. . . . The poor women / at the fountain are laughing together between / the suffering they have known and the awfulness / in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody / in the village is very sick. There is laughter / every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta, / and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay. / If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction, / we lessen the importance of their deprivation. / We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, / but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have / the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless / furnace of this world. To make injustice the only / measure of our attention is to praise the Devil. / If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, / we should give thanks that the end had magnitude. / We must admit there will be music despite everything.
—Jack Gilbert, from “A Brief for the Defense”
In the story about becoming-impasse [where there is a something that isn’t shared yet, but could be], what is starved for is not sex or romantic intimacy but the emotional time of being-with, time where it is possible to value floundering around with others whose attention-paying to what’s happening is generous and makes liveness possible as a good, not a threat, and in the fear of the absence of which people choose to be with their cake.
—Lauren Berlant, “Starved”
Friendship is not a telos. Desire prevails as the moment of uncertainty whose gap in space and time we cherish, whose politics we acclaim as the point of departure, of disagreement, of sensation, of hope. . . . Friendship is human, it is of the world, it worlds. Friendship is political, it is a reminder that all thought, all sense, all touch, all language is for and toward an other. As Derrida writes, ‘there is thinking being—if, at least, thought must be thought of an other—only in friendship. . . . I think, therefore I am an other. I think, therefore I need an other (in order to think).’ Friendship is a movement of sensation, a politics of touch that that challenges me to (mis)count myself as other. Friendship is a condition of emergence, it is where my senses lead me, it is the fold of experience out of which a certain politics is born.
—Erin Manning, The Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty
You will forgive me for writing you a very long letter . . . .
I am recently returned from the annual meeting of the Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies [held in Philadelphia from Nov. 20th – 23rd] where one of the sessions—“Whither Renaissance Studies?”—was a roundtable discussion about the future of Renaissance studies, organized by Ellen MacKay and Constance Furey [both at Indiana University], and of course I was very interested to attend this. Jeffrey’s early modernist colleague at George Washington, Holly Dugan [who works on the senses, smell in particular, and also on animal ravishment] was one of the panelists, as was Will Stockton [Ball State University], author of the forthcoming book The Anal Erotics of Early Modern Comedy [Minnesota, 2009] and also co-editor, with Stephen Guy-Bray and Vin Nardizzi, of the forthcoming [from Ashgate’s Queer Interventions series] Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze, and Elliott Visconsi [Yale University], who works on the intersections between literature, the law, and political thought in England and America from the seventeenth through eighteenth centuries, and is the author of Lines of Equity: Literature and the Origins of the Law in Later Stuart England [Cornell, 2008]. There was first some discussion [on the part of MacKay and Furey], as is generally expected in these types of discussion, of the ways in which early modern studies would have to invent or re-find various modes of inter- or cross-disciplinarity, and I was immediately reminded of a colloquium session I had attended last spring at my own university [Southern Illinois] on the question, or crisis, of interdisciplinarity, where the Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies [and scholar of early French music, poetry, and travel writing] at the Newberry Library, Carla Zecher, raised the question of whether or not certain important singular insights of a particular singular discipline get run over or lost when that discipline hooks up, as it were, with another, and then she also raised the provocative question of who or what, finally, benefits from interdisciplinary work? Further, as regards funding in the humanities, future interdisciplinary projects will likely be driven [funded] by digital humanities initiatives that will greatly change the ways in which we work with the primary materials of our respective subject fields, and this is something to consider [but how? that question was left hanging—although I would point everyone in the direction of Stephen Greenblatt’s recent digital and interdisciplinary humanities course at Harvard, “Travel and Transformation in the Early 17th Century,” for an idea of how courses will be affected by digital funding initiatives in the humanities].
