Jeff, Josh, Sandro, Chrystyna, Diana, Natalie, Justin, Dave, Catherine T., Carrie, Wendy, Noelle: there are others, but I especially miss you. Joya & I are having a party tonight and it feels a bit empty not having you here.

Still Signifying

Community I remember, so many years ago, talking with Catherine T. about grad programs. Probably bitching about Maryland‚??s at the time. She told me that she was really happy with the program and that there was so much less politics going on and that the community at UMD was much stronger than other places. I don‚??t know about the departmental politics at GC ‚?? I haven‚??t really seen any in play ‚?? but I do miss the community that we had among the MA/PhD students at UMD. The spatial configuration of our offices facilitated beautifully an instant comradeship with all of us, even those I was close to I felt connected with. Both VCU and GC have far flung student populations with no really day-to-day center. I miss that. I don‚??t think I ever took it for granted at UMD (in fact, I remember always appreciating my friends and colleagues even at my most displeased with the program), yet I don‚??t think I quite recognized just how precious a community I did have.

Reflections on Katrina I have been thinking lately about compulsory National Service. You may ask if I am feeling alright, what with my tendencies toward anti-authority and distrust of organizations. I know it seems a bit out of left field, but the destruction and the preventability of at least a large amount of the destruction wrought by Katrina seems indicative of the need to a concerted and national effort at rebuilding infra-structure in this country. National Service for all 18-20 year olds would provide a significant labor pool for such major projects, not only in areas devastated by ‚??natural‚?? disasters, but also in inner cities, and poor rural communities as well. Additionally, having a bodily awareness of community‚??rather than only a conceptual awareness‚??could, perhaps, maybe help some people to think more about their community (local and global) than about themselves. Ok, I know it‚??s a stretch, human nature being what it is and all, but we can‚??t just sit around and wait for Armageddon. Or at least sane people can‚??t sit around and wait for Armageddon, despite what our growing theocracy would like.

Graduate School There is an attitude that graduate programs, specifically PhD programs, need to demand a subservience to their rigors that overrides physical, mental and spiritual health. While such programs should be intellectually demanding and rigorous, there is something particularly troublesome about the lack of concern towards or awareness of the body within a program (Theatre) that depends on bodies in space. It is commonly accepted that a healthy psyche and body will increase the functioning of the mind … and yet there is a sadistic/masochistic glee taken in the I-am-sacrificing-everything-in-my-life-in-order-for-this-degree-including-my-health-and-well-being attitude. If I am committed, as a teacher, to challenging students intellectually as part of a larger social agenda of empowerment and social values, then why would I accept the amputation of those agendas in my own education?