[iDC] IPF09 Conference thoughts

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Fri Dec 11 17:45:50 UTC 2009

John, of course there is a fight here, the stakes are exactly as high  
as you say. It's also the case that many of us need to be prodded and  

But it is also the case that the situation requires careful  
stewardship. Short-term and improvised changes are one thing, but long- 
term plans for revision and transformation require time, and that time  
will have to come from somewhere. Those of us with more job stability  
should probably accept more of the sacrifice in this area, and not  
expect the same amount from those just starting out or stretched  
through precarity between multiple sites of income. And across these  
locations, we will have to make decisions about what short-term damage  
to accept in the interest of long-term change. Every minute I place  
into working with others to design, strategize and implement counter- 
pedagogical efforts is a minute away from helping current students  
hobble through the broken rubble.

I appreciate your urge to mobilize, and the urgency should not be  
understated. But we must acknowledge the diversity of positions, the  
ways in which our colleagues in the collaborative effort are  
differently susceptible to risk.

Admittedly, it would be ideal to not be working so carefully around a  
broken system of work and alienation - one shouldn't have to depend on  
a job for healthcare, for example. But in many places that is the fact  
of it.

You and I may be in agreement on this, or we might just be re-enacting  
a familiar activist debate. Just wanted to clarify myself in response  
to your needed energetic call.


On Dec 10, 2009, at 12:44 PM, John Hopkins wrote:

> Kevin -
>> Toward the end of acknowledging the need for reflexivity in these
>> critiques, I should add that where I perceive my students as locked  
>> into
>> a cybernetic sensorium, I don't see a way out that doesn't also  
>> require
>> a great deal from me. Instructors will have to perform/adopt new  
>> views
>> as well, and risk living by different rituals than those which  
>> write the
>> limited subjectivities we fight. In the current economic climate,  
>> where
>> more is already expected of those of us with jobs, and less jobs are
>> available for those of us without, risk sounds like a tall order, I  
>> must
>> admit.
> But all else is buffoonery, a shadow of authentic be-ing.  Accepting  
> the line
> drawn by cash and social stability is how the collapse and failure  
> of the
> creative proceeds: it is a primary line which the market-driven  
> society has
> drawn deeply in the embodied be-ing of its ever-more-bound  
> participants.  To
> proceed through that abstract boundary as though it does not exist  
> is completely
> necessary for transformative change.  There is no excuse.  To allow  
> it to frame
> (as an expression of power in) the learning encounter is morally and  
> sensually
> corrupt and degrades that encounter into an exercise of social  
> propaganda that
> dooms both "the teacher" and "the student" to the limited POV of the  
> screen
> (among other creatively fatal fates)...
> What you give up as a *respectable member of society* has no value  
> in the
> process of reaching what you seek: the strength of autonomy to  
> create a *way to
> go* in life.
> This is the same fear that throttles most hopes for any behavioral  
> change
> regarding the wholesale alterations that humans are inflicting on an  
> environment
>  _which is itself changing_ ... perhaps the human species is self- 
> destructive
> and willing to thrust itself into biological irrelevance as life  
> projects itself
> forward on the planet.
> etc.
> jh
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