9.07.2011

Perspective

There are moments in your life when the distance of your journey snaps into clarity--this afternoon I had one of those moments.

About 20 years ago, I was an undergrad trying to keep the glow of my time in England alive. I poured the inspirational energy of a chance meeting with Toni Morrison into my honors thesis on Morrison's Song of Solomon--a book tracing the adventures of an African-American protagonist who travels south in search of his past, and who finds himself in a parallel journey with the flying African, Solomon. My frantic attempts to connect this artistic tradition with the postmodern theorizing of Henry Louis Gates Jr. found its echo this morning. The first piece of work I did today was to email two colleagues at Kenyatta University to set up a classroom translation collaboration between our two universities. Next, I found myself in a high-level meeting discussing the possible creation of an immersive media M.A. program, and the possibilities of dovetailing it with my posthuman studies of an African social movement. Finally, I had a meeting with a city employee looking for ways to set up a social media campaign for a six-figure NEH grant which aims connect a Manhattan artist, local artists, and an under-represented/underserved part of the Fargo community to create an ecological art installation/community commons. All three projects are completely fantastic, and frankly beyond what I would have imagined even a few months ago, but here I am combining my interest in Africa, my American pragmatism, and my understanding of our strange, postmodern historical moment.

The line between that naive undergrad and me seems strangely straight, but the distance is very clear. It was at that moment that I sort of sat back and wondered how the heck I've made it this far. I really don't know, other than through the generosity (and occasional underestimation) by others. Thanks. For both.

2 comments:

Sport said...

You rock! That is all.

Linger said...

That's quite the day!

Thanks for you work, Doc!