Lutz Koepnick, professor of German, film, and media studies at Washington University in Saint Louis, and author of Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Power and The Dark Mirror: German Cinema Between Hitler and Hollywood [among other books], asked if we were not always already interdisciplinary, and further, wasn’t interdisciplinarity the norm before disciplines came along [this is a particular historical point we medievalists would do well to consider] and what are disciplines to begin with, anyway [we can at least say, I would add, with Foucault, that they repulse teratologies]? Shouldn’t we also, maybe, be cautious about continually invoking the term “interdisciplinary” as if it were novel somehow and still on the horizon in some fashion? Wasn’t saying that one’s work was interdisciplinary like saying, “I drink coffee”? Everyone does it, like breathing, so what? Further, what do we expect from disciplines, anyway—are they ever really stable [which is kind of what Zecher was implying—that they have some sort of integrity that might be undermined by being penetrated or appropriated or co-opted, as it were, by another discipline]? Most important, in my mind, was that Koepnick was raising the question here of the exhaustion of the question of interdisciplinarity. And this was a nice prelude to Carsten Strathausen, Chair of the Department of German and Russian studies at the University of Missouri, who works on new media, political philosophy, literary theory, and the history of science [he wrote The Look of Things: Poetry and Vision Around 1900 and is also the editor of A Leftist Ontology], who stated that disciplinarity itself is a myth and we should be asking ourselves what interdisciplinarity looks like from the inside [but what does this mean? I've been trying to picture it, but unsuccessfully—isn't this what we do too much of already?] as well as investigating more seriously the negative friction that exists between scientists and humanists.
And all of this causes me to reflect as well on a recent letter from Michael Moore to me, where he was responding to my recent talk on the Resurrection paintings of Stanley Spencer and certain non-teleological and poethically affective ways of touching the past, and he wrote, “As an historian, I am probably not ready for a poethics and a non-directional time: in this sense history does not function in the same way as literature—if a work of literature is read back to front, or if it is subjected to specialized forms of analysis, it suffers less than the memory of a person or a city.” So here we have the idea of, perhaps, a kind of impasse between the ways in which a scholar of literature and an historian might approach, let’s say, the rendering of or accounting for past persons and objects and times [for drawing close to them in and against time], although I actually think Michael’s essay on a Miloszan humanism—where he quotes the aphorism of Gómez Dávila: “Literature is not merely a game of fantasy. The literary dimension is no superficial aspect of the world, it is the very depth of things”—belies what he says in his letter to me, and I also don’t know if we can really hold in place distinct lines between “literature” and “history” since so much of history is only known to us through literature, broadly speaking: legal memorandums, letters, census lists, poetry, sermons, diaries, sacred texts, and the like, and the scholarship in contemporary historiography on the negotiations between “history” and “literature” stands in piles and piles of books in my study and we might say, even over and against that, with Edith Wyschogrod, that “[t]he invisible dead undo or un-write the predicative and iterative historical narrative in the blank space that is the placeholder of an infinite transcendence in historical writing” [“Memory, History, Revelation: Writing the Dead Other,” in Michael A. Signer, ed., Memory and History in Christianity and Judaism, p. 32]. And I also do not think the dead lie still waiting for us to recover them in their supposed singularity only through their visible, supposedly coherent “remains” but rather, act as placeholders of an infinite series of desires, motions, and transformations in which I can only glimpse contradictions of body, mind, and nature, and never a settled answer to any question I could ask. I don’t know, finally, if a person or a city is any more settled or intact or only one thing that goes in only one direction, more so than a book, such that it needs a special protection or would want one, or is more vulnerable to harm than a book which itself may be all that remains of a person or a city. But still . . . .
So this brings me back to the roundtable session at the GEMCS meeting, “Whither Renaissance Studies?” and you will forgive the digression into the discussion on the question, or crisis, of interdisciplinarity at the colloquium at my university last April, but I zag there digressively in order to signal my occasional sense of frustration at always hearing about interdisciplinarity as the future thing we should always be doing, or doing better, or differently. We really are, either, always already doing it [and often in very facile or overly-well-trod ways], anyway, or, more troubling, we have not even adequately historicized what a discipline is such that we could ever hope to understand what interdisicplinarity is or does [and do we even have the time? that is another sort of exhaustion]. And perhaps, also, every time we talk about different sorts of interdisciplinarity we just kind of lapse, as Cary Wolfe has argued elsewhere, into systems of “hetero-reference” that are always products of self-reference. And this is partly why I found Holly Dugan’s comments at the GEMCS roundtable session so refreshing, and which I will try to sum up here [and if Holly reads this and thinks I may not have adequately represented her comments, I hope she will correct me]:
1. because so many sub-fields within Renaissance studies are so strong and healthy on their own [i.e., Scottish literature, Shakespeare, Tudor political history, etc.], there is almost a kind of occlusion of what might be called a broader “Renaissance studies,” and yet, at the same time, these sub-fields kind of “hold together,” even on their own [and maybe together, collectively], because they are always kind of attached to the historical marker “Renaissance” [and therefore, the vitality of the field as a whole depends upon this marker of historical difference]
2. but what, then, is the more particular specificity of this “historical difference” of Renaissance studies, broadly speaking [from everything else], and why does it matter?
