Returning to the Academiland

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On Saturday, my long trip away from the Bay Area will be coming to an end. Since the end of May, I’ve visited New York, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Arhus (also in Denmark), New York, D.C., Boston, and New York again–in more or less that order. I’ve had a productive and enjoyable summer–not only in terms of my official work but also in some Off the Books writing, which I won’t talk about in this space, since this is ostensibly a blog about my dissertation. In terms of my dissertation, I’m beginning to explore the specifics of the Habermas-Gadamer debate, which is, in all likelihood, going to become part of the theoretical set-piece that opens my dissertation. Ideas about communication, rhetoric, and different understandings of the hermeneutic tradition are at the core of what concerns many of the post-ironists who I’m writing about, even if they are unlikely to have read the specific contents of the Habermas-Gadamer exchange, and even if that exchange was written in a somewhat different socio-historical situation. At this point what I’ve got to decide is how I want to use the debate. I could treat is as interesting in itself, or interesting only inasmuch as it clarifies the positions and confusions of the post-ironists, or somehow part of the same socio-political matrix of problems which both sets are trying to overcome and address. Sorting through these possibilities is part of the taskt that I’ve set myself for the next few months. I’m inclined to avoid making grand, and hard to substantiate, statements if I can. Dealing with “questions” seems like the way to go, but of course all questions take on the force of meaning in specific historical and technological circumstances. Anyway, I may try to post in a more regular way this year. I’m still debating with myself whether blogging academic material is a useful and productive thing to do with my time.