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Excavating the future of institutionality: an open letter to the university.

... we form, whether we wish to or not, an inextricable part of a terminus a quo, a radial point emanation. Perforce, we function as envoyants rather than as destinataires, emitting envois of unpredictable consequence and indeterminate effect in a decidedly asymmetrical flow and permeability that finds our envois and formative constructs unimpeded in their penetration and diffusion, while we remain properly isolated and screened from what may be trying to flow our way.

--Djelal Kadir

... this would perhaps be my hypothesis (it is extremely difficult, and almost impossible, impossible to prove): it would be necessary to dissociate a certain unconditional independence of thought, of deconstruction, of justice, of the Humanities, of the University, and so forth from any phantasm of sovereign mastery.

--Jacques Derrida (55)

If discouragement were the issue, we would have precious little time to discuss it; for even if we acknowledged that there is much today to be discouraged about--and our reigning "governmentality" would certainly seem to justify much of our collective and professional disheartening--we would by the very logic of that admission be compelled to bring ourselves out of our self-enclosing, because outwardly responsive, state. Seen from this vantage point, our discouragement, though justified, appears instead as one of the mechanisms sustaining briefly our capacity for inventio, that quality of critical praxis that Edward Said associated with criticism's "worldliness" (1982, 152). In "The Future of Criticism," this "worldly aspect" of criticism, inventio, emerges as a crucial ligament linking to each other criticism's internal as well as external developments, what Said calls its "extroverted and introverted forms" (952).
   The worldly aspects of criticism aspire, I think more or less
   uniformly, to hegemony in Gramsci's sense of the word, and if
   it is also true that not every critic is as ambitious as, say,
   Matthew Arnold or T.S. Eliot in their openly proselytizing
   moments, the very act of doing criticism entails a commitment
   to the future, more particularly, a commitment to appearing in,
   making a contribution to, or in various other ways forming
   and affecting the future. (952, emphasis mine)

Through inventio--which subsumes and must subsume our discouragement--we ensure not only the future of this or that form of criticism, but, more importantly today, we ensure the openness of criticism to its outsides. It is through our capacity for inventio that we may yet come into (in-venire) our "worldliness."

In what follows, I unearth and expose the connections that inextricably bind this worldliness of our criticism to its own, internal development--to that which, to paraphrase Derrida, "can only happen, and happen unconditionally, in the universities"--precisely through what I have been calling its "capacity for inventio." I do so in the name of excavating and re-invigorating our "response-ability," by which I mean simply our ability to respond, our "ability to negotiate," so to speak. Elucidating the multiple aspects of this "responsibility" is a task that cannot be accomplished in the space of one essay, no matter its length. (1) For that reason, I have been concentrating my efforts on that part of our responsibility, inventio, that I now redefine as our capacity to reshape from within that externality that shapes us in turn. To delve into this aspect of criticism is to delve into the passage between its "introverted and extroverted forms." It is to archaeologize that passage's worldliness as an "auto-poetic" (2) or self-creative process that nevertheless simultaneously-and as part of its self-creation--fashions for its host an openly hospitable, if constantly re-negotiated, relation to the outside, the more urgently when that Outside (sic) entrenches itself in ever more exclusivist and extra-territorial logics of accumulation.