3. there is obviously a canonicity—as well as an actual, well-known canon—that arises from this historical difference [which may be lacking in certain sharp historical specificities], and vice versa [a historical difference that is produced by this canonicity]: is there any way any of this could lead to a new interdisciplinarity in which historicism, or historical difference, was not the central organizing principle?
4. are there “big questions” that are, in a sense, beyond discipline, and that scholars in specific areas of study could go after in collaboration with scholars in other areas of study? is it possible that there are certain big questions—i.e., having to do with bodies and embodiments, or human/other rights, social justice, etc.—that should maybe serve as primary organizing principles for disciplines that would then always, in some sense, be beyond discipline, or put another way, could this lead to a new interdisciplinarity that would be beyond historicism, or in which historicism would not be not central?
5. do new spaces, virtual and post- or extra-institutional [such as weblogs, live journals, Second Life, working groups, cross-campus reading groups, online symposia, Institutes, etc.] hold out promise for a new scholarship that would be more collaborative and processural—allowing intellectual work to be literally viewed and seen as it develops itself in tandem with other intellectual work that is also being shared and made visible as it progresses from the inception of tentative questions and ideas to more fully fleshed out articles and books, etc.? is there a certain value in this processural and even almost "live" scholarship that is not obtainable in other, more traditional ways of "doing" scholarship?
Elliott Visconsi brought in Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History, which argues for a kind of laboratory, macro-critical, quantitative approach to retrieving different sorts of “data” from literary texts [statistical, botanical, geographical, etc.], in order to raise the question of what sort of data literature has to offer that maybe we haven’t considered, such as, say, sociological or economic information, which is not the same thing as literary-historical information. Moretti, as some of our readers may already know, argues for a practice of “distant reading,” in which all of literature is a kind of “planetary system,” and following Max Weber’s idea that “It is not the ‘actual’ interconnection of ‘things,’ but the conceptual interconnection of problems which define the scope of the various sciences,” Moretti proposes, against close readings of individual texts [which he views as a “theological exercise—very solemn treatment of very few texts taken very seriously”], focusing instead on “units that are much smaller or much larger than the text: devices, themes, tropes—or genres and systems. And if, between the very small and the very large, the text itself disappears, well, it is one of those cases when one can justifiably say, Less is more” [see Moretti, “Conjectures on World Literature,” New Left Review]. This approach means less “actual reading” of texts and more analysis of certain shapes, relations, and structures in those texts in order to grasp, say, the “system” of the modern English novel as a whole as it perhaps intersects, or does not intersect, say, with the "system" of the modern French novel. So, following Elliott following Moretti, we might consider certain comparative morphologies that might arise from a more scientific or social-scientific approach to literature [and for Elliott this might make a lot of sense since one of the theses of his own recent work-in-progress on the discourses of separation of church and state in post-Revolutionary England and America is that it is in the domains of the literary that the concept of "civil religion" emerges]. And regardless of whether or not Moretti’s approach makes you cringe, I myself am appreciative of something he argues that also connects with some of Holly’s commentary regarding “big questions”—for one of the things Moretti says is that we have to figure out new ways to ask of literature new questions, and those questions should have worldly and planetary dimensions, they should be “big questions” that aim at the global dimensions of a Weltliteratur, because in a sense, as Moretti writes, “the study of world literature is—inevitably—a study of the struggle for symbolic hegemony across the world.” To round out the roundtable discussion in Philadelphia, Will Stockton reserved his comments for the pragmatic questions: regardless of what we do now or decide to do later, how does the market for our work affect all of this: who will want this work? who will hire us? who is going to buy our books? who is going to publish them? etc.
