Revisting Chapter One

After letting the draft sit for a while, slightly traumatized by the hectic process of wrapping it up over the winter, I was pleasantly surprised by my perspective on it now. The argument that I found discouragingly convoluted still reads as a bit messy but also intriguing, particularly in the way it interweaveas deformance and performativity.

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Closing Up Chapter One

Even though I still need to finalize the conclusion (and add a final example of text analysis), I’m deeming the first draft of my first chapter complete. It’s been nearly a year, and the thing has taken so many shapes, texts, interventions in the meantime. Although there’s still a little more work to do, fleshing out some text analysis with Python, the thing is being set aside. It doesn’t feel totally done – in fact I feel slightly guilty for setting it aside – but I know that any attempt to finalize it right now will just have to be revised once I progress through other chapters and my intervention develops.

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The Fantasy of the Falsifiable

In the past three months, this chapter has taken on a whole new form. I had a meeting with my dissertation workshop in late October that revealed to me how I was writing around the argument I wanted to make, which is about deconstructing (in NKM’s words) “the fantasy of the falsifiable.” So I cut about half of what I had already written, the sections on the digital, queerness, and touch, and moved that to an introductory chapter. What remained was the section where I critique “reproducible” criticism, and that was pretty much it. Around this section, I’ve written another on textual scholarship and deformance, and one on queer performance. I’m now working on the final section of the chapter, where I synthesize aspects from deformance and preformance to present a new approach for “queer” text analysis. After that, I will write up a quick intro that begins be presenting a critique of the falsifiable, which I position as forerunner to the reproducible.

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Zooming out of Chapter One

About a week ago I converted my chapter document into a word doc. Until now, I’ve only been engaging with the draft on through the text editor Emacs using Org Mode, an amazing format that allows you to collapse paragraphs and outlines to make writing cleaner and more navigable. As a result, however, I didn’t have a sense of how long my document was until I opened it in Word. Turns out I have 34 pages single spaced. And I still need to draft what I think will take up about one third of the chapter. Clearly, some revision and reorganization is necessary.

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Drafting the Intro

My past two posts have been clarifying the concept of “untouchable” and how it functions in relation to queerness. “Untouchable” denotes a state of suspended knowledge (about queer subjectivity and experience) that allows me to then turn to feeling and affect as epistemological methods. - First, I worked out a definition of “untouchable” as the raw data about queer subjectivity and experience that cannot be quantified. (later in the chapter, I will explain that in order to engage (or “interface”) with this data, we need abstraction and formalization. - Then, I looked for analogies of the “untouchable” in other fields (history and science) that display the impulse to verify, correct, or recover. In literary studies, this impulse for satisfaction is observed in “paranoid” or “suspicious” reading practices, which attempt to find “hidden meaning” in texts in a way that constrains inquiry.

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