Memo2: Habits, Neuroses, Talents
Questions drawn from essays by Evelyn Fox Keller and Roman Jakobson (Jakobson, Roman. 1956.“Two aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances.’” Fundamentals of Language edited by R. Jakobson and M. Halle. The Hague, Switzerland: Mouton.; Keller, Evelyn Fox. 1985. “Dynamic Objectivity: Love, Power and Knowledge,” p115-126. Reflections on Gender and Science. New Haven: Yale, 1985.):

• Do you have more trouble articulating your frame (social theoretical questions) or object?

• Do you tend to project-hop or to stick to a project, and what explains this?

• Do you tend to be more interested in internal dynamics, or external determinations? In the terms laid out by Keller, do you tend to focus so intently on the object of your concern that context falls away (i.e. are you obsessive compulsive, rather than paranoid)? Is your desire is to name, specify and control your object? Is your desire is for figure, its ground your annoyance? Or are you paranoid, context being your focus and obsession? All is signal. Only begrudgingly will you admit that something is noise, outside the scope of your project? Figure is hard to come by. Its ground has captured your attention.

• What do you do with unusual or counter examples? Are you drawn to “the deviant,” or rather repulsed by it?

• Do you tend to over-impose logics on the world, or to resist the construction of coherent narratives?

• Do you tend to over-generalize, or to hold back from overarching argument?

• Do you like to read interpretations different than your own, or do you tend to feel scooped or intimidated by them?

• Do you tend to change an argument as you flesh it out, or do you tend to make the argument work, no matter what?

• Do you tend to think in terms of “this is kind of like” (metaphorically)? Do you hold to examples that “say it all,” leveraging metonymic thinking?

• Do you like gaming understanding in this way? Does it frustrate you that your answers often don’t fit easily on either side of the binaries set up by the questions? (Jakobson suggests that over attachment to a simple binary scheme is a “continuity disorder.”)