So, for me, this was a very thought-provoking discussion, and because Holly raised the issue of “big questions” that transcend disciplines and also working groups and new forms of processural and collaborative scholarship, I found myself scribbling furious notes in my notebook all weekend relative to how I would like for the BABEL Working Group to further define its mission and aims, and I was already partly motivated to think further about this thanks to Holly Crocker whose comments here at In The Middle [back in August when we were discussing Carolyn Dinshaw’s Getting Medieval and more recently] regarding professionalism, community, and affect have been important prods to my thinking more deeply about some of my personal aims for BABEL and for the communities I hope we are forming here through In The Middle and other weblogs and elsewhere—at conferences and symposia, through various collaborative writing projects, etc. but also through the development of certain spaces of play. And I was thinking, listening to Holly Dugan in Philadelphia, that one thing that often seems missing from all of these discussions regarding the future of this or that discipline and the future of this or that methodology or theory, etc. [yet Holly D. did partly touch upon it and thereby spurred my thinking here] is the question of the forms and affects of how we might do this work—whatever work it is we decide should be done—together. And further, how to make, perhaps, a central “big question” of our work, in whatever disciplinary or interdisciplinary formation, the question of being-together itself [which question, of course, I borrow from Bill Readings’ The University in Ruins]?
In other words, is it possible that the primary question to which we should be attending [but which is often overlooked or disregarded, partly because our profession prizes and awards singular “genius” and knowledge gained through agonistic competition over everything else] is how to put into motion a “shifting disciplinary structure that holds open the question of where and how our thoughts fit together” [Readings, The University in Ruins, p. 192]? This would entail imagining and practicing new communities made up, not of subjects, but of singularities, and the members of these communities would not share, in Readings’ words “an immanent identity to be revealed,” but rather would seek to make their differences and heteronomies “more complex.” And my thinking here is also influenced by Dinshaw’s call, in Getting Medieval, for “disaggregative” projects, or coalitions, in which the embracing of the idea of fragmented and discontinuous and non-essentialized selves and becoming-selves enables contingent and politically engaged relations with other becoming-selves who are interested [and hopefully invested] in the task [or is the art?] of dreaming and developing and living new co-affective inter-subjectivities through a series of “crossings” and cross-identifications between present and past and future, between the material to the immaterial, between living and textual and other inorganic phenomena, between human and non-human, etc. I am influenced, too, by Cary Howie’s thinking in Claustrophilia that “there is, finally, no such thing as solitary confinement. The question of being inside and the question of how it is possible to speak this fragile pronoun, ‘we,’ across temporal, spatial, and ontological difference, never cease to overlap and literally to inform one another” [p. 1]. But there would have to be room, too, for those whom Michael Cobb calls the isolated or single figures who might want some distance between themselves and the rest of us in order to think ontology and politics “beyond the relation” [see Michael Cobb, “Lonely,” South Atlantic Quarterly 106.3 (Summer 2007): 445-57, and see also Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer, p. 47 and The Coming Community, p. 65]. In the end, it hits me: we are always saying “interdisciplinary interdisciplinary interdisciplinary blah blah blah fuckety blah blah interdisciplinary,” but we never consider what it is that we are giving to that [so-called “other discipline”] from which we are mainly taking, and we certainly don’t think enough about the collective nature of it all: are we in this together or aren’t we, and what is this “this” anyway? Why do you care about it so much, and might you care for me caring about it? And how? Should I look for happiness in this, or somewhere else? Can we be kinder to each other and still accomplish good work [maybe sometimes even choose each other over the work]? What is “good work,” anyway?
