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Today I went to a coffee shop to get my usual, a coffee black to stay. I have an account with the shop because they don't take credit cards unless you're paying a lot, so every few months I charge it up with twenty or thirty dollars.

The girl behind the counter has very short hair, and she plays in a band that I have seen play around the town. I ordered my coffee (she knows it by heart, god bless her), and she asked if I wanted it on my account. I told her yes.

She asked me what I was reading. I asked her if she had ever heard of Lacan, and she said she had read him in some of her women's study courses.

I took out my credit card and she reminded me I was using my account, and then she opened her mouth, and I thought I hear a telephone ringing. The dog told me that my account was running low. I walked upstairs, into the basement.

Life is lonely here, humans.

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Probably right around the time you decided to go to Purdue, amiright amiright? The thing I don't like about these "hot" "new" "fields" is that they aren't new, they are only hot because people are a

thestage, Fishbucket, you guys are aware that you can study some things, and other people can study different things, and that's okay, right?

Yes, all that new technology that we've developed to turn us into insects and allow us to communicate with aliens has really rejuvenated the humanities!

Gathered some people articulating the field's importance for you, Fishbucket, so you don't have to do any more reading that the bare minimum.

I have no more upvotes, but you are rocking it my fellow comrade!  So I will give you this animated gif.

 

(also, I'm happy to have been quoted :-D)

 

patrick-bateman-upvote.jpg

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Today I went to a coffee shop to get my usual, a coffee black to stay. I have an account with the shop because they don't take credit cards unless you're paying a lot, so every few months I charge it up with twenty or thirty dollars.

The girl behind the counter has very short hair, and she plays in a band that I have seen play around the town. I ordered my coffee (she knows it by heart, god bless her), and she asked if I wanted it on my account. I told her yes.

She asked me what I was reading. I asked her if she had ever heard of Lacan, and she said she had read him in some of her women's study courses.

I took out my credit card and she reminded me I was using my account, and then she opened her mouth, and I thought I hear a telephone ringing. The dog told me that my account was running low. I walked upstairs, into the basement.

Life is lonely here, humans.

Word.

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Second, you guys keep trying to find some argument by which it's responsible or useful to prejudge entire fields of inquiry while admitting you haven't read them. You can't, because that's juvenile and unfair. You're operating from a position of ignorance and should let it go.

and yet, I managed to read fifty pages of material yesterday on a whim. I somehow doubt all the YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND contingent has ever bothered to read something on account of what someone they don't like on grad cafe had to say.

Edited by thestage
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and yet, I managed to read fifty pages of material yesterday on a whim. I somehow doubt all the YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND contingent has ever bothered to read something on account of what someone they don't like on grad cafe had to say.

 

A prospective graduate student in English read 50 pages on a whim?!? Alert the press!

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Good times people, good times. But no one bothered to address my question about how long a streak of hotness lasts in the profession.

 

I started this thread, I'm smart, I can handle things, not like everyone says, like dumb--I'm smart! And I want respect! I'm your older brother, ZincWillis, and I was passed over! Answer my questions!

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Good times people, good times. But no one bothered to address my question about how long a streak of hotness lasts in the profession.

 

I started this thread, I'm smart, I can handle things, not like everyone says, like dumb--I'm smart! And I want respect! I'm your older brother, ZincWillis, and I was passed over! Answer my questions!

I don't know how long it lasts.

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I expect that the popularity of cultural materialism will last a bit longer. I think if you look at major journals and top institutions, it's pretty clear that a sort of re-envisioning of formalism is on the horizon. Psychoanalytic criticism always seems to have a devout following. I think eco-criticism is starting to grow up a bit, and I would expect it to stay around for a while. Thing theory seems to be taking off, but I don't know enough about it to speak to its staying power. (As an aside, I would welcome some introductory material on thing theory).

 

I know these are just a few areas of inquiry, but I think these are a few that have the potential to stay around for a while (for better or worse). I suppose the 800 pound gorilla-- even in this brief inventory-- is the staying power of what is currently called the digital humanities. I'm not really sure that I understand the claims that DH constitutes a theory or pursuit unto itself, but I know of many who would disagree. My personal opinion is that doing digital humanities is just doing humanities and that sooner or later critical examination of texts, archives, and their digital mediums using digital tools will be so standard as to not deserve a special adjective. (In fact, it seems to me that there are a whole lot of scholars already doing this who don't call themselves digital humanists).

 

It's obviously impossible to forecast the staying power of streaks of hotness with complete accuracy, but the best way (only way?) to understand the trends in the field is to pick some really top notch journals in your field of inquiry and read the last 10 years or so of issues.

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I saw this thread over on the history board and thought it would be good to see what it evokes here:

 

"Which topics, theories, and themes are "hot" in (English) today? What are the buzz words, and what is everyone reading about across various regional interests and fields?"

 

On the history board there was a lot of consensus about DH (just like us I guess) and also some mention of things that are probably old hat in English (like "transnational" (read: postcolonial) and "interdisciplinary").

 

Just have to stick up for history for a second here -- "transnational" is not the same as post-colonial.  It's more about breaking down nation-states (and empires!) as categories of analysis.  The study of history has so often been about "the United States" or "France" and so on, but that approach puts every country in a silo, as though ideas/people/objects/economic shifts/etc. don't flow across borders.  Transnationalism not a new idea in history, but hotter topics like borderlands history and environmental history draw from it.

 

History has been interdisciplinary in various ways for a very long time, so I'm not sure what that particular poster meant.  It is true that if you have a PhD in something other than History (i.e. a "studies" degree), a certain conservative element of the historical profession will react poorly to your job application.

Edited by Katzenmusik
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My problem with animal studies and that realm of criticism is that it someone smacks of "we've looked at humans long enough, let's move on". However, I have VERY limited experience with this area, not just as a matter of newness but just a lack of active engagement. 

 

Ecocriticism to some degree has a similar feel. I went to a lecture a little over a week ago and I wanted so much to follow the speaker's logic, and I did, up until she essentially used her observation of a homeless woman in an outdoor church as an example of how life (human/plant/animal) interconnects and isn't it beautiful, etc. Meanwhile, I don't see a humanist using a person's homeless as a means to a "greater" point. But again, that's really my most relevant interaction with ecocriticism, so I haven't dug much into that. That one part of the speech just rubbed me the wrong way. 

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My problem with animal studies and that realm of criticism is that it someone smacks of "we've looked at humans long enough, let's move on". However, I have VERY limited experience with this area, not just as a matter of newness but just a lack of active engagement. 

 

Ecocriticism to some degree has a similar feel. I went to a lecture a little over a week ago and I wanted so much to follow the speaker's logic, and I did, up until she essentially used her observation of a homeless woman in an outdoor church as an example of how life (human/plant/animal) interconnects and isn't it beautiful, etc. Meanwhile, I don't see a humanist using a person's homeless as a means to a "greater" point. But again, that's really my most relevant interaction with ecocriticism, so I haven't dug much into that. That one part of the speech just rubbed me the wrong way. 

 

This has been my experience too, jazzy. I think there's a lot to ecocriticism, but I think it suffers this kind of assessment frequently. But like I said earlier, I do think it's starting to grow up a bit. Personally, I think some of the ecocritical/animal studies discourses that are talking about Derrida/Levinas/Merleau-Ponty are really interesting and avoid some of the pitfalls of the kind of analysis you mentioned. And I'm sure there are other conversations going on that don't necessarily involve that line of thought.

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