My argument holds that in times such as the present, when our responsibility is heightened by outside pressures and our sovereignty threatened by those who would turn the university into political "think-tanks" at the behest of corporate and bellicose hierarchies, that it is our institutionality--as--such that provides the most effective basis from which to reshape from within those same outside pressures. This argument is neither original, nor originary. It is not original because in theorizing and proposing institutionality as the site, locus, or substance of our worldly empowerment, I rehearse and hopefully re-elaborate (or adapt) Michel Foucault's arguments on the centrality of institutions in the historical reformation of "modern" assemblages of power. (3) Like Foucault in Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (1975), though not as implicitly, I affirm an inextricable complicity between institutional forms of knowledge--production (such as those sanctioned by the university) and the propagation (now globalization) of criminally-minded political economies--in short, between the university and the hegemonic outside, both of which, in Foucault's account, are sustained by and in turn sustain "disciplinary" (i.e., subject-producing) regimes of differential access. The novelty of my method resides in the fact that I attempt to denude this meta-criminality of disciplinary knowledge ("institutionality" for short) not through the historiographic record, but through the "objects" of my own disciplinary production as a practitioner of the post-mortem (4) discipline of comparative literature: namely, fictional works or "texts." Enmeshed as they are in the history of imperialistic inter-American relations (specifically U.S.-El Salvador), the particular products in question--one a film, the other a novella-inadvertently open a passage for our capacity for inventio by exposing, if for one multitudinous second, the ineluctable embeddedness of our disciplines with/in the worldwide expansion and sedimentation of the foundational criminality of Western economic and political modernisation, now in its neo-liberal avatar. (5) By thus denuding our institutionality-as-such (or our embeddedness) both of these texts open up--like Foucault from his perch before them--what I would call a zone of mutual responsibility, one where the outside of the university, even at its most discouraging, becomes accessible from the university's inside. In essence, both texts will serve as mirror-objects, reflecting back and inevitably refracting, or rerouting, the institutionality that undergirds and that trans-locates our hegemonic worldliness.

Thus unexpectedly imbued or, more precisely, reinvested with the responsibility of institutionality by the mirror-objects of my analysis, I proceed, in highly rhizomatic fashion, to make two un-originary proposals. I call them un-originary because, I have no doubt, they are already being put into practice, although in my estimation, too dispersedly and thus perhaps too inefficiently. It is hoped that they may be improved, perhaps even completely superseded, by others who may be better situated within the matrix of current university work in the United States of America, and who may thus have a better purview of our institutionality-as-such. They should thus be understood for what they essentially are: incitations to reshape, resume, and even expand, the reach of our criticism's institutionality.

In 1975, Foucault famously postulated that
   [I]t is not the activity of the subject of knowledge that produces
   a corpus of knowledge, but power-knowledge, the processes
   and struggles that traverse it and of which it is made up, that
   determines the forms and possible domains of knowledge. (6)

Some thirty years later, as both House of Games (1987), directed by the playwright-cum-filmmaker David Mamet, and Baile con serpientes (1997), written by the journalist-cum-novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya will jointly demonstrate, our immersion in assemblages of power-knowledge will connect us, if once again, to globalizing (inter-American) structures of crime production, to what Foucault would identify as disciplinary forms of power. In effect, these texts force us to face up to our continuity within a large field of relations of criminal empowering and disempowering--in short, to our meta-criminality.

Though widely different in content and form, both of our texts will expose this meta-criminality of disciplinary knowledge, its institutionality--as--such, through the figure of their protagonists, both of whom occupy liminal positions in relation to disciplines: House's Dr. Margaret Ford is a pop psychologist and best-selling author, while Baile's Eduardo Sosa is an unemployed sociologist. However, though liminal in relation to their respective society and its (class, racial, and gender) structures, both characters occupy rather central positions, even when they sit on diametrically-opposed ground--one is successful and wealthy; the other must depend on "the dollars that [my] oldest sister, Manuela [...] would send from the Unites States" (10); one is a female, the other, a male character in decidedly patriarchal settings, etc. Significantly, however, in both cases they occupy, even if tangentially, the phantasmagoric and ideological center of their respective milieux: one is "white" in a highly racist society, the other a "mestizo" in a highly miscegenated one. Thus, both in fact embody fully the hegemonic social field by embodying not only its fissures, but its center. Their liminality can thus be said to be literally constituted by the passage from the disciplines to the hegemonic social field, or between the university--where disciplinary knowledge has been and should continue to be produced--and its outsides; in short, their liminality stands for what I earlier called the university's zone of responsibility. In both texts, as we shall see, this "zone" is shown to be constituted by a shared criminality, for it is by re-activating their criminality that both Dr. Ford and Sosa are able to maintain and even re-animate their liminality, and through it, their centrality in the world. We are confronted then with two parables of the university, of the difference our institutionality can make (happen).

