Loose Notes

While teaching during this fractured semester–via Zoom to be sure–I found myself taking notes in loose white pages. I would steal them from my printer and write down my thoughts as I got ready to teach my classes (two sections on “Immigrant Literature,” and one on “Challenges of Modernity”).

Going over this archive, I noticed the way these loose notes seemed to reflect the current pandemic crisis; a crisis  escapes traditional forms of representation. Philosophers, from Badiou to Agamben, have offered nothing but platitudes or–in the case of Agamben–paranoiac diatribes. 

Perhaps sharing our broken thoughts can be the beginning of new forms and renewed efforts towards conceptualizing the scale of this fracture. And so below I share a collage of these fragments, culled from my loose notes.





Too simple, predictable yet effective


Karma à tragedy    (Fractured)




what is the myth of modernity? what is the essential event in the constitution of the modern ego?


Intrusive thoughts




Death –?  Aging


“closer to the earth”


Wistfulness loneliness trapped


Is language cinematic?




Forms of life / forms of death




Nature as equalizer?


“hard to distinguish what is meaningful from what is not”


a dialogue/narration (feature not a bug)


* disappointment     mortality


Discourse of Power


Is there a way you could both tell us about your day and what you were thinking simultaneously?


Can we bend narrative forms in order to better understand our social and individual lives?


Is it possible to portray both the life of an individual and the life of a society simultaneously?


Cubist Narrative


Are there any Freudian elements in Fanon’s argument?


Contra Enlightenment


Description both of a local situation and “description of the world”?


Atmosphere –> Immunology




A shift in cultural pathology


How do we learn to desire?


What is desire in not an irresistible impulse to desire what others desire; to imitate the desire of others?


the loathed rival is a mediator


Metonymic freezing


We like to think of ourselves as the heroes of our own narratives…


We like to think of ourselves as ethical when we might be callous…


We like to think that art, culture, knowledge will make us more sensitive human beings but that is only half the struggle.


There is only a handful of physical traits, yet they are enough for infinite variability; you hear a friend’s vocal inflections in the mouth of a lover.




Colonial relations as a set of rules


Via Negativa