Been very busy around these parts amid the neverending semester (the light of Summer beckons from yon last week of May). Quickly, here, some promotional links and a dose of political outrage.
KZOO 2011 I'm speaking at the "Problematic Pets in the Middle Ages," Session 175, Valley II 205, on Friday at 10am. Unfortunately this puts me opposite our own Jeffrey Cohen, whose Friday 10am paper ("Lithic Animation, or, Do Rocks Have Souls") can be heard at Session 179, Valley I 100, and opposite, as well, a postmedieval session on "The Transcultural Middle Ages," Session 217, Schneider 1360.
The photo perhaps gives you a sense of what my paper will be about: the canis story from The Seven Sages of Rome, perhaps most famously told about St. Guinefort in Stephen of Bourbon's De Supersticione. Look here for the basic features of this story of a enraged knight who mistakenly kills his dog and then abandons himself and his family in grief. I'm going to talk about the possibilities opened up by the event of incorrect mourning: likely keytexts here include Badiou (on the event); Ahmed (un/happiness); Butler (life, nonlife, violence, mourning); and L. Rickels (on pet grief). Now that I've read 25+ versions of the story, all that remains is to write the paper. As I give it next Friday morning, I'll send my love across the Western Michigan Campus to Eileen and Jeffrey while we each do our own thing.
Self and Other Promotion: The Ohio State University Press has a preliminary webpage up for my book, which looks as though it will really be out, knock on wood, in early August 2011. Other promotion: Speculations 2 is now available: look inside for pieces by several of our favorite folks here at ITM: Levi Bryant, Timothy Morton, Nicola Masciandaro, and Michael O'Rourke.
And the OUTRAGE. University Boards of Trustees are not generally noted for their intellectual sophistication, and CUNY's is no exception. Recently, Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, former FBI guy, current finance guy, Republican appointee, led a charge to deny John Jay College's offer of an honorary degree to Tony Kushner, whom he characterizes as having incorrect opinions about Israel. The Board went along with this, though some members had no familiarity whatsoever with Kushner's work. As Kushner's response makes clear, Wiesenfeld slandered him. When pushed, Wiesenfeld conjured his mother to call Kushner a kapo; he called (some) Palestinians nonhuman; and note that in the past he has said that "while today most Muslims are not terrorists, virtually all terrorists today are Muslim" (NY Daily News Sept 5 2007). For more information, please look at, and if you're sympathetic, join this Facebook Group, "Tony Kushner: Good Enough for a Pulitzer, but Not for City University NY?"