As is already widely known, in Foucault, it is the concept of knowledge-power that inter-connects the sites for the production of knowledge (including his own as a historian in a Western university system) to what he so seductively and sometimes dangerously analyzes as the subject-producing (or "disciplinary") mechanisms of the prison-as-institution and of the emergent forms of "sovereignty" and geographies of power the prison simultaneously expresses and actualizes. (7) That Foucault's is less a historical argument per se than a presentist/futurist one-that is to say, one that leverages history in the name of a future--is attested to by his indication that he intends to "faire l'histoire du present" (write but also make the history of the present). At the "heart" [au cours] of that present, he places the coeval "production," as he calls it, of prison revolts worldwide, even as he indicates that his study is only [seul] focused on the French penal system (35). Thus, it is in fact through his study itself that Foucault excavates (even as he cannot completely illuminate) the meta-criminal ligatures that make possible his own production of an object of knowledge-namely, the prison, or its "birth'--and that situate his own work within the "anatomie politique" [political anatomy] (30) of contemporaneous power. That he chooses not to plumb these ligatures "directly" is a testament to his capacity as a critic to see how near to his own body/text they already are.

To return to our discussion, in both House and in Baile it is the protagonist's will to knowledge, to disinterested or unattached knowledge, that provides the most direct passage to his and her meta-criminality ("criminality" for short). It is what re-places (in the sense of placing again) and basically re-activates that criminality. In Mamet's film, the "plot" is effectively set in motion by Dr. Ford's attempt to write a follow-up to her best-selling book, for which she decides to concentrate on the confidence game, detailing how "bad men ply their trade," as one character ironically puts it, after an apparently fortuitous encounter with a group of conmen in which they fail to relieve her of her money.

The term "plot" here should be understood in its double sense, for not only does Dr. Ford thereby set in motion the events which the film incorporates into a consistent narrative, but also, and at the same time, she falls into a trap (the "plot") set up by the conmen themselves. Significantly, as we will discover in the end, this "plot" or complot expands the entirety of the film, thus linking objective truth (what we see in the film) and criminal design, rendering each continuous with each other or, at least, simultaneous to each other's becoming. In any case, it is by putting into practice her disciplinarily-derived will to knowledge that our liminal disciplinarian unleashes a series of events that will culminate in the murder, through her very own hands, of her created "object of knowledge," the leader of the "bad men," Mike. In short, her will to knowledge reinvigorates the "field of illegalities" that is her immediate and sustaining geography of power.

Similarly for Castellanos Moya's Eduardo Sosa, it is his to will knowledge that will provide the most direct route to his criminality, allowing him to indulge in a killing rampage--coinciding with the bulk of the plot--after murdering the object of his knowledge, Jacinto, a homeless man who one day appears out of nowhere in the streets of a Salvadoran city and whose only mentionable possessions are a dilapidated yellow Chevrolet and three snakes (the ones of the title). Obviously seduced by Jacinto's unexpected presence in the context of his unemployment, Eduardo accosts Jacinto, insistently, like a sycophant, asking him why he "... llev[a] este tipo de vida ..." [leads this type of life] (21). When his inquiries go unanswered, the unemployed sociologist proceeds to scientifically murder the homeless man, "reban[andole] el cuello" [slashing or peeling his throat] as if he were peeling a strange fruit. The chosen verb (rebanar) is significant here because it highlights unexamined links between scientificity (or disinterested knowledge) and criminality that may reach to the very foundations of each and that inter-connect each to the other. As in House of Games, then, the will to knowledge functions as the substance or mechanism that will bind the subject of knowledge to the "maquinas criminales" [criminal machines] (as Castellanos Moya calls them) of an outside hegemonic socioeconomic order.

