Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Catching Up

I've neglected this blog quite a bit over the last year, in part because I was on the job market and in part because, once one gets out of the habit of blogging regularly, then not-blogging-regularly becomes a whole new habit.  Let's remedy that.

By way of re-entry, I thought I'd do a kind of catch-up summary post on what's been going on since this blog went quiet.  First and most important bit of news is that I completed my final year at Rhodes College and will be starting my new gig at Christian Brothers University this coming fall.  (Actually, I'll be starting at CBU this next week, teaching my first ever Business Ethics course for their summer term.)  Being on the job market again last year was a long and stressful adventure, and I considered leaving academia very seriously for a while.  Fortunately, though, I landed a job in the Religion and Philosophy department at CBU, which means that I didn't have to make what would have been an impossibly terrible choice between the two things most dear to me: Philosophy and Memphis.  I am very happy to be staying put in the city that love and doing the job that I love, but even happier to be doing so at a new institution.  I'm also very excited to be joining the faculty in Religion and Philosophy at CBU, all of whom are smart and interesting people who I've admired from a relatively-short distance for a while.  Given the terrible odds of not only getting a job as a woman in Philosophy these days, but also getting a job in the location of one's choice, I would be remiss to not also say that I feel very, very fortunate.

I'm still plugging away at the same sort of philosophical research/writing that I've been working on for years, including the (never-ending) manuscript for Weak Humanism and very long piece on the Uncanny Valley (that may end up being another manuscript).  I've also got a few things in the chute on what can be described broadly as "philosophy and film" and "philosophy and technology," as well as a piece on the "Thinking in Images" assignment that I've been using in my courses for the past several years. In very general terms, I'd say that my interests remain in the  "moral and political questions of the human" arena, though they've shifted slightly more toward aesthetics and technology.  As I told someone recently: I'm still a philosopher and I'm still a Derridean, but Ifind myself working in different media now.  Less "text" and more images, music, networks, cultures and multitudes.

Just like JD, for whatever that's worth.  

In non-academic news, I continue to make progress on extending my short-documentary film WORKING IN MEMPHIS (which I started with my student, Sophie Osella, last summer) into a feature-length film. What that means in real terms is that I work with several of the bands/artists on Beale Street pretty much weekly and I spend a lot of time toting around my camera while I do and collecting new footage whenever I can.  Because I'm not working on the tight schedule of our shooting timeline from last summer, I can be much more selective and discriminating about what I want to document, but it is still the case that one just needs to be there a lot in order to be there when "it" happens.  More often these days, my footage is taking the form of still photos, so I created a new Twitter handle (@MemphisMemphian) and hashtag (#MemphisandMemphians) for anyone who's interested in keeping up with my 901 documentary photography.  I'm finally getting to the point where I think my photographs have a distinct and identifiable "look," which is something that makes me feel like I'm slowly, steadily creeping towards feeling comfortable calling myself an artist.

This last year has also found me picking up the guitar and getting back to the business of songwriting more often, largely as a result of spending so much time with musicians.  I love a well-crafted and well-formed song as much as I love a well-crafted and well-formed argument.  Creating both, in my experience, involves about 1/4 part talent, 1/4 part science and 1/4 part artistry. The other quarter-part requires some rough combination of inspiration, experience, hard work and patience.  This is an inexact formula.  Adjust to taste.

More recently, I've taken to getting a bit more involved in hands-on Memphis politics, though I do most of that work behind-the-scenes.  As I said several years ago in my 25 Random Things About Me post (#18): "I think I'm better as a behind-the-scenes player than a leader. Kind of like Dick Cheney. People are suspicious of me when I'm in charge... probably because of things like that Dick Cheney comment."

Finally, I'll just let readers of this blog know that I'll be participating in the 30 Day Song Challenge again next month.  (I did this  before in June 2011 and June 2013 if you're interested in checking out the older versions.)  The way it works is that I post a song every day in response to one of the pre-fab 30 Day Song Challenge prompts, and I explain why I chose the song I did.  So, definitely check back in on June 1 (this Sunday) for the start of that adventure!

Consider yourself updated.  Dr. J is back in business.

1 comment:

Daniel Brunson said...

Good to have you back, Dr. J!