We escaped the sauna of our classroom last night and moved outside to the courtyard, onto the grass, where it was cool (and a bit buggy). Big class, about a dozen, several people from outside COM, which is cool – I like more, diverse perspectives. I’m also psyched that I’m in class now with folks I haven’t been before, Srinivas, Jung Yup, Danny…they also see things differently than I do and I’m looking forward to getting to know them (I hope!)
Paula had to move us along quite a bit, some hadn’t read, others had perhaps read but were shy to join in the discussion. I’m sure that’ll ease up as we go along. The summaries of David Harvey and Saskia Sassen’s arguments were really helpful to me; they helped put Smith’s critique into perspective. The overt discussion of what Smith’s argument is and where he’s coming from was also terrific for me because that made the connection between what Smith had written and the background that Paula shared – the relationship to LaClau and Mouffe, reviewed by Saul Newman, and the general sense of this emphasis on any form of agency being “heretical.” When Paula said that I thought, “No WONDER I like him!” 🙂
Here’s someone who argues “the project as a whole is unlikely to achieve its intellectual and political ambitions”. And another who analyzes LaClau and Mouffe’s reconstruction of the term, hegemony.
This is my first class in political economy so I know I’m missing a lot of knowledge most (if not all?) of my peers have – grounding in Marxism, most obviously. Hopefully, my willingness to display my ignorance (!) through guesswork and thinking-out-loud won’t reflect too poorly upon me. 😉

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