Do widzenia, Zygmunt Bauman

Rest in peace, Zygmunt Bauman. In my waning days as a teacher of things European, I started regularly teaching a course on death. First, I taught it as an elective at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, then, second, I taught it as a first-year seminar at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. The course really had…

Memory, haunting, ready to die

From Marisa Parham‘sĀ Haunting and Displacement in African American Literature and CultureĀ (2009) “Haunting is not compelling because it resonates with the supernatural, but rather because it is appropriate to a sense of what it means to live in between things – in between cultures, in between times, in between spaces – to live with various kinds…

Trouble and Death

I’m writing and thinking about two passages. The first is an old 1920s blues and string band lyric, one that has many variations, but comes down to this turn of phrase: If trouble don’t kill me I believe I’ll never die The lyric comes up a lot in profoundly sad and mournful songs, of course,…