Bringing out the beast(s) Supporting and engendering transvaluing practices within academia
Paper in proceedings, 2015
This essay explores the tension between the poetics of value and the politics of value in the context provided by an experimental seminar-series Heritage-as-Common(s) – Common(s) as Heritage (H-A-C-C-A-H) within Critical Heritage Studies at the University of Gothenburg, and it´s following publication, scrutinizing some of the ramifications and challenges of transvaluation within academia of today – including the shift towards strategic development, non-academic partnerships, the instrumentalization of transdisciplinarity and publishing-driven internal and external funding structures. The essay departs from the notion of the seminar, as the humanistic laboratory of the new, as developed by Wilhelm von Humboldt, and outlines the particular seminar-series H-A-C-C-A-H as an effect of this changing (research) landscape, but also as a device or apparatus within this landscape that might (or might not) support and engender transvaluing practices. Here the tension between H-A-C-C-A-H as seminar-series and as publication is explored in relation to the poetics of value and politics of value.
In order to further problematize, rethink and re-conceptualize this scheme - seminars, publishing and transvaluation within academia – through the lens of H-A-C-C-A-H - the Chimaera (the beast of beasts) is introduced both as notion and as narrative. That is the Chimaera as a hybrid order that sustains the logic of the whole and the logic of the part side-by-side (the notion) as well as a narrative of the relation between man and beast, between the tamed and the wild, which are used to outline the university as a (transvaluing) site for hybrid/beastly as in multiple/parallel forms of knowledge-“production” and “dissemination”. Further on and in correspondence to this logic the game of Heads, Bodies, Tails is outlined as a chimaeric method and the retroactive model for the specific setup of the H-A-C-C-A-H-experiment that also can serve as model for further experiments. Finally, the essay in itself is also - in performative sense – to be understood as a Chimaeric exercise.