Brief Interviews with Specific Intellectuals, Part 1 - Jodi Dean
Brief Interviews with Specific Intellectuals is a new segment that attempts to bring a diverse and unique array of opinions to topics of both immediate and lasting relevance. I reached out to individuals across a wide spectrum of occupations, interests, and demographics. Each interview contains five questions that are both generic and targeted, and I hope to stagger these weekly. The title is, for those unaware, a pun on the Foucauldian “specific intellectual,” and I mean it not in the strictly Foucauldian sense, but in the larger context of discussions with people who bring a unique knowledge base to the contemporary table.
The first interview in the series is with Dr. Jodi Dean. She is a professor of political theory at Hobart and William Smith, the author and editor of numerous works, including her most recent, Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive. She also writes and maintains a widely read blog. She deserves special credit for being the fastest responder to my initial email and her answers are short, in part, due to her desire to respond “in a spirit of immediacy.”
1. How did you arrive at your current job? Is your occupation (taken generically) more an act of destiny or chance?
JD: I am a professor. I ended up as a professor in a piecemeal fashion—first I wanted to be a TA, then I wanted to teach Contemporary Civilization at Columbia (where I was a graduate student); then I was finishing my Ph.D and realized I needed a job.
2. Should the blog as a medium survive? Why?
JD: Should doesn’t matter. Media change; blogs and blogging change.
3. How should younger generations in the West react to/become involved in/learn from the ongoing uprisings throughout the Middle East and Africa?
JD: They should be willing to fight and organize for what matters. They should have the courage to fight for another world. They should fight against the hideous inequality of neoliberal capitalism.
4. Name two people you believe will (still) be famous in 500 years (assuming civilization survives).
JD: Marx and Mao
5. Pick your own question and answer it.
JD: What is to be done? Organize
Please stay tuned for the next part!