Lessons from the 2010 E3W Conference at UT Austin

Yes, the E3W Ninth Annual Sequels Symposium on “Human Interests, Historical Investments” is now part of history. But, a history that will certainly be visited and re-visited since so much has been said and learned. Beyond the coffee, the pictures, the jokes, the party, the wine, the sheep cheese…that made this gathering exceptional, there has been a revolution, a kind of renewal, or a conversion that has taken place. Something that only the future can reveal to us the true nature of. We can say that this conference has made the blind to see, the crippled to walk and the deaf to hear. Some may say that we might be pushing the metaphor too far. Surely, they didn’t hear our key speakers or any of the panelists. Otherwise, they would say that we’re making light of what actually happened.

There are incredible lessons that we learned (personally): Saving the world (3rd world in particular) is not as easy as we think. We should always examine twice our idea of the “good” we would like to do. The “good” changes its form, its frame, its appearance, its location once we look at it from above, from below, from outside or from inside.

No one can really evaluate the ‘evilness’ of evil. At which point evil becomes evil or stops from being evil? Evil can cause pleasure to one and pain to another. So, the response of an individual to one issue may oppose the response of the group. Then, universal uniformity should be the greatest illusion of our century. Let’s keep differences different. The moment when we ‘similarize’ our differences, we actually box ourselves in a language that oppresses more than slavery does.

No human can be entirely in the truth. The act of speaking is in itself a lie, a lie to oneself.  Once I say…or let Edward Said say…or….give the floor to Michel Foucault, I’m opening the door to a truth and closing the door to another thruth. My truth becomes a semi-lie, semi-truth. We never go from the semi-truth to the full-truth since we will always be pointing our eyes towards one horizon and giving our back to another. The work of the academic scholar is then to reduce the gap so that a conversation can always take place, a dialog can always be engaged from both sides.

To us, this is the kind of conversation that this conference has recognized and encouraged. Therefore , let’s talk…

For more email: danielkahozi@yahoo.com

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