Today, a few days after The Chronicle of Higher Education announced the creation of the "new discipline" of Israel Studies and in the midst of an illegal occupation of Iraq justified largely through the figure of Saddam Hussein and his so-called violations of international law, our presumptive meta-criminality connects us, once again, to the emergence of a type of "sovereignty" ever more acutely expert in sedimenting and fortifying its criminal foundations, its "maquinas criminales." To be more precise, it connects us--and I can only claim to speak, amateurishly at best, for those of us in the presently-beleaguered U.S. academy of university workers--to the reconstitution of U.S. imperialism into global Empire through what Curtis Marez calls the "political economy" of the "war on drugs." This is the lesson that we might glean from the "History" of these texts, by which I mean the history that they jointly embody and to which they suture our own materiodiscursive production. Moreover, this is a lesson that the two texts in question glimpse (Castellanos Moya's perhaps more than Mamet's) by responding to the specific national histories from which they arise. As we shall see, both texts will ultimately insert (re-assert?) themselves back into those histories by or after having exposed and renewed the meta-criminal continuities that inexorably and persistently (that is to say, trans-historically) ground their internal development and hegemonic reproducibility. (8)

House of Games marks the seventh year of a Ronald Reagan administration that is credited with reinvigorating, if not re-initiating, the "war on drugs," a politics that has proven disastrous for the sovereignty of most (Latin) American states. According to the Asociacion Peruana de Estudios e Investigaciones Para La Paz (APEP), the "war on drugs," which penalizes states that do not adhere to the policy objectives of the United States through its certification program--which dictates economic sanctions for "non-compliant" states--has fueled what they call a "guerra total" [total war] for the purpose of fulfilling "the promise of a vigorous national recuperation" (126), as they call it, of the Reagan administration's rise to power. According to the APEP, who trace the origins of this guerra total to the "loss of position [by the U.S.] in the international arena" after the OPEC oil crisis of 1973 (125), the effect of this promise was to reproduce, and in various cases expand, the vast imbalances of economic and political power that characterize modern trans-national commerce in general and inter-American relations specifically. To quote Raul Pena Carrera, a Mexican criminologist, "la actual politica de drogas [...] ha culminado en los diversos tratados internacionales que se constituyen (por ser basicamente instrumentos foraneos) en vehiculos de colonizacion" [the current drug policy [...] has culminated in the diverse international treaties that constitute (because they are essentially foreign instruments) vehicles of colonization] (100). In fact, the Reagan administration's "war on drugs" generated and/or justified not only a civil war against its own criminalized citizens--predominantly its (racialized) lower-class--but also a hemispheric war against movements for national liberation that threatened--at least theoretically--to level the asymmetries of power/access that have persistently characterized the emergence and development of the Americas.
   Finalmente--y de manera global--, en el plano internacional
   se cuestiono la estrategia trilateral de Carter que suponia
   reconocer y compartir esferas de poder [y de dialogo] con otros
   gobiernos del hemisferio occidental, para pasar a otra
   estragegia de liderazgo exclusivo de EE.UU.

   [Finally--and at a global scale--Carter's international
   trilateral strategies, which sought to recognize and share
   spheres of power (and dialogue) with other governments
   throughout the hemisphere, were undermined and gave way to
   a strategy of exclusive leadership by the U.S.]. (APEP 126)

In effect, as Baile con serpientes will attest ten years later (in 1997), the "war on drugs" has facilitated the continuation of those asymmetries of differential access that characterized the Cold War, reshuffling (and thereby re-territorializing) the meta-criminal bases that allowed the hemispherization of the Reagan administration's imperialist drive in the first place. This was the case in the Central American nation of El Salvador, which as a "transit" point in the traffic of "drugs" from the South to the North of America has been subjected to the standards for "certification" established and overseen by the U.S. government beginning almost immediately after the fall of the so-called "Communist menace." During the period, El Salvador became one of the battlegrounds of a Cold War that solidified the world hegemony of U.S. American-style capitalism. As a result of the bloody conflict that ensued, U.S. "interests" in El Salvador were protected and strengthened and its hegemony reaffirmed. With the end of the Cold War and the "integration" of the communist guerillas, the FMLN, into another political party, the funding of the Salvadoran military seemed no longer justifiable. Fortunately, the "war on drugs" provided that much-needed justification, facilitating the financing of policing agencies, principally anti-narcotics units, which work to advance policies originated and advocated by its "good neighbor" to the north. In Baile con serpientes, Horacio Castellanos Moya denounces this Empiric (9) history, exposing, like Mamet some ten years earlier and within an apparently different regimentation, the ineluctable complicities of disciplinary production in the Empire's recomposition.

