It’s relatively easy to engage with another’s work in an agonistic mode: this is good, that is bad, now you defend yourself, now I’ll defend myself. It’s much, much more difficult to try to understand and appreciate the goal of another’s work and try to help them achieve that goal by asking challenging but supportive questions and engaging in a careful dialogue around a text-in-progress (aren’t all texts always in progress?) that’s about understanding and opening. We get too lazy about this too often. It’s worth reflecting more on how we might incorporate training in critical engagement that is not self-evidently about agonism, judgment, praise, and blame in training our students and ourselves.


[Back to Exploded View Diagram 1: Please do not circulate.]