Welcome to a course that is also a dream and also a map and also a rhizome and also a symphony and also a story.
During my brief time in academia wherein I got paid—which did nothing to the $100K of student loan debt I accumulated, of which at least $90K still sits there 17 years later in a cat and mouse game where the cat leaves me alone because, relatively speaking, I have little meat on my bones and I simply hope the cat will die before I do—I was an adjunct professor in an advanced gender and sexuality course in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Francisco State.
I love teaching and I do not love speaking in front of people and yeah that’s kind of a thing but the key takeaway here, I say pointing emphatically to the imaginary whiteboard behind me, is that my absolute favorite part of teaching was putting together the syllabus. And holding office hours where we commune together.
Putting together a syllabus is kind of like conducting an orchestra (so says the person who has no experience conducting an orchestra but should have an honorary PhD in metaphors and analogous thinking). There are all of these brilliant thinkers doing their thing and I see the mycelium of thought and hear the symphony in my head and so I bring them together and conduct music as I hear it and listen to what it tells me. And then I listen to what you are hearing.
What instrument would you add? What notes sounded off? What harmony makes you gasp, goose-bumps all over, a tear falling that you don’t wipe away as you leap up in a 5-minute standing ovation?
The rumblings of late stage capitalism eroding under our feet keep revealing that it has always been a house of cards but nevertheless there are those among us who keep hedging bets on the invisible hand of the market, swearing there is an ace in there if we keep feeding the monster.
Speaking of that invisible hand of the market conceived by Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations, which marked the birth of modern capitalism as well as modern economics as we know it: that is a theory of human behavior grounded in his self-proclaimed observation of humans and particularly his observation of the self-interest of man. Which of course begs the question as to what precise population of humans he was observing and what populations he was most certainly not observing and what populations he abjectly erased as he opined and wrote Wealth of Nations in 1776 in his mother Margaret Douglas’ home in Scotland as she fed, clothed, and cleaned up after him because that is where he lived his entire adult life.
The truth is there are far more among us who have now “made a life out of reading people’s faces, and knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.”
And while it’s tragic because we can see we’re out of aces…
(Go ahead, belt it out)
“You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run…”
Continue reading HERE
Jenn Schindel, PhD