Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The end of a thesis era: back to the books I love

I am proud to report that my nocturnal adventures in the enclosures of thesis-land have not been for naught. To my delight, an email arrived a few days ago confirming that my thesis entitled "Musical 'Beastliness' in the Roman de Fauvel: Chaillous 'addicions' and Sensory Danger" was awarded high honors. Retroactively, perhaps I should have bought a more expensive bottle of Champagne instead (refer below):

This queer ritual captured above is known as the annual end-of-thesis-party-on-Olin-Library-Senior-Sendoff, where Wesleyan Seniors indulge in blind drunkenness in the (possibly false) celebration of life's little challenges. This unfortunate event is usually followed by denial, aggression, a chronic lack of academic motivation, and several episodes of nudity on Foss hill. Fortunately, the condition wears off within a few weeks, and most nocturnal subjects return, rejuvenated, to a diurnal lifestyle. Some even manage to recalibrate their scholarly sensibilities towards intellectual productivity, but, alas, constitute a minority especially since the anxieties of graduation are quick to kick in.

To alleviate the aforesaid, I have broken my word by breaking the piggy bank. Amazon be damned! Ever since disappearing into the vortex of "thesis," I am happy to report that several stimulating reads temporarily put on hold for sake of education are now making their way across states, and into my mailbox (hopefully by tomorrow):

"The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume I (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida)"
- Definitely one I've been meaning to pick up after examining Derrida's highly provocative essay "The Animal therefore I am" chocked full of titillating ideas on the ani-mot, an ontology modeled on "following," and the gaze of his cat which brings the enterprise of Universalism/Particularism under scrutiny.

"The Renaissance Reform of Medieval Music Theory: Guido of Arezzo between Myth and History"
- Anyone who was at AMS 2009 who heard Mengozzi's paper would agree that this is a hugely important work for late medieval conceptions of the Guidonian Hand, and, correspondingly, the schema of hexachordal space. I'm hoping that Mengozzi's "semantic turn" investigative style will provide clues to the nature of late medieval ars, especially regarding the re-appraisal of musica ficta/falsa, whose story, I believe hasn't been fully told with much certainty.

"The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century (Series Q)"

- Inexorably excited about this one, ever since reading Edelman's "No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive," in which Edelman critiques the fantasy of "reproductive futurism." He leaves the fantasy intact, however, by avoiding the "queer child" in his accounts of the child-as-Big (or little)-Other supporting the foundation of an anti-anti-futurist ethic. Freud himself is credited by attempting to formulate an understanding of the pre-Symbolic queer subject (as does Lacan), and should be pertinent in unveiling yet another fantasy structured on models of domination, that is, Adultism. I'm interested in seeing how "growing sideways" may be complementary to Sara Ahmed's take on "Queer Phenomenology" which discusses /dis/re-orientation.

"The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years"

- Finally! Christopher Page's scholarship on the disciplining of singers in the later medieval ages!

"First As Tragedy, Then As Farce"
- One of Zizek's latest offerings. Anyone read it? How is it? I meant to put a purchase hold on his soon-to-be-released "living in the end times," but I'd rather wait for it to come out before I spend more than I can manage. Was looking forward to "The Monster of Christ," but isn't that topic a little worn out by now?

"This Incredible Need to Believe"

- Kristeva's latest book. Kristeva is always magnificent food for thought.

And with that, I conclude my anticipated reading list for these few months in between gasps of merry-making, singing, concerts, and future-less preparations.

1 comment:

Lisa Potter said...

It is true that the end of defending and passing is the most celebrated time of thesis writing. It is where you know that you produce a body of knowledge that you can share with other people and can call it as your own thesis and dissertation writing work. Anyway, what happened after you passed the thesis? Looking at the photo, you really celebrated what you’ve had.