Just a few links

March 14, 2021

Nothing too exciting.


This is quite good.  “It’s time for faculty and administrators to be blunt: postgraduation success, more than ever, requires a demanding curriculum that includes extensive writing, facility with data and statistics, and extensive opportunities for collaboration and critical thinking.”


Nice review by Arjun Appadurai of two new books (by Mignolo and Walsh, and Mbembe) in The Nation.  Cool beans!  This part is esp interesting, apropos my interests:

A key element of Mbembe’s way of thinking, and one central to Out of the Dark Night, concerns his view of religion. Mbembe’s underlying intuition as a close but not orthodox reader of Marx and Foucault is that the modern marginalization of religion and the European amnesia about colonization are entwined in an unusual and surprising set of ways. Because the colonizers regarded African cosmologies as primitive obstacles to modernity, they were able to mask colonialism in the garb of a civilizing and secularizing process—one that brought modern knowledge to far-flung parts of the world, even as the Europeans bringing it rapaciously extracted the wealth of the colonies and dominated its peoples. For Mbembe, the disenchantment they left in Africa also ties it to the rest of the globe—a world that is now increasingly defined by a borderless capitalism.

For this reason, the reenchantment of politics is also a rejection of the violence that came with colonial disenchantment, and Mbembe’s work, as a result, is suffused with the vocabulary of repentance, sacrifice, redemption, and renewal. The religious provenance of these terms is surely traceable to his own Catholic background in Cameroon, but it also leads him to an outlook that differs from Mignolo’s, which tends to represent Indigenous thought systems, movements, and practices as exemplars of a pristine and desirable model for decolonial thinking and European religious ones as alien and oppressive. Mbembe has little patience for any cultification of the Indigenous, since this would mean a denial of the relational history of colonizer and colonized in Africa, which he regards as also being the ground of new forms of African creativity, conviviality, and social innovation.


The spectre of “Islamo-leftism” is roiling French politics today, and Didier Fassin has interesting things to say about it in this piece. To be frank (haha), France, and Europe in general, still is woefully behind the United States in reckoning with racism and ethnic difference.  Maybe three or so generations behind?  I don’t know.  This isn’t to say the US is in a good place, but things are definitely more sophisticated here, and the struggle continues.


This suggests something about the culture as a whole, and something about Twitter, and by extension social media too, and neither of the somethings are good, imho.


Good piece on the challenges that Avon NC (on the OBX) faces due to beach erosion.  I go to Avon almost every year, sometimes more than once, and the challenges are stark.


Stay safe.  Get outside today--if your weather is as nice as it is where we are, we should be outside as much as possible.  Be well!