As I mentioned a while back, I’m going to be spending the summer in San Francisco. I arrive at the end of the month, and in the meantime, I’ll be very busy with faculty meetings, the Birkbeck conference, and preparing our apartment for the subletters. Indeed, I’ve been so focused on getting through this hectic stretch that I’ve given very little thought to the presumably more pleasant and open days to come — as I’ve told a couple friends, my unconscious presupposition seems to be that I’ll die on May 31 and thus I need to get my affairs in order.
In order to begin envisioning the future, I hereby indulge in one of my favorite hobbies: reflecting on tasks I need to achieve.
The two truly non-negotiable tasks are to prepare for my Islam course at Shimer and my devil course at Chicago Theological Seminary. Given that I just taught a devil course at Shimer, the latter will take much less work than the former — but I will still be assigning myself new texts, etc. Course prep for my other class at Shimer, the fine arts course I taught last fall, should be much less of an issue given that the only major changes we’re planning to make on it is in terms of the assignments and the order of presentation of the various materials.
I also need to get a good start on translating The Use of Bodies if I’m going to have any chance at sanity next summer (I finished a full draft of the very short Pilate and Jesus over the last couple weeks and plan to submit it to Stanford by the end of the month, after a couple colleagues have looked it over). The Use of Bodies is divided into three major units, so it would be good to have a pretty polished draft of one of them by summer’s end. This should be doable if I work steadily for a couple hours each day.
In terms of writing, I hope to adapt my Birkbeck talk (itself an adaptation of my Harvard talk) into an opening “theoretical chapter” for the devil book, situating my project in the field of political theology. I then want to adapt something like my Shimer devil lecture into a second chapter that gives a historical overview of the project, thought in terms of the way a devil-oriented reading gives us access to multiple paradigms of political theology (of which Schmitt’s would be a relatively narrow subset). My hope would be to use those two as sample chapters and put together a book proposal, and then I would work on the manuscript over the next year (greatly aided by my CTS course).
Other writing includes two or three stray articles I’ve promised, most of which would be adaptations of previous material. I also have the somewhat crazy idea of trying to churn out Creepiness this summer — only somewhat crazy because when I really got moving on the other two pop culture books, I wound up completing them within two or three weeks.
Finally, I’m considering trying to put together some kind of a reading group over the summer, as a way of getting to know some people in the Bay Area. Two possibilities I’ve thought about would be Heidegger’s Contributions or else the “early” Agamben (Language and Death, etc.). I will probably do a separate post about that closer to the time, though.
What about you, dear readers? What are you planning to do this summer?