Archive for the ‘housekeeping’ Category

In 2008, I was studying at Oxford, and happened to be in Blackwell’s books on my birthday (not really a rare occurrence, because I couldn’t walk past the shop without perusing some books, if only for a few minutes). At that time, I was engaging in many talks with a good friend on Karl Barth over some beer, so I thought it would be a good idea to actually read something substantive by him. Since I am not a theologian, probably, I decided on Der Romerbrief, thus making Romans II the first book that I specifically bought for myself on my birthday. At the time, I made a resolution to continue this tradition to the extent that I could afford it. Last year, I picked up Giorgio Agamben’s The Man Without Content and a novel by Walker Percy.

This year, I’ve basically embraced the fact that I only read literature sporadically, so I decided to stick with the philosophy. While I’d like to have continued upping the quantity of books and bought three, other restrictions like paying rent and eating have worked against that goal. However, since I have a decent-paying job right now, I was able to afford some quality-priced books. This year, I decided to pick up two of the Harvard volumes of Walter Benjamin’s work, Vol. 2 pt. 2 and Vol. 4. They are very slick-looking volumes, and weigh in at around 500 pages or so, each. With five volumes in the series, and the Arcades Project at almost 1100 pages, that’s quite a bit of writing! I hope the volumes will be useful in relation to a course I’m taking in the spring on Marx and Critical Theory, but I also have some other ideas for conference papers and such.

As Benjamin has his famous fragmented style, I was going to compare that to my non-blogging, but I think the sheer quantity of stuff he wrote prevents that comparison. Still, as I’m pretty busy with school and 30 hours of work per week, the on-and-off, mostly-off nature of the blog will continue. I am excited to finally be cracking into the publication-scene with one, hopefully two book reviews forthcoming. I also have hopes of sending two conference papers off in December, and I am also slowly trying to translate one of Michel Henry’s essay on Descartes. It’s been a busy few months, but I’m enjoying grad school very much.


Read Full Post »

I’ll probably be here for the foreseeable future. It’s been a whirlwind lately with graduation from college and various transitions. I’ll be preparing to move as soon as I can find a place, and doing some leisure reading and prep for Kierkegaard camp this summer. Blogging will probably be sparse for a while, as I’m generally trying to relax and recollect as I move into a new stage in life.

Read Full Post »

Although I’ve already communicated this to several friends of the blog, the lack of substance to post about amidst my final few weeks as an undergrad compels me to make a public announcement on the blog: I have accepted an offer to work towards an MA in philosophy at Duquesne University this fall. This still feels rather surreal, after the whirlwind process, and I’m not quite sure how to adjust to being finished with the search/waiting. I’m excited to get started at Duquesne, and also excited that I will have the opportunity to do coursework on Kierkegaard immediately.

In the end, I had offers from 5 MA programs to choose from, and eliminating any one of them wasn’t an easy choice. As I began to look at probable seminars, I came to realize that Duquesne was an even better fit than I imagined for myself when I started the search about 8 months ago. In conjunction with living costs and the fact that I love Pittsburgh and have always wanted to live in the city (I grew up in the suburbs), Duquesne became an obvious choice near the end. There are many other exciting opportunities at Duquesne, but more of that in due time. I am contemplating doing a series of posts on grad school in philosophy this summer, similar to some of the theology resources in the blogosphere.

Also, I’ve said this on the blog before, but now I have some official idea: this summer I will be studying at the Hong Kierkegaard Library in Northfield, Minnesota. I will first have the pleasure of attending the Sixth International Kierkegaard Conference from June 27th-July 1st. After this, I’ll spend the rest of July in Minnesota with a group of grad students and professors studying Kierkegaard. I will be working on questions about Kierkegaard and the political. I may possibly have some blog posts on that as I prepare early in the summer by reading The Point of View and Two Ages.

Read Full Post »

I wanted to do a short recap post of our book event on Eric Santner’s On The Psychotheology of Everyday Life, so that the links to various posts could all be in one place. Although we weren’t able to draw in any discussion from non-event posters, I view the completion of our event on time as a success, and have personally found the book to be rewarding. Special thanks to guest commentators AJ Smith, Jeremy Ridenour, and Robert Minto, who now have authorial privileges at Dommer selv! and should feel free to abuse them.

Introduction – Jeremy Ridenour

Chapter 1 – Robert Minto

Chapter 2 – Robert Minto

Chapter 3, Part 1 – AJ Smith

Chapter 3, Part 2 – AJ Smith

Chapter 4, Part 1 – Dave Mesing

Chapter 4, Part 2 – Dave Mesing

Epilogue – Jeremy Ridenour

Read Full Post »

Quick grad school update

I’m not sure if updating the blog is any more efficient than simply emailing the 5 or 6 people who sometimes read the blog, but just wanted to say that I’ve been accepted into Boston College’s MA program for the fall. I still have other schools to hear from, and this would be a pretty steep financial move given that it’s unfunded, but it’s a relief to finally get some good news. My mind has been so fried from rejection after rejection that it’s taken me about an hour and a half to build up some excitement, but the more I think about the chance to take some courses at BC, the more appealing it gets. I know this is a bit naive, but it feels good to be reminded of why I am in this thing in the first place.

