Back in Brooklyn, and some new books

Ahhhh. Got in to JFK monday night, relatively fine flights and connections. I knew I was back in NYC when the only customs forms with which to enter the country were printed in Korean (donated by Korean Air, of course), and the attendant had to search all over to try to find them in English for us, which eventually failed, so he walked us through the sign in English that explained the form and we put English info into the Korean form.

I also knew I was back in NYC when the very nice cab driver taking me home from the airport was going 60mph around curves, about 70 straight, on the Belt Parkway, and almost killed a flag guy at a construction site, at which point I voiced my already building concern that perhaps we should slow down. THIS never happened to me in Spain.

I also knew I was back in NYC when I noticed we were surrounded on all sides by SUV’s, and people talking on cell phones while driving, despite the fact that this is illegal here. Ahhh, home.

Jetlag is an incredible thing, and it has taken till today for me to feel sufficient clarity to write anything. I’ll do some specific stuff later. But for now, I’ve got to say, I just got a copy of Isabelle Stengers Cosmpolitics I, and it looks so exciting. Anyone who has a chapter called ‘The Lagrangian Event’ is going to make me very happy. This whole way of thinking about science in terms of epistemes, going back to Bachelard and Canguilhem, is just so lacking in the states, but I think really syncs up with precisely what is bringing something like a speculative realism into existence. Anyway, I’m psyched.

Before I jump to this, I’d like to finish a bit more of David Golumbia’s The Cultural Logic of Computation, another really interesting text. He makes really nice use of the term computationalism to describe the rhetoric of computation, whereby it is assumed what human minds do is in some way deeply similar to what is done by computers and other sorts of calculating machines. So far I’m really enjoying Golumbia’s text, though now I’ve get Stengers in front of me, as well as the new Jameson on Hegel’s Phenom (The Hegel Variations). So many choices when you return home after a month-long break from the academic-crack that is Amazon, and the books start to arrive again. Oh, I didn’t even mention Giordano Bruno and Renaissance Science.

Then again, I still have to chug two more books to prep for classes I’m teaching in the fall (Huizinga’s Homo Ludens and Sutton Smith’s The Ambiguity of Play), but while in Spain, I managed to take down Goodrick-Clarke’s The Western Esoteric Tradition (a really nice, and actually ACADEMIC/HISTORICAL intro, not this new agey stuff), Yates’ Bruno book, half of her Rosicrurian book, a book each on Fellini and Tarkovsky (also to prep for classes I’m teaching in the fall), Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, a 500pg book on the history of Barcelona, and nice chunks of book, in Spanish, about the history of Spain under the Visigoths. Not bad for 5wks when reading was only a secondary pursuit. Its also really nice to know that I can read Spanish non-fiction without a hitch at this point. Nothing has helped my reading ability in French as much as studying Spanish, who knew?

I also noticed that last time I studied Spanish in Spain, it took about six months for the full benefit to show itself. I think the brain sorts through these things over time, and after a period of prolonged immersion, it has to file things a bit. At least, that’s how the brain seems to work with what it learns on a given day (the function of the hippocampus), so I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens to some extent with longer term learning.

And then there’s finished up the editing of the two Networkologies manuscripts.

Well, this is where my brain is at these days. More specifics on the blog soon.

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~ by chris on August 13, 2010.

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