Critical Conditions – Conversation in progress

of Meaning/

of ‚History‘

a seminar

Winter 1999

Jackson, Jr.


Critical Conditions – Conversations in Progress

One of the most compelling things in Plato’s dialogues,
and what I imagine to be the core of his Academy is the practice (and the
courage and generosity that facilitate the practice of) thinking
aloud together
. Many of many maneuvers on line are attempts at extending
our seminar toward that kind of academia, that radically displacing thinking
aloud together. I log my readings of the dialogues I have attempted as
provisional, engagements-in-process, on site they become self-archiving
(but not self-justifying) incitements for thinking-aloud-together. Or,
giving the medium its due, perhaps my readings are examples of thinking
pseudo-aloud, virtually together.

Because conversation is so important to the theory of
education that informs everything I do pedagogically, and because this
status is an inheritance from Socrates, I would like to direct your attention
to my archived conversations, many of which, I believe achieve a state
of thinking pseudo-aloud, virtually together that the archive itself takes
up potentially with every visitor. It becomes a „virtually together“ that
the tekne continues, dynamically and recursively. It’s a gift that
keeps on giving.

I believe in the web’s potential as a dynamic environment for the kind
of conversations that exemplify my most sustained and sustaining experience
of teaching and learning. I include samples of specific interchanges I
have had or are currently having with very interesting people. I weave
conversations and stories in here to incite new kinds of dialogues in keeping
with the wonderful eccentric traditions created and fostered by generation
after generation of the students I have been so fortunate to know. I offer
these stories neither as achieved revelations nor even as explanations
– but as labyrinthine questions and vertiginally seductive atmospheres
for new collaborative observations.

Here is a cursory listing of some of the archived conversations

Conversations in progress

A conversation between Scott C. Davis and Earl Jackson, Jr. on signification,
semiotics, and Karen Joy Fowler’s novel Sarah Canary but it is more
evocative than content-bound.


Robert Glück

This is an interview with Robert Gluck conducted by Earl
Jackson, Jr. on April 9th 1995. Among other things, Gluck discusses his
novel, Margery Kempe (New York and London: High Risk/Serpent’s Tail, 1994).
Margery Kempe was an English woman of the fifteenth century who wrote what
is believed to be the first autobiography in English. In Margery Kempe
, Gluck rewrites parts of her autobiography and juxtaposes her love of
Jesus with his sexual and romantic obsession with a wealthy young man,
known here as L. This interview was first published in Red Wheelbarrow
1.1 (Spring 1994)
After the Zoe
Beloff Screening

During the first session of my Semiotics and Psychoanalysis
course, I met filmmaker Zoe Beloff over the Internet and invited her to
give a talk and a screening at UCSC. The non-digital film she screened,
A Trip to the Land of Knowledge is a brilliant and devasting extravaganza.
The conversation you find on the page whose url is immediately above, is
a pastiche of a flurry of group emailings that went out to each other beginning
only ten minutes after the screening that night.

Soon I will launch the Critical Conditions subsite, featuring transcripts
of my Hysteria
and Paranoia
seminarians, a legendary performance.

Navigation detours



Cybermental Education

the Seminar

the Engagement

A meta-index to the resource indices

on the Conversation

An arabesque
that includes readings of the first Platonic texts

Glass Town The most brilliant
group emerg

1998-1999 Copyright 

Earl Jackson, Jr.


Lets Deviant!