David Blaney (Macalester)

I will likely be responding to this–in bits–over the next week or more.

Yes, there is a project here.  Yes, I want to be around as it unfolds. I will ponder more about the details as I get time.

In terms of auto-biography, I find it interesting that Naeem and I have mostly eschewed some of the thinkers you isolate.  I have read some Foucault but have never worked that into our or my work much at all.  Same with Bhabha and Spivak.  Naeem has done more Deleuze,and commented favorably on D and G, but has not brought that to our work–yet.  [though Zizek and Todorov have had more appeal.]  Both of us were more moved by Memmi and Fanon in earlier phases of our writing/teaching.  And then later by Nandy.  We weren’t raised on the pomo/postst stuff and I haven’t found them that compelling–at least not given what I have been interested in.  One hint as to why is that our work began with the premise that, whatever the problems of sovereignty, Third World countries took it seriously and we should figure out why.  Our earlier training in dependency theory made us especially sensitive to these issues.  Thus, we were never so drawn to the various deconstructive moves surrounding sovereignty that were fashionable earlier. There is also something about our own confrontation with modernity that was always already partly filtered through a lens focused on the Third World (yes, we used that archaic term until quite recently).  And that is a different confrontation (though perhaps linked in some ways) from Derrida and Foucault, as far as I can tell.   Naeem might tell the story a bit differently.

Two quick thoughts.  First, Alina S, who organized the panel to which you allude, has talked about organizing another.  You should be on it.

Second, there is a growing group of folks, many very young, who I think would be pleased to be asked.  And will contribute energy to this over many years.   Many of them were at ‘the panel.”  I had lunch with one–a beginning grad student at Minnesota–on Wednesday.

Now a third:  there is a group of scholars who have held on to their old Third Worldism–for better and worse.   People like Mohammed Ayoob, Ali Mazrui, and several more social scientzy folks who focus on developing countries and think about the lack of the Third World in IR.  Are these people worth reaching out to?  I don’t know for sure.


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