Responsibilities of reading well
University of Otago
This issue of borderlands showcases what I propose to call ‘slow criticism’. Slow criticism is a criticism that takes the time to interrogate the scholarly orthodoxies that invariably seem to establish themselves in any given field of inquiry. As such, slow criticism fulfils an important corrective function in today’s academic environment. What is at stake in the production of slow criticism is nothing less than our ability to stay attuned to the ethical and political demands made on us as critics at a time when we are ever-more insidiously, and therefore powerfully, interpellated into the role of compliant scholarly citizen ready to feed the well-oiled machine of what is now so glibly called our ‘knowledge economy’. If borderlands has always offered a home to a politically and ethically invested criticism that is situated in the interstices of disciplines and that, from the space (or non-space) of these interstices, is able to interrogate prevailing disciplinary assumptions, the five contributions gathered together for this issue bring much-needed critical scrutiny to a strikingly diverse set of disciplines and debates. They approach these disciplines and debates with the kind of dual responsibility that J. Hillis Miller associates with an ‘ethics of reading’. That is, the authors read their respective texts responsibly—slowly, carefully—while never losing sight of their simultaneous responsibility to ‘the social, institutional, political realms’.
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© borderlands ejournal 2011