As we have seen, in our texts it is the will to knowledge that secures the passage from the disciplinary production of knowledge to its meta-criminality. But if this is so, it is because re-activating the will to knowledge will invariably re-connect our liminal disciplinarians to the criminally-stratified worlding of the object of their knowledge. In Baile, this criminal worlding will find direct expression through at least two devices, which are intricately connected to one another. One of them is the group of scattered references that allude to the Civil War, which was in no small measure financed (overtly and covertly) by the United States government. Significantly, these references appear during the most chaotic moments, the apexes, of Jacinto's rampaging. During one episode, for example, Jacinto purposefully "Walked stumblingly, as if completely drunk, to fool the passersby who, alarmed, headed home, because such raucous reminded them of the troubled days of the war" (157, emphasis added). Through such references, Baile expresses the continuities that mark the functioning of the production of the criminal specter in a globalized El Salvador from that of the Civil War period; in both cases, the criminal specter facilitates the reaffirmation of deeply embedded, if spectrally produced, national as well as trans-national stratifications of power.

These continuities will be made even more evident, or more specific, in the second device employed in the novel linking the becoming of the national to the trans-national through the discourse of crime. I am referring to an allusion to the continued deployment of the criminal specter for the recomposition of U.S./Empiric hegemony over and within Salvadoran national space. It occurs in an episode in which Jacinto "accidentally" runs into and massacres a group of former military men now turned "agentes antinarcoticos" [anti-narcotic agents] working for the "Direccion de Investigaciones Criminales y Antinarcoticos" [Office of Criminal and Anti-Narcotic Investigation], or DICA. Killing the DICA men sparks a ferocious city-wide manhunt in which all police, and eventually some military units, are deployed for the purpose of finding and killing "Jacinto Bustillo." The ferocity of the manhunt that ensues is justified in large measure by the fact that the men are, as the narrator informs us, "los ninos [...] consentidos de los gringos" [the spoiled children of the gringos] (86). Homi K. Bhabha has recently argued that within globalization "... national hegemonies still prevail over transnational agreements" (345). This is a fact that Baile dramatizes through the episode with the DICA agents, alluding to the ways in which the discourse of criminality has smoothed the recomposition of U.S. Cold War imperialism into global Empire.

House includes at least one significant reference to these processes, one that we cannot afford to overlook. As Dr. Ford shoots him for the fourth time near the end of the film, Mike utters what are perhaps the least heard words in the film, which are almost drowned by the sound of an airplane in mid take-off: "Thank you sir, may I have another." The reference here is to military jargon, (10) or more generally, to the increasing militarization during the Reagan administration spurred by the phobia of communism as well as of the "drugs" coming from South America. In this scenario, Mike assumes his position as a soldier of what he had earlier referred to as "the United States of kiss my ass"; by extension, Dr. Ford, Margaret, becomes an agent, or captain/general (the "sir"), of the militarized political economy of the Reagan administration. In this passage, then, the film articulates the continuities that bind the disciplinary production of the criminal specter to the imbalancing of the global economy, or, at the very least, to the processes that seek such an imbalancing. In short, it is yet another instance in which House of Games denudes the meta-criminality, this time writ large (because global or globalizing), of the discursive reproduction of the criminal specter, which in the Americas tends to organize the re-hegemonization of the vast asymmetries of wealth and access that have marked and/or guaranteed their "development" at least since their inception.

