Thursday, June 28, 2012

publication provision: revision

Last time I heard back from a journal about a submitted paper, it was the Journal of Academic Ethics asking me to revise and resubmit my paper on the decline of the professional status of college faculty and the lack of opportunity or authority to follow our professional ethics. The blind reviewer earned this name in a way he or she probably didn't mean to, by clearly not reading the paper for its actual argument. Instead, the revise and resubmit letter said I should basically write an entirely different paper on a topic that this reviewer would find more agreeable: how university administrations constantly seek meaningless public image advancements.

(I emailed the JAE editor back and said I would not be resubmitting to a journal so obviously lacking ethical commitment to the principle of peer review.)

Just last week, while we were down in LA, I finally received word back from the journal of the Romanian Society for Phenomenology, Studia Phaenomenologica, saying that my paper had been accepted pending revisions. The revisions listed by their reviewer seem to miss the basic ironic stance in my paper, and the reviewer seems unfamiliar with the pursuit of phenomenology of the body in French existential phenomenology, in particular Merleau-Ponty, Henry, and Marion (and more recently Barbaras), despite my having quoted Ricoeur freaking explaining it in precisely the same terms.

So I've added voluminous footnotes citing dozens of sources to show that, indeed, there is a pretty constant and still ongoing phenomenology of the body. My criticism of this is, briefly, that this fetishizes the body in a way that does two things phenomenology shouldn't do: (1) presupposing that there is a theoretical level of analysis that we must go to in order to explain experience, and (2) relating phenomenological description to a specific metaphysical problem - the mind/body problem Descartes gave us - despite the avowed intent of phenomenologists from Husserl onward to dispense with that metaphysics.

There are some quite valid and difficult criticisms. I write very elliptically at times, and this does not help. I blame Merleau-Ponty. (Obviously, I can't get away with it, because he's Merleau-Ponty, and I'm not.) Plus, the version of the paper I sent to them was edited down to 5000 words from a 8000 word screed I wrote last summer, which I ended up calling "the goofy paper," to express my total disgust with Michel Henry and Jean-Luc Marion. Minus some of the screedy elements, the argument is not very explicit (whereas, with the screedy elements, the language would have been all too explicit for a family journal like Studia Phaenomenologica).

(I curse at my food when I cook, and I curse at my books when I read. Mostly in good fun. I am far more forgiving of disobedient foodstuffs than disappointing philosophers, so some of the cursing at books is a little less joyous and collegial.)

I'm having a very hard time keeping the gumption up for this task - hence this post. I have until 15 July.

No comments: