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Monday, April 5, 2021

Social Justice

We are all heirs to the 60s. Civil rights, feminism, gay liberation, Coltrane. By "we" I mean me, and everyone else I know in academia of my generation, a little older, and younger, as well as non-academic ex-hippy friends in my town. What parts of it you like or identify with most I can't say (maybe not Coltrane; maybe you are a hippy but not a pacifist, or you pick and choose your causes. Maybe you don't like how Castro treated the gays, but still aren't happy with conservative Cuban exiles.). I'm too young to have been hippy, and my parents too old, but it was that legacy that changed everything.  

In the larger society, the change happened culturally in many ways, but yet still elected Nixon twice, Reagan twice, the Bushes and Trump, albeit without the popular vote in some cases. I have a deep, visceral reaction to all of them. 


It was natural for social justice to be conceived of as the raison d'être for the humanities themselves, given this culture. If you are a Hispanist, then you like the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War, and you get to celebrate Lorca, Machado, and Hernández. 

So let's also make social justice the content of the humanities, abandoning all those stale old disciplines. 

Here's where it gets tricky, for me, because, well, I kind of like my discipline. I would also point out the difference between a discipline and a field or area. A field is where you work, and a discipline is how. It is a craft or way of knowing. I like interdisciplinary work, but I don't like anti, non, or undisciplined work. I like to dabble seriously. In my music major you still learn to read music. 


Leslie B. said...

I didn't do Spanish, or French, etc., because I wasn't interested in doing a single national tradition. I've changed in my ideas somewhat but not entirely. But I'd rather have a discipline than not. Not having is stupid, then whoever yells the loudest is right. It's good to have a focus and methods and deep layers of knowledge.

Hippies, they were entertaining but I never thought entirely serious, and there were problems. Before them was the new left which was much more interesting. Also there were many other left and leftish movements other than the hippies, some of which did not resemble them at all, and the idea of counterculture is somewhat different than hippie. Remember too that a lot of that was just a style, especially later on, and a lot of things in hippie culture were retrograde, not revolutionary. Now a lot of the people healing with crystals and stuff like that are the Republicans and I am not surprised.

These are my Q-D notes on these interesting matters.

Jonathan said...

New Age = hippies without politics, around time of Ford administration.

Without the draft, opposition to the war petered out. The anti-war candidate had lost spectacularly (McGovern).

We studied comp lit, you and I, but then we end up in Spanish departments anyway. No comp lit department would ever interview me. Comp lit as still centered on French and German.

I just got "Ideologies of Hispanism," ed. Moraña. It is very good, with many of the usual suspects. Epps, Moreiras, Resina, Molloy, Cascardi, Faber, Idelbar. Nacho Grande. It will be the foundation of my course, though some articles are more appropriate for my purposes than others. We have to see our own field, hispanism, as the product of empire. It can have no postive identity.

Leslie B. said...

I resurrected that book the other day and am rereading it also. I am more lucid now than I was in the period it came out and so although I remember being fascinated I also don't remember.

Yes, Hispanism is a product of empire and the U.S. is warlike.