We have to have, I think, a project of friendship, of friendship as a form of politics that would radically unsettle the normative-dominant and top-down masculine-agonistic structures of how we do things in here [within the university proper, within English studies proper, but also within our sub-fields proper: Chaucer studies, Anglo-Saxon studies, philology, medieval European history, what-have-you], and this would be a friendship that would aim, in Erin Manning’s words, at “a democracy without symmetry, an infinite alterity, a movement that invents divergent positionalities that converge, that make contact, that disperse” [The Politics of Touch, p. 48]. Friendship between us could never be a given, nor could it be about reaching consensus, but I sometimes wonder how we can ever accomplish anything substantive as regards the “big questions” [i.e., is it still possible to formulate and practice “human rights”? is social justice possible? what is the purpose of art? etc.] if we don’t at least agree to proceed in some sort of amity and accord over the importance of asking such questions and trying to answer them, from whatever avenues leading wherever, in a spirit of mutual generosity and with gratefulness and even desire for each other’s labors. And this will require, in Manning’s formulation, an
ethics of contact, of response, a necessity to cross the space-time between me and you, even perhaps to do violence to space and time in order to be certain that movement is what is at stake. Without movement, there is no capacity to respond, to touch, to be a friend. . . . Movement is not indexed to position, our positionality is our movement, our politics is our friendship, our touch is our politics. [The Politics of Touch, pp. 46, 47]When BABEL was first formed, it wasn’t—at least, not initially—about big questions, but was all about trying to change or subvert certain professional affects and it was also about working for the inclusion of everything, as regards “what counts” as “real work” in the discipline of medieval studies. It was really, to be honest, about trying to change what might be called the forbidding atmosphere of, say, a conference, at the molecular level—to just refuse to participate in the elitism and sucking up and gate-keeping and censure and affected posturing and fear of dis-approbation, and instead, to engage in as many nutty intellectual experiments as possible [resulting in, I might add, quite a few conference sessions with audiences of 2 or none listening to papers on Chaucer and surfing, Beowulf and the wars in Sierra Leone, the comedian Bill Hicks and the human as pathogen, the grafting of human neurons on the brains of fetal monkeys, Plato’s Symposium and Jane Bennett’s work on sites of enchantment, Margery Kempe and Battlestar Galactica, The Iliad and Cindy Sheehan’s extended mourning of her son killed in the Iraq War, etc.]. We wanted to be creative, to not take ourselves too seriously, while nevertheless taking our intellectual subjects deadly seriously, and to have fun, to be friendly to everyone we met, no matter who they were, and to practice certain light arts of silliness with each other and whoever we “picked up” along the way. You could even say that we put a lot more effort into the art of the pick-up at conferences than we did into worrying over whether or not anyone was listening to our papers. If BABEL is a club—and I have heard some claim that it is—then it is one in which anyone can be a member, and we are particularly fond of the stranger whom we have not yet met. Indeed, this is a deeply ethical point with us and can be summed up in these lines from Pablo Neruda, “I don’t know you. I love you. / I don’t give away thorns, and I don’t sell them.” Some people don’t want to be loved, of course [point taken!], but we have had our fun, and fun is grossly underrated in our field: as Joan Retallack has written, “To become adult in our culture (which for most of us means to become compliantly productive) is . . . to be increasingly disabled for the kinds of humorous and dire, purposeful play that creates geometries of attention revelatory of silences in the terrifying tenses that elude official grammars” [The Poethical Wager, p. 62].
Our disciplines, even within the humanities, have become incredibly scientistic and “efficient” and forbidding in many ways [there is an idea, which is also a fact, in medieval studies, that one must be “trained” in a certain way and possess certain skills related to material-cultural excavations and translations of various sorts, and without such training, or reliance on what is considered the most proper training, you do not “count,” you cannot count], and even our more radical theorists [not counting some of my heroes, such as Deleuze and Guattari] move and think and postulate only within the very narrow lanes and languages of the very Western hermeneutics whose foundations they are supposedly dismantling for us [this is why, in the end, as much as I admire and even follow him on the hunt through certain dark thickets, Derrida just turns and turns and turns and turns on the circuit of a certain perpetual undecidability—on this point, see Simon Critchley’s The Ethics of Deconstruction], and we have not left enough room for ambiguity, chance, chaos, and delight. We do not say, with John Cage, “Here Comes Everybody listening to everybody else, isn’t that a marvelous thing? What’s going on here? It seems as if anything is possible.”
As time has gone on, BABEL’s mission has become more focused in relation to those “big questions” Holly D. invoked at the conference in Philadelphia, as have our efforts to collaborate with scholars both within and outside of medieval studies on those questions, and we have also become more concerned to formulate and practice a more present-minded medieval studies and to also create new venues for “practicing” these studies in collaboration with others both within and beyond our field, and yet, still, thanks to that roundtable session in Philadelphia and also because of questions raised here regarding what, finally, counts as “professional,” and how trying to build affective community within and beyond medieval studies could have unanticipated negative [and perhaps oppressive] effects, I find that for myself—and only for myself, I am only speaking here on my own behalf and only in my own voice, no one else’s—that this is the critical issue for me: not what we will talk about, write about, publish [although of course this matters, it will always matter, some things really are at stake, and as Paul Strohm has argued elsewhere, we need some point of attachment for our critique, we must place ourselves somewhere, if even bemusedly], but how we will do it, together, or alone. For the most part, historically, we have been left to our own devices, and as Zygmunt Bauman has argued, in late modernity, being an individual is no longer a choice, but a fate. We are truly on our own, whether we succeed or fail and the burden is heavy as a result [as is the melancholy or mania or both surely to result].
