Thursday, October 13, 2005

Calling all Zizeks

I'm currently in my second year of my Ph.D. program in Ethnic Studies at University of California, San Diego. Its a very good program in my opinion, but for some reason or another over the past year, we've had a mad rush of faculty out of the program. This year we've got two searches for new faculty positions, one being a critical gender studies hire, the other being a social theory hire.

There have been discussions throughout the department about what kind of person they'd like to bring in, what kind of work, etc. One of my friends in the program emailed me "ask Zizek to apply here."

I of course cracked up at the thought of that, and more so because I was actually considering it.

For those of you who don't know, Slavoj Zizek is my patron saint of annoying scholarship. His work is what I use most in my own work. Sometimes to make really really important points, but other times, just to piss people off. Some people call his work dense and detached, but I see it as extremely political, especially with regards to avoiding as one of my friends calls it "the state of here we go again" which marks so much contemporary "critical" work.

I have an email which is supposed to be Zizek's email, but I've never gotten any response from it (maybe I am asking the wrong questions, who knows). But I learned recently that there are alot of Zizek posers out there on the net, who post as him and email as him. So unless I get like an institutional email, chances are slim that it'll actually be him I'm getting in touch with (although I also heard that his email is supposed to be deceptively simple, like zizek@yahoo.com or zizek@hotmail.com (maybe I should just mass mail out to zizek @ anything.com))

After googling around for a while, I wondered. As a theoretical rock star, would Zizek still trawl or google around the internet on his own, or would he have tentago' who do it for him? Could I anticipate the things that he would be googling and then possibly arrange a list of terms in a post on my blog which would show up during his search?

I started searching through the terms that I know from his work, but then realized, why would he be searching for terms and things that he's already written on (except to see how they are being used and abused)? Wouldn't he be searching for things for his current modes of thinking? More funky evidence, anecdotes, slips and jokes?

I started focusing on most recent texts of Zizek's that I'm familiar with Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, his foreword to the new edition of They Know Not What They Do, and his interview in Rex Butler's Zizek Live (which is of course exactly the same as parts of Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle).

So if this was the case, then would be be searching for things on the third world and language (relating to psychosis)? Ways people are utilizing Antigone? Stories on the favelas or similar potentially subversive political communities or units? Or how about more critiques of Hardt and Negri and Empire? Or more ways of attacking the muffling of psychoanalysis and the reductionist tendencies of its proponents when dealing with politics and race? Or how about the critical value of science fiction movies? Or more ways of forming oppositional movements against American (and possibly Chinese) hegemony?

Anyways, I have no idea. I'm still trying to put a list together. No doubt, getting a hold of his most recent book to be published this or next month would help.

Would Zizek come to California anyways? To an Ethnic Studies program? I know he was here (or was supposed to be here) recently for a Lacan conference in San Francisco. But would he come here to work? Derrida did it, so did Foucault and Baudrillard. Or maybe the fact that they came would be a good enough reason not to come here. If one wants California, you should probably just watch movies or tv, you might get a better sense of it, then if you actually came here.

So if anyone has Zizek's email or would like to pretend to be Zizek, get in touch with me and I'll pass along the job description.

1 comment:

may said...

miget, if you call/email the publisher, they usually have contact info. unless, of course, "zizek" is just a pseudonym. like, what is "zizek" is really an anti-imperialist, collectively-minded, revolution-friendly, female chinese settler?

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