Monday, September 04, 2006

the "home" essay

Back in 2000 I published a little essay called "Home: Territory and Identity" in Cultural Studies. It's an essay I've always liked because in some ways I wrote it by feel, about a feeling of space and place, and the prose has its own particular rhythms and character. It was expanded, corrected, and republished in Jennifer Slack's (2003) collection Animations (of Deleuze and Guattari)--there were some typesetting issues with the original Cultural Studies version which made it more difficult to follow (and changed meaning in places), and so I tend to prefer the latter.

It's always interesting to see if, and how, an essay gets cited. I don't obsessively track these things, but since I like this essay I've been a bit more attentive, especially since it's popping up in such a fascinating variety of places. It's sort of like dropping a pebble in a pond, watching the ripples, and seeing reflected ripples back from myriad and sundry other objects. It's this strange itinerary that I find curious, interesting, surprising. From what I can tell it has been mentioned in pieces on Deleuzian philosophy, digital media, family photographs, welfare reform, children's literature, people with psychiatric disabilities living in public housing, virtual diasporas, landscapes of everyday life, design theory (it's actually being extracted in an forthcoming design theory reader), and at least one art installation. The latest to crop up, the impulse behind this blog entry, is a citation in Behavioral Brain Research which is, to put it prosaicly, about watching gerbils wandering around in the dark in a strange place (that is, how they map and orient themselves to an unknown territory through wandering in loops and establishing a "home base.") I really don't have much to say about this, just noting my curiousity, interest, and surprise at the ways these things have a life of their own (the essay, that is, not the gerbils, though they do, too).

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