reading “Jump the Shark”

“No Coke, Pepsi”

brand-loyaltyDid you catch this story a few days ago? No…? While you can listen to the original, longer set of stories, listen to the brief weekend report:

The moral of the story? Continue reading ““No Coke, Pepsi””

Pack Your Camera, We are Going on a Trip

ManhattanRussell McCutcheon’s post yesterday made me think of a recent trip I took to New York City with two friends, and Culture on the Edge’s members, Monica Miller and Leslie Dorrough Smith, before a workshop on Code Switching hosted by Monica Miller at Lehigh University. The reason that I was reminded of this trip is because the first night, as we were driving back to our hotel, we came across a view of Manhattan by night which was exactly as you see it in movies and postcards. Of course we decided to stop and enjoy the view, but simply watching Manhattan by night seemed not enough—maybe because, as I said, that’s a view you see in movies and it seemed somehow surreal that I was there, as if I was living someone else’s dream; so we immediately started taking pictures of that beautiful scene anticipating posting on FB for friends and family to see it too. Continue reading “Pack Your Camera, We are Going on a Trip”

Living in the Now

People-taking-foodI just read an article on smartphone etiquette in restaurants, in which the following quote appeared:

Picture 1This got me thinking a little more about the category experience. For it seems to me that the current trend of photographing your food is not, as Courtney thinks, an impediment to experience but, instead, is one of the ways in which we actually do experience it — that is, the object of experience, the “it,” is socially constituted and so, without the social (i.e., in this case, social media), there’s no experience to be had. Continue reading “Living in the Now”

The Return of the Self

Picture 11Something interesting took place in the late 18th century; although we were already seeing books on such topics as self-denial, self-ignorance, and self-condemnation, a prior, declining discourse on the self seems to have been re-purposed and successfully connected to two other, equally prior, discourses that had, up until then, been of little consequence: the discourse on the individual and the discourse on experience. Continue reading “The Return of the Self”

Smooth Aviator

Picture 3The airport in Birmingham, AL, that I fly in and out of, just got a facelift, part of a national effort to update some US airports. Half of it was closed for a major renovation, which was completed last Spring, and now the other half is closed and being ripped apart so that it too can be reinvented. The new terminal is spacious and bright, with new vendors and electrical outlets at many of the seats, and easy listening music playing throughout.

And Morgan Freeman talks to you every few minutes. Continue reading “Smooth Aviator”

“What’s Regular For You?”

6029203887_4ae9a1ff1c_zA few years ago, when our main annual conference was held in Toronto, I walked into a Starbucks downtown, on my way to the convention centre (yes, that’s how Canadians spell it — deal with it). Apart from the curious (though once familiar) experience of all of us standing in a single line and then moving to one of the three open registers each in our turn (instead of my experience here in Tuscaloosa, where it’s each consumer for him/herself once a cashier opens), there was another moment in which the practical conditions of day-to-day life in TO (yeah, that’s what people in the know call it) made evident that a rather different sense of the the subject — of the individual-in-relation-to-the-group — was in operation north of the border.

Continue reading ““What’s Regular For You?””

The Birth of Irony

pubicPut it down to sloppy reading, perhaps, or more likely early-adolescent titillation that causes one to skip ahead, read every third word, and hope that there’s pictures on the next page, but I admit that when I first got the technical specs on “where babies come from” — yes, from a book that my mom gave me and yes, there were tastefully drawn pictures with, wait for it…, anatomic precision — I was puzzled by why it was called “public hair.” Continue reading “The Birth of Irony”