This -- ranting incoherently -- is what happens when you:
1. Barely survive a terrible job interview for an assistant professorship, during which you tell the search committee about your dissertation and ongoing work on exploring the relationship between ruins and the search for national identity and historicity in the face of a constantly changing conception and experience of modernity, and then
2. Not get the job (nor even get a polite rejection letter), and so then
3. Quit academia, and decide to continue working on ruins-related ideas, even though without institutional backing you know it will be hard to get your foot in the academic publishing world, but then
4. Find out that the head of the search committee for the job that you applied to, and for which you had that terrible interview, has, out of nowhere, and three years after said interview during which she seemed to scoff at the idea of thinking through ruins as a way to examine 21st century narratives of the present, become the guest editor of the latest issue of Cultural Anthropology:
INTRODUCTORY ESSAY: "Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination", Ann Laura Stoler
The May 2008 issue of Cultural Anthropology is a special issue edited by Ann Laura Stoler focused on "imperial debris." "This is not a turn to ruins as memorialized and large-scale monumental 'leftovers' or relics," Stoler writes in her introductory essay, "but rather to what people are 'left with': to what remains, to the aftershocks of empire, to the material and social afterlife of structures, sensibilities, and things. Such effects reside in the corroded hollows of landscapes, in the gutted infrastructures of segregated cityscapes and in the microecologies of matter and mind."
In expanding conceptions of ruins and eschewing any romanticization of them or their empires, Stoler hopes to interlink postcolonial studies with analyses and concerns about urban decay, environmental degradation, industrial pollution, and "racialized unemployment." She also hopes to highlight how some people and places are more susceptible to ruin than others. "Modernity and capitalism can account for the left aside, but not where people are left, what they are left with, and what means they have to deal with what remains," writes Stoler.
It's Memorial Day here in the States. Methinks it's a perfectly reasonable time -- 1pm -- to get my drink on.