No other interval carries an equivalent ambivalence or affect. The major seventh simultaneously belongs to its tonic and nevertheless sounds a world apart. By comparison, the tritone belongs to the major scale only as a matter of technicality; its dissonance is total, so much so that it is caricatured. Far from this crass and cartoonish dissonance, the major seventh uses dissonance to achieve transcendence. Or: the major seventh is beautiful by and through its very dissonance, through its long distance from tonic that is also the shortest distance possible.
(Chapter Four, Footnote 6)
I started a blog in 2008 or so. In the intervening decade
In the intervening decade I have probably written more than a dozen posts of this genre–the whole ‘taking-stock/backward look’ post that inevitably follows a long period of not posting anything. Usually, these periods are marked by big changes in my life, and this one is no exception. The last time I was posting with any regularity was during my first year at OSU. The experience of doing a PhD certainly re-orients where one spends time and energy, and this old blog was barely kept alive by some sense of obligation to it, which after all has been with me a while.
Now, I’m entering my last year in the program, on the verge of something new. That in itself is a topic for another time (and by “that” I mean the devastating and omnipresent knowledge that all of this is likely–statistically speaking–to not amount to anything, the knowledge that I may well have to go into a different field because the one that I want to enter is collapsing all around me). For now, what I’m thinking about after such a long absence, and indeed after nearing the end of this degree, are questions like: what would it mean to have an academic blog? Or, is it a self-canceling oxymoron to write an “academic blog”? Importantly, can I blog while I’m a job-seeking academic? And if so, how does my work–as it is now–change what this space is and is for?
I’m not at all sure, but in the time that I’ve been after this degree there at least have emerged some incredible precedents to follow. And that’s where I’ll end this little disclosure, this little shift that means both “I’d like to keep going” and “it will be different from before”: I’ll end with a list of some of the precedents I’ve found, and with an invitation to let me know which ones I’m missing out on.
List of Wonderful Academic Blogs that I have so far Come into Contact With
- Sara Ahmed’s blog, the OG, “feministkilljoys: killing joy as a world making project” (because yes you can colon and subtitle your blog name).
- Lauren Berlant’s “Supervalent Thought“.
- Robin James’ “it’s her factory: philosophy, pop music, sound studies, feminism“.
- The powerhouse “queer word art group” that is “Bully Bloggers“.
And that’s kind of it.
It’s a shorter list than I had planned. Help?
This past weekend I was lucky to present at the Capacious conference in Lancaster, PA. Subtitled “Affect Inquiry/Making Space”, the title alludes to affect’s transdisciplinary spread as well as the omnivorous attitude that such a spreading-capacity engenders, at least in my experience, in those who think with it. I found the conference to be incredibly expansive both in breadth and depth, indeed a space-making for all kinds of approaches, topics, experiences, and ideas. I come away lit up with new energy.
As I continue writing my dissertation, affect is becoming an increasingly important aspect of how I think about improvisation. Maybe I will talk about that here soon. In the meantime, if you want more affect, you can start here.