In my mind, this fall semester has become articulated into a complex but fundamentally unified Task, a massive clearing of the inbox that will be completed by the end of the calendar year. Aside from my duties at Shimer College, where I am being evaluated this semester, I will be finishing up my translations, editing two articles for publication, writing an AAR presentation, and writing a fresh article, all while conducting a directed reading on Lacan with Stephen Keating, a PhD student at CTS. (In addition, I agreed to be an outside reader for a dissertation, a task that I have already finished — ahead of schedule!)
I assume the translations are of most interest to you, dear readers, so here’s an update: I submitted my first translation to the press in August, and Agamben’s designated outside reader has approved it, though I need to do some further revisions in the next week or so. Progress continues apace on the second one, which I will likely be submitting next month.
This overwhelming task-orientation has not left much room for the kind of idle thoughts that power my blogging (and thankfully has also tended to “crowd out” the kind of petty debates I get sucked into when I’m bored). It also hasn’t left much room for pondering “what’s next” — my current assumption is that at the end of the semester, I’ll collapse into a heap and rewatch the most recent season of Mad Men in marathon form. But it’s something I need to think about, because all these tasks that I’m finishing up have come from outside — all were “invitations” on some level, and it seems as though young academics typically let themselves get sucked into a cycle of accepting too many outside invitations (probably as a way of coping with the vertigo of freedom).
I have ideas, of course (for instance: the devil!) — but they’re the same ideas I’ve been putting off for a couple years at this point, in favor of these outside obligations I conveniently keep accumulating.