Esther’s Space- journey through my life

November 22, 2008

What I actually do.

Filed under: Australia — Tags: , , , — estherspace @ 9:46 pm

Here’s what I have for my advanced project introduction.  It’s been a tough go.  But the paper’s due in 8 days, so it’s time to have something done. 

            As a contemporary literary, cultural, and economic powerhouse, it is important to think about the ways in which the Man Booker Prize is capable of constructing a particular socio-economic and cultural reality through its selection of winning books.  Building upon Pierre Bourdieu, James English has described cultural prizes such as the Booker as “piece[s] of objectified symbolic capital” (110).  Indeed, the Man Booker Prize appears to be a perfect illustration of how an amorphous body, once collectively recognized, is capable of creating its own authority and maintaining it by engaging in a “long chain of official acts of consecration” (Bordieu 12).  The annually changing selection committees, while individually innocent, have produced a strong chain of Booker Prize-winning novels that collectively uphold Britain’s power as an intellectual empire that must confer recognition upon its former colonies. 

This paper is an investigation of the methods by which the Man Booker Prize creates imaginary colonial places and people through the awarding of a literary prize.  Questions that will be answered include, what are the criteria the selection committee is searching to fulfill; what sorts of Commonwealth communities does the Man Booker Prize award; and, how does Peter Carey’s Booker-winning novel, Oscar and Lucinda, work with or against these ideals?

What do you think?  Any and ALL feedback is appreciated.


September 13, 2008

Really, it’s time to get something done.

Filed under: Australia — Tags: , , , — estherspace @ 8:10 pm

Okay, I work too much.  I admit that.  But, it can no longer function as an excuse, because my oh-so-important temporary, part-time, low-paying job will be a sad substitute for a real job in 10 years.  So, on to the hardcore thinking.  Only problem  is that I’m kind of, sort of supposed to have a proposal done for this by monday, and my ever-patient mentor has heard nothing of my plans– but here goes, nonetheless.

What if I call it, “Re-‘writing the history of the present’: Carey, the Booker, and the body politic”?  I think it has a nice cadence to it.  But, I’m afraid it is implying too much, or I’ll be taking on too much. 

Here’s my thinking on it:  One of the reasons this Carey thing hasn’t gone faster is that I have been stuck in trying to figure out how to tie all of the strings nicely together.  As critic upon critic has mentioned, every one of Carey’s books is unique and complicated.  So how can I go about weaving the connections, while also having to incorporate the physical present of the Booker prize, as well as the idea of the booker into my argument?  The solution: to look at the body politic (e.g. the transformation of power, the way punishment operates, the idea of the prison- figurative and literal) to access Carey’s two Booker-winning novels. 

Why it works:  discussion of the ‘body politic’ has been linked to ideas of nationalism, which I believe is at stake both in Carey’s novels and in the politics surrounding him being awarded the Booker.  power is a central theme in Carey’s works- who has the power to make the rules, who has the power/position to be judgemental, who ultimately ‘wins’. And, to bash my dead horse once again, these novels are part of this attempt on the part of Australian writers to re-imagine the history that has led up to the current turmoil of the present, searching for a better way to understand the historical relationship between all of the different segments of the population that are considered ‘Australian’  btw, the quote in the title comes from the end of Foucault’s introduction to “Discipline and Punish”  so, the play on words through adding in the ‘re-‘ is supposed to be the idea that not only are these novels attempting to write the history of the present as a way of understanding how the present came to be, but Carey is actually simultaneously re-writing the history, providing his own take on things- wanna talk about power transferal there?

What needs to be figured out:  I need to read more Foucault.  It’s on the list of things to do.  I know Carey plays with the idea of the gendered body, and I know Foucault talks about the body, but I haven’t gotten there yet- more to come.  I know it can work, but I need to attempt to articulate how the novels function in regards to body politic not based on what is written between the covers, but their function in the world.  They represent very specific ideas of Australia (though not necessarily the historically held ones), and they are written for specific audiences (Australia or the world- the jury is still in deliberation). Winning the Booker means mucha moolah for the author (it’s got to be a factor).  And perhaps a consideration of Carey’s place in the body politic.  what power does he have, or what is his subjected to? 

So much to think about.  I’ll read some more Foucault then I’ll get back to you.

June 26, 2008

Back to Work (as if I haven’t been doing anything)

Filed under: Rant — Tags: , , , — estherspace @ 11:13 am

Wow, I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve blogged. I’ve intended to, of course, but you know how these things go.

While I’ve been world-wide-web silent, I’ve been busy, I assure you. This summer I have a Fulbright application to work on (so far, nothing), a paper to polish up (a lot) for a conference in the fall (my first one, and it’s in London, so I’m more than a little apprehensive), and I’ve begun my advanced research project (this is the one I’ve made the most progress on, despite the fact that it has the latest due date).

On top of academia, I’m working, I’ve volunteered to be on a planning committee for a women’s conference, I’m spearheading a volunteer project with OCF, and working on coming up with some innovative ideas for the St. Herman’s Conference in December. But, I have found time to watch movies, which is wonderful.

So, I suppose I’m using this post as a sort of to-do list that will help me get focussed and figure out what to do first

For the Fulbright, I need to get some ideas together and get in contact with someone who is in the know on the sort of things I’m interested in pursuing.  I’m going to be honest, I have a fear of people gleaning my ideas for their own use, so nothing more until I have something concrete and very much my own.

Conference paper.  Topic:  linked short stories, Tim Winton, and white Australian search for identity. I’ve got the nugget, but I need some serious help focussing and narrowing.  I’m exploiting my student status as we speak.

Research.  Hmmm.  There’s so much I want to attack, that I don’t know where to begin.  I want to think about Peter Carey & the Booker, but I know that it will be a challenge to write that well.  But, anything else feels like a cop-out right now.  And, I cannot believe how expensive these books that I need are.  E-mail the ILL peeps.

Starting  next week, I only work (officially) 4 days/week, so it’s time to get serious about this stuff.  And help plan St. Seraphim’s.  Sounds like a vaca to me.

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