I think the culture of how we do things has to change, and I will expend every once of energy I have trying to change it [and to answer Will Stockton’s questions about who is going to support/publish whatever work we want to do, this is another reason we need more and not less collectivity and even synergies between collectivities, because the answer, Will, is we’re going to do it ourselves and by whatever means possible]: I want more inclusivity, more voices, more openness, more friendship, more democracy, more experimentation, more kindness, more generosity, more playfulness, more poetry [and less hermeneutics], more roguishness [a la Michael O'Rourke's roguish queer studies], more silliness, more self-ironizing, more freedom, and more awareness that, finally, it’s not a question any more of whether you want to be touched by me or not, because at some level, we are all already touched by everything [the “not-us” is lodged deeply with every “us” that can be conceptualized], and we need to find better ways of both welcoming but also guarding each other’s difference within what is already a world gone mad with touching [good touch, bad touch, and everything in between], while also seeing that, without reaching-toward [which is touch even before this reaching arrives, if it ever does, at its object], we’ll have to think this world, perhaps, too much on our own, and in the usual stultifying ways, and in any case, as Cary Howie has argued, “there is no such thing as solitary confinement” [except when there is, of course, at places like Guantanamo Bay, but that’s not you or me, is it?]. And this will also mean that we will have to be willing to risk embarrassment; we have to be willing to make fools of ourselves; we need more foolishness [for example, I’m pretty sure I’m making a fool of myself right now, and it might get worse before I’m done]. It might also mean accepting the suspicion that Nicola voices on his blog The Whim, that “whim” might have “something to do with the fact that anything is happening at all.”
I want a possibilistic, potential medieval studies [anything is possible, nothing has happened, anything could happen], one which could only be achieved with a certain mode of cruising, as explicated in Leo Bersani’s Homos, where we repudiate property and citizenship and narcissistic self-containment, where we refuse to “settle . . . for an intersubjectivity cleansed of all fantasmic curiosity,” and where we ask nothing more of the objects of our desires “than to share a certain space with them” [p. 124]. This also means figuring out how to let others be, how to provide spaces within which others can emerge because they have, partly through my desire for a potentializing and not a totalizing relation, the “freedom to reappear, always, as subjects too inconclusive, too multiple, too unfinished, ever to be totally loved” [Bersani and Dutoit, Forms of Being, p. 68]. We are also going to have to imagine and bring into being new forms of “taking care”—why do we have all these discussions about the health or ill health or future or no-future of our discipline [whether literary studies most broadly or medieval studies more narrowly] and practically no discussions about what we mean to each other in this work? If our discipline fails, it will partly be because we neglected this question and opted for singular and selfish acts of heroism and suicide instead. So, for me, this friendship I want, which I believe is political, and which I want to argue here will have to be the basis upon which any future disciplinarities or interdisciplinarities [or anti-disciplinarities] will be built and hopefully prosper, has something to do with creating new spaces for the enabling and enaction of what Thomas Carlson describes as the most loving, yet also most difficult, gesture:
There is perhaps no act less loving than to step in for another, or indeed all others, so as to make everything already actual for them, given ahead of time; and there is perhaps no act more loving, or more difficult to define, or quite simply more difficult, than to give another the actuality of possibility itself—to give another time and life. [The Indiscrete Image: Infinitude and the Creation of the Human, p. 216]I should clarify that, with Sara Ahmed, I agree that there "is no good love that, in [simply] speaking its name, can change the world into the referent for that name. But in the resistance to speaking in the name of love, in the recognition that we do not simply act out of love, and in the understanding that love comes with conditions however unconditional it might feel, we can find perhaps a different kind of line or connection between the others we care for, and the world to which we want to give shape" [The Cultural Politics of Emotion, p. 141]. And I would suggest that one way in which we might do that would be in working together to clear certain spaces and lighten certain loads so that our field could have a wider purchase on the realms of disciplinary and professional possibility. To work harder at giving each other the actuality of possibility itself—this is what I have been trying to say all along. For when we lose possibility, we lose happiness, and I—I am working for happiness.