In effect, House denudes the complicity of disciplinary knowledge in re-producing the inequalities that legitimate both its will to knowledge and its distance from its "object" of analysis, even when that distance can only surface (i.e., be made visible or textual as film or novel) as phantasmagoric and/or self-projectional scaffolding. That act of murder, which precedes and in fact ensures Dr. Ford's return to her middle-class lifestyle/status as a knowledge producer, will serve in the film as perhaps the most direct visualization of the meta-criminality of the disciplinary method. It is important to note that Dr. Ford employs psychological discourse not only to carry out the murder but also to get away with it. Needless to say, she also employs an instrument--in this case, a gun--to carry out the actual murder, but even as she is pulling the trigger, she deploys psychological discourse not only to "justify" her self but also to accomplish her cold revenge. In the scene, which takes place in a restricted area of an airport, Dr. Ford openly confronts Mike with a gun after her attempt to con him in return--by tempting him with the promise of more money and by playing the role of a paranoid delusional woman who could be easily deceived and taken advantage of--fails. After her initial failure, however, the criminal "potential" of psychological discourse soon becomes realized, as Dr. Ford turns to the identity categories created, if jointly or a posteriori, by psychology (such as "paranoid delusional" woman) to carry out her plan. At this point, our protagonist pulls a gun on Mike and demands that he "beg for his life," that he "beg [her] to forgive [him]." Mike refuses, and calls her "bluff," telling her that she would not risk her career, would not risk "giv[ing] up all that good shit you have, all that shit you're trying so hard to protect." In response, Dr. Ford retorts, "It's not my pistol. I was never here" and proceeds to shoot and kill Mike, exclaiming as she does, "I can't help it. I'm out of control" (emphasis added in both cases). In this sequence, psychological concepts--concepts such as "hysteria" or "temporary insanity"--prove to be more efficiently murderous than the tools of the confidence man. The murder scene thus constitutes the most direct visualization in the film of the criminal effectivity of disciplinary knowledge; it is at this point that its meta-criminal foundations stop becoming merely theoretical and begin to actualize (if only at the "visual level") their instrumentality in the reproduction of the criminal worldings of the objects of their knowledge.

We now stand poised to extrapolate and deploy a meaning from our parables. Significantly, even after having exposed (to us) the meta-criminality of our disciplinary practices, neither House nor Baile offer a way out. As we discover, the central characters of both works in House and in Baile function as alter egos of the authorial figure, or, to be more precise, as Melquiadian figures, in the manner of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' authorial character in Cien anos de soledad (1967). Midway through House of Games, the viewers discover that the title of Dr. Ford's follow-up book on the con-trade will be "House of Games." As if to reenforce the association with the "author-director," (11) there are many shots of her that focus on her as a writer, even if only as a note-taker as she listens to her patients. In fact, our very first view of Dr. Ford, which occurs in the first scene, is of her picture in the back of her book: that is to say, as an author-figure, as "Mamet." Similarly, in Baile con serpientes, Eduardo Sosa identifies himself at one point in the novel as "Arquimedes Batres," a name that bears a strong auditory resemblance to Melquiades (Arquimedes/Melquiades). Through this device, which effectively criminalizes the authors (and not just their author-functions) as themselves complicitly subjected to the very same "History" they denounce, the texts foreclose any possibility of a disinterested, pure, or "Archimedean" outside of our meta-criminal worldliness. Having exposed (to us) the criminal substratum of our work-in-the-world, House and Baile ultimately leave us un-exposed in the zone of our responsibility.

It is with this responsibility in mind, that I make the following two proposals. As stated, they are already being carried out in dispersed sites and through dispersed modes, though not cohesively or collectively. Moreover, they are only directed at, or even applicable to, the U.S. academic/institutional setting from which they spring. They should be understood for what they are: as "starters," as propositions that aim to be replaced by other, better-situated (even better-thought) ones. In short, they are offered as instigations towards reclaiming our "capacity for inventio" by renovating our ennabling institutionality. It is always possible that they may be too fanciful.

