Saturday, March 30, 2013

Emotional

Seoul International Marathon came and went. On the night before, my friend and I decided that we would run the first ten kilometres, something which, conveniently, would deliver us at the doorstep of a local Starbucks :-) Considering the chronic lack of sleep, this turned out to be a good decision as it gave us a taste of a Korean marathon experience but without any of the subsequent physical pain.

And now, little more than ten days later, I find myself back in the United States for two conferences together with Anna and Eddie. The first one, the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, is a long-standing favourite of mine which over the years has taken me everywhere from Portland to Las Vegas. This year, the conference is meeting at Loews Hotel in Hollywood. Yesterday morning I chaired a panel on “markets and morals” and later in the day I presented my “Modernity as a runway”-paper (which is still under review despite that I submitted it almost a year ago). Both events went really well but today I had a not so good moment as I again found myself fighting that fairly lonely battle in defence of progressive politics. Like in the past, I have a tendency to get very emotional in ways that are not always that helpful. After all, I should know by now that it is simply not possible to persuade other people about a completely different understanding of politics, history and the future of human civilization in two minutes. Yet, simply shutting up and just accepting the prevailing nihilism in academia also feels wrong. My fear however is that I make my own position a disservice by coming across as hopelessly naïve.

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Seoul (International Marathon)

Although I have been living in Seoul for almost two years now, I realized that I have written almost nothing about the city here on Rawls & Me. Like Korea in general, I guess part of this has to do with the very normality of the city. Despite being one of the largest cities in the world with a metropolitan area of more 25 million people, everyday life in our little bubble up here in Imundong feels more like a small college town with its local cafés, pseudo-Italian bistros and students everywhere. Were it not for the occasional train bringing oil up to the front, the heavy military helicopters circling above from time to time or for all the students dressed in uniform, one would even be excused for forgetting that we are less than 100 km away from the most militarized zone on the planet.

As for the wider city, I hope to be able give a full account in two weeks when I plan to run Seoul International Marathon with one of my best friends who is coming over from Sweden. Or, should I say, I planned to run that marathon. Suffering from severe sleep deprivation and general baby apocalypse, I think I should be happy if I manage to finish half of those 42 kilometres… But of course, I will give it a shot and I promise to keep you posted about the result.