Monthly Archives: May 2009

it’s on (the jenny davidson event, I mean)

OK, we’re starting to get some discussion going at the Valve regarding Jenny Davidson’s Breeding.  Stop by and check it out, and I’ll have some more non-Breeding related posts here shortly.  DM

higher ed policy blogging round-up

For those who care about such things:


jenny davidson’s breeding, @The Valve, beginning 5/26

For those interested, I’ll be doing some guest-blogging at The Valve early next week this week, when Scott Kaufman leads a book event featuring Jenny Davidson’s Breeding beginning tomorrow (5/26).   See you there, and here, too, hopefully.  Best, DM

UPDATE: Here’s the official announcement, with the first two chapters online.  Discussion will begin tomorrow.

so who’s going to GEMCS?

Well, it looks like I will be headed there.  GEMCS will be in Dallas next fall, and I thought I’d drop in again after 15 years away.  Here’s the CFP, which has just been extended another month.

“Tracing Footprints”

October 22-25, 2009

Dallas, Texas

Drawing from the language of ecology, environmental studies, and urban planning, the theme of this year’s GEMCS conference focuses on the different valences and metaphorical possibilities of the footprint. We are especially concerned with exploring the many meanings of the footprint and expanding it as a paradigm for early modern representation. The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on ecosystems; the representational footprint may be a measure of a variety of demands” on and by a text-social, historical, institutional, and textual. The “carbon footprint” questions the global space that a city, an automobile industry, or a single individual occupies; it thus complicates differences and demarcations between built and wild spaces, technology and climate, people and nature. How does tracing a text’s footprint challenge existing definitions and boundaries of the space it occupies? How do we trace the genealogies of texts? What sorts of competing histories are embedded in objects of representation?

This year’s conference theme, “Tracing Footprints,” is intended to be suggestive rather than prescriptive, and as always, GEMCS welcomes panels and proposals on all aspects of culture between 1452 and 1848.

GEMCS was formed in 1993 to promote the study of literature, history, art history, and material culture from the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century across disciplinary, geographic, and cultural boundaries.

Send one-page proposals for individual papers or fully constituted panels to by May 20, 2009. In the spirit of encouraging discussion, papers are limited to ten minutes.


I’d be interested to hear if any Long Eighteenth contributors/readers will be going.  Feel free to announce/solicit panels on the blog.  See you there, DM


This was the Foucault quote I always wanted to use in my Cynicism book, but couldn’t find at the time.  Insert this between pages 212-13, and discuss:

I do not think that there is anything that is functionally–by its very nature–absolutely liberating.  Liberty is a practice.  So there may, in fact, always be a number of projects whose aim is to modify some constraints, to loosen, or even to break them, but none of these projects can, simply by its nature, assure that people will have liberty automatically, that it will be established by the project itself.  The liberty of men is never assured by the institutions and laws that are intended to guarantee them.  This is why almost all of these laws and institutions are quite capable of being turned around.  Not because they are ambiguous, but simply because “liberty” is what must be exercised.”–(from the interview “Space, Knowledge, and Power,” in the Foucault Reader, ed. Rabinow, 245).


Emilie du Chatelet

From the Arena Stage (Washington, DC) blog, about two new plays that have opened based on the life of Emilie du Chatelet:

Emilie is everywhere

by Janine Sobeck

This past weekend I attended the Pacific Playwrights Festival, hosted by South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa.  A great weekend full of new play enthusiasts celebrating the next chapter in American playwriting. 

Among the works offered (and let me tell you, they ran the full spectrum of styles, subject matter, and languages) was South Coast Rep’s production of Emilie by Lauren Gunderson.  Yup, it was based on Emilie du Chatelet, the same woman who inspired the writing of Karen Zacarias Legacy of Light which will be opening here next week.  Talk about synergy.  Both plays are commissions, started around the same time, and are premiering within weeks of each other.  And both plays are truly unique.  It was absolutely intriguing to sit in the audience and watch the woman (as well as the men in her life) that I have gotten to know so well through all the research, drafts and rehearsals portrayed through a different artistic vision.  In talking with fellow PPF attendees, Emilie has captured their interest, leaving a strong fascination about this intelligent and enchanting woman that very few people know about.  I hope that some of them will get to see Karen’s play, allowing them the opportunity to continue to expand their vision of who she was and what she did.

I think Emilie would be very intrigued…and very pleased.



time for student papers, part 1

This little lecture reminded me of the old Goofus and Gallant cartoons I used to find in my Highlights for Children magazines.  Except on some days my class seems to be mostly Goofuses, not so many Gallants.  Come to think of it, some days I’m more Prof. Goofus than Prof. Gallant, so maybe it all evens out?  I do like to think we deserve each other,  no matter what shape we’re in that day.


[G and G property of Highlights, h/t Starrlet’s stuff; “How to Write a Paper,” h/t Buzzfeed]