Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Reading Group Reunited

So the reading group held its first in-person meeting in a month today. We caught up on one another’s US adventures (and the slightly less adventurous things that occured in Australia), and we discussed academic politics, the popularity of certain theoretical traditions within specific academic fields, barriers to interdisciplinary work, our fears about whether anyone is now reading, or ever will read, our work and, occasionally, even Steven Pinker’s Language Instinct. I’ll leave Pinker aside for the moment, as *nudge* G. Gollings intends to introduce the online discussion of this work. I’m also simply too exhausted to summarise the rest of our substantive discussion, though I feel a bit guilty about this, as we really did manage to cover a lot of ground in interesting and productive ways – I feel like I should have brought a tape recorder. Then again…

While we wait on the official Pinker thread (no pressure, of course… ;-P), I’ll content myself here with a few conversational snippets taken out of context:

The travel tales began with an appropriately poetic introduction: “America is of course one of the world’s great works of fiction…”

The end of the trip, however, was not as poetic as the beginning, with the story moving through a detailed description of the labyrinthine and cryptic baggage handling procedures required to depart from LAX, leading to the observation: “It was like a big ‘Fuck you!’ on your way out of the country.”

In spite of the many temptations and distractions during their trip, the reading group members had remained in occasional touch with the blog, and had noticed from afar – very far afar, from the sounds of it – the recent influx of Lacanian themes. The reading group members expressed their concern, and have offered technical assistance: “You know, that’s the second-worst problem on the web right now, after spam – we’re developing software to take care of that.”

In the end, our catch-up chat was quite protracted, and the wait staff were impressed – if not by the breadth or depth, then at least by the duration – of our conversation, and commented when we surrendered our table: “Well, that was a long discussion.”

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