Update: I’ve also recently received word that I have been accepted into the young scholars program at the Hong Kierkegaard Library of St. Olaf College. I’m sure I will have more to say about this eventually, but this is an extremely exciting opportunity. It’s funny how quickly things can turn around in 48 hours or so!

Read Full Post »

I hope to finally finish working through Kearney’s Anatheism by next week, but no promises. School and other obligations have turned out to be way more taxing than I had assumed. In the meantime, interested readers might want to keep an eye on Jeremy’s blog over the next two weeks, as he will be posting in depth on several works of radical theology.

Finally, by way of an announcement, I wanted to make known that this blog will be hosting a book event on Eric Santner’s The Psychotheology of Everyday Life. The event will start on March 22nd and continue for two weeks. In addition to Jeremy and myself, there will be posts from AJ and Robert. I’m looking forward to the collaboration, and hopefully some good dialog. This conversation will be even better if we get some contributions from other readers, so I encourage you to pick up a copy of the book and read along.

Read Full Post »

Reading/grad school update

In the interests of accountability, I’m going to try to recall my reading habits and accomplishes from the break, now that I’m at the end of the first week of classes. I will compare this to the plans I made back in December.

First, a quick update on grad school, since I’ve just returned from the post office where I sent off the final remaining materials. In total, I have applied to 9 schools, 6 of which are for the PhD versus 3 for a terminal MA. A few of the PhD places have options to be considered for both degrees (ie, if you aren’t good enough to be offered a PhD position, you can be admitted to the MA program with little to no funding). I consider these options as the ultimate fall-back, although the lack of funding will force me to pause and consider some other options. What I’m really not looking forward to is the possibility of total rejection, largely because I’d either have to do this entire, nerve-wracking process over again in 9 months, or else give up on academia altogether. I’m optimistic that I will have at least some kind of offer, and I’ll cross these what-if bridges when I come to them.

The 6 “PhD” schools are, in no specific order, Duquesne, Fordham, Boston College, Purdue, Vanderbilt, and Villanova. To be honest, I’d be really excited to study under the faculty of any of these schools, although the interests represented at each of them are not homogenous. If I’m lucky enough to be admitted into multiple schools, this will become a more intense consideration, although I have some idea of places that are a closer fit. The MA-only places are Southern Illinois Carbondale, Loyola Marymount, and Miami University. Each of these schools has the (somewhat rare) opportunity to give some aid for Master’s students, and all three places have multiple faculty who work in and are friendly to Continental philosophy.

My immediate thought after finalizing the list is that I wish I had given myself another option or two for the MA-level, although I do think I have a pretty good chance to be admitted into one or two of those places. The major problem is that there don’t seem to be a ton of quality MA-level programs that are friendly to Continental philosophy. There are a few that are highly-rated and have good aid, etc., but they do not seem to be open to Continental philosophy, and battling it out for two years seems to be a move of intellectual suicide. There are a couple more programs that I could have applied to, but wasn’t quite sure what the situation was based on course-lists and so on. Another immediate thought I had was regret over not applying to Duke, but it became too late to do much about it, and especially too late to apply to the Religion dept. outside of the Divinity School. As it stands, all of the programs are in philosophy, and I’m figuring that if I go to an MA-program first, it will be easier to transition back towards interdisciplinary theology/philosophy rather than the opposite way.

As far as break reading goes, even though I watched an entire season of Mad Men among other things, I think it went pretty well. Looking back on my list, however, that’s not exactly the case: I only read 4/10 of the books I planned to. But I read more than 4 books. What happened was that I became interested in some other books, and ended up reading those instead of the books I planned to. What this teaches me is to try to plan for this and make smaller lists knowing that this will happen anyways. From the list, I read Theology of Money, Anatheism, The Time That Remains, and The Manual of Detection. I became pretty interested in Agamben, so I decided to just go ahead and read Homo Sacer before attempting the Durantaye book. In addition, I read George Pattison’s good introduction to Kierkegaard (the best one I’ve read for those already-introduced), most of Nicholas Royle’s book on Derrida, and Michel Henry’s book I Am The Truth.

This last book has been fascinating, and I’m eager to read more Henry. I’m still finishing I Am The Truth, but plan to move on to Material Phenomenology, which I think might be a better introduction. Still, Henry has been one of those thinkers who is an experience to read, and giving the small-but-growing interest in Henry, I’m eager to become competent in the current conversation and start contributing to it. Part of this challenge dovetails nicely with my goal of gaining reading competence in French this spring, since some of Henry’s work is still untranslated.

The first week of class has been way busier than I expected, but once the routine sets in, I trust things will calm down a bit. For now, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about what book I will use for a major paper in literary theory. I’m leaning towards Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, but open to suggestions of any sort. I’m excited that in addition to the typical theory you’d expect – Derrida, Foucault, Kristeva, etc – we’ll also be reading Lacan and Zizek, which is a big surprise consider that I didn’t think anyone at my school even knew who Zizek was. In addition to the literary theory stuff, I will be trying to focus on French, and reading Kierkegaard and Henry, hopefully with the goal of putting together something to research over the summer.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »