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July 2, 2004

[FC] Very Early Notes on My Fight Club and Globalization Paper

Written (or at least started) just seconds after Nick Green's game-winning home run for the Braves....

Thinking out loud....

I think I've weathered the psychic turbulence I always feel whenever I turn from one project to another. It usually takes me a week or so to shake off the mad rush of finishing one article (my horror film paper) and to refocus my energy on something new (my Fight Club paper), and that turbulence feels like two weather patterns colliding with thunder, lightning, rapid temperature changes, the whole bit. I'm also recovering from the fact that my summer is disappearing rapidly, with classes at Tech starting in something like six weeks.

Below the fold, I've included some very tentative notes about where I'm heading with this paper.

I'm finding that the Fight Club paper may turn out to be especially challenging for me. Part of my anxiety may be due to the fact that I'll be writing about my teaching experiences, which makes this paper more personal than anything I've ever written for academic publication.

I did find the experience of teaching Fight Club to be rewarding, and (here's where another challenge comes in), I think it could be a useful (but limited) way of teaching some of the issues pertaining to globalization. One of the Big Questions that I've been trying to negotiate is the fact that Fight Club can only tell part of the globalization story, and of course, it looks at globalization from the perspective of the US, as told by a major Hollywood studio. For example, a more informative approach to globalization would look at the film Life and Debt, a documentary about the effects of globalization on industry and agriculture in Jamaica (and the first film I saw after defending my dissertation), but I'm not sure that I could bridge the gap between those two texts (or others like them) in a short essay, or in the cofines of a composition class.

Right now, to get around some of these dilemmas, I'm planning to structure the essay around Fight Club as a kind of "hypertext," in which I'll be able to point to various "nodes" or "questions" that the film introduces (which is essentially how I taught the film and novel the first time). This approach will allow me to frame some of the questions the film raises whether in terms of globalization and a masculinity crisis, or in relationship to culture jamming (just finished Naomi Klein's No Logo), to name a couple of possibilities. My students' papers essentially grew out of these "nodes," and looking back on the semester, I think that's one part of the assignment sequence that worked particularly well. Lots of questions right now, but I'm enjoying the research. Klein's book is an interesting read, and I read a significant chunk of Michael Denning's Culture in the Age of Three Worlds, which I've also found to be of great value so far, especially in his use of classroom anecdotes to illustrate arguments about globalization (more on that later--I'm fading fast).

Posted by chuck at July 2, 2004 11:48 PM

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Bibliography reminder. Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents. By the way, TinyURL is incredibly cool.

Posted by: chuck at July 7, 2004 9:49 PM

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