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I start classes on Tuesday. I am particularly excited about the possibility of sitting in on Anwar Shaikh’s political economy class; I have to swing by and make sure there is (floor) space available however. I’m also taking a lecture with Agnes Heller, which should be excellent. And for three weeks in November, I will sit in seminar with Alain Badiou. C’est très passionant, ça.

Besides a moderate amount of excitement, a very slight amount of trepidation (about paying the bills), what strikes me most about returning to school is how the behavioral roles assumed are so uniform in every institution in which I have studied. And their form, or the form of academic experience, is strange, insular, off kilter. There is an initial buzz of excitement on the part of the fresh class — part of which seems to be performative statements about one’s nervousness — the rote declarations about the fine upright tradition of each institution from whoever is speaking, tedious presentations from administrators; and then there are the regimented realities that in fact allow all these to proceed and that are never mentioned as a matter of course. This would only spoil the party, perhaps?

Categories: Anecdotes.

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