Monday, June 06, 2005


I've read through the first couple of chapters of Hall's text, but what keeps banging around in my mind in this book's cover. As it happens, I have had my own encounter with Ohio State UP's design folk--fine professionals all, but stubborn--& so I am inclined not to pin the author with responsibility for this particular rhetorical frame. Still, phrenology was among the earliest American self-help movements & I have been wondering about the way that popular psychology--ancient & modern--functions in The Academic Self. Partly, I am trying to look critically at my own bias against the genre; but in doing that, I want to understand the cultural positioning of self-help as a genre. I may be particularly sensitive to this positioning because, as a poet, I occasionally find my books shelved in bookstores under the heading Poetry & Self-Help, or Poetry & Spirituality. Having said all this, I think Hall's notion of the textuality of the academic self is quite useful. I like the idea that, at our best, we academics are constantly renegotiating our relationships with each other & with the institutions in which we work.