At some point in my Cultural Theories class, I stopped taking notes in text-only format. My simplified understanding of premodern, modern, and postmodern thought is as follows (along with remaining notes from the class so I can put the paper versions in the recycling bin already):
Some postmodern-flavored phrases:
- Be productively lost.
- Beautiful awkwardness.
- Stumbling gracefully.
- Get comfortable in the uncomfortable.
“Isn’t it strange to think of postmodernism as a ‘progression’ from modernism when postmodernism is all about eschewing progressions?” I asked during this class discussion. “Even its name suggests it!” (Dr. Lather’s answer: Yes. Sit in the paradox, Mel.)
“Critical theory is wary of syntheses and reconciliations,” she said later in that class. “It is born of struggle, and it wants to cause trouble.” — Patti Lather, in-class comment
Regarding categories: We can set big categories in opposition and use them to distribute centralized resources neatly… but with thousands of tiny categories, it’s harder to place them in opposition… and if we have alternative, non-centralized ways to distribute resources, then we don’t need the categories for that purpose any more. (You can see how these notes — from early January 2013 — already had me thinking about how the materials conditions of open source affect the philosophies of their participants.)