1. I propose the creation, or addition, of an "enemy studies" wing to every humanities institute currently in the United States. The name of the wing can, of course, be changed, as I myself am not too enamored of it. In keeping with its (temporary) name, the wing would function as something like a war-time department of information, except that its function would be not to report on our (highly essentialized) "enemies," but rather, on our connections to them. Ideally, the point would be to expose and publicize those known points of connection that may help us (including our government) to reach diplomatic solutions to recurrent war. However, given our government's penchant for producing and invading enemies, I fear that our wing may have too much work in its hands.

In "Critical Disciplinarity," James Chandler suggests that the emergence of humanities institutes, which required "supradepartmental organization," constitutes a key moment in the "modern history of disciplinarity." Moreover, as Chandler shows, the emergence of such institutes should be situated within the context of Watergate and the rampant corruption of White House politics. In many ways, as Chandler shows, the work of such institutes took shape as a response to another "discouraging" period in our institutional history. This first proposal, then, aims to further strengthen our "response-ability." More specifically, it aims to reaffirm our centrality in the conduct and direction of our democracy. To state it bluntly, we must make our leaders responsible for their discourse.

2. I propose expanding the U.S. university system's assemblages of intellectuality by opening its borders (further). Much of this is already happening at admirable pace--through such things as language exchange programs, summer institutes (in theory, for example), and, of course, through comparative work in fields ranging from literature, to political science, to agricultural engineering. I propose intensifying that work, with the purpose of working towards the creation of an open university policy that recognizes that there is no such thing as an "illegal alien," or illegal subject period--no "enemy" per se--within (or without) the confines of our intellectual spaces.

In the United States, where these lines are being written, such an open university policy would have the additional advantage of linking us to one of the truly encouraging signs of our time: namely, the pro-immigration movement. Importantly, this movement was in large part a reaction against efforts to criminalize one of the central, if marginalized, components of contemporary globalization: migrancy itself. As such, the movement should be interpreted, I would argue, as a direct counter movement to the "globalization of crime" or of criminal discourse. For this reason, it becomes imperative that the university system, both in the U.S. and abroad, find ways to support such a movement; otherwise we run the risk of becoming utterly complicitous with an ever more global, ever more punitively asymmetrical social order. Faced with a discouraging outside, which seeks to turn our meta-criminal belonging (our institutionality-as-such)into one more instrument of global dominance, we must reconfigure our institutionality, reactivating our capacity for inventio, the better to be poised to welcome, even stimulate encouraging signs from without. (12)



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(1) In asserting this logic, I follow Said, according to whose argument the nature of the essay is precisely to be incomplete (see especially the last section of "The Text, the World, the Critic").

(2) Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis: An Aesthetico--Political Paradigm (1995).

(3) I draw heavily here from Thomas Dumm. If the reader is interested in the "politics of freedom" in Foucault's work, Dumm is the man to consult.

(4) Spivak, Death of a Discipline (2003).

(5) In reaching this conclusion, I have been affirmed by The Globalisation of Crime: Understanding Transnational Relations in Context (1999), in which Mark Findlay concludes that "crime has been a silent partner in modernisation" (1).

(6) Trans. by Alan Sheridan. The original passage reads as follows: "En bref, ce n'est pas l'activite du sujet de connaissance qui produirait un savoir, utile ou retif au pouvoir, mais le pouvoir-savoir, les processus et les lutes qui le traversent et dont it est constitue, qui determinent les formes et les domaines de la conaissance" (32).

(7) My discussion of Foucault here owes much to Thomas Dumm's discussion of Discipline and Punish in Michel Foucault and the Politics of Freedom (1996).

(8) For a much fuller account of the Western university's roots in colonialism than l can possibly give here, see the work of Walter Mignolo, including The Darker Side of the Rennaisance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization (1995).

(9) Here, as everywhere, I am employing the term "Empire" in direct reference to Hardt and Negri's concept-notion.

(10) Here, I am shortcutting the direct, intertextual or intervisual reference to Animal House (1978) and (re)contextualizing it so as to draw out its cultural/political critique. I thank Sophia McClennen for helping me to identify the reference.

(11) Mamet himself has said that he sees his work as author-centered (see especially, On Directing Film).

(12) This essay is dedicated to Richard Doyle, friend and teacher.
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