Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Diary of a Grad Student: Library and Kindle Books

Preparing a thesis proposal made me realize something important about UP library and a practical application of political economy. The way we think, the way we write, the way we practice our professions, at some level, depends on what we studied. I know about the “real world” argument, yes, you learn a lot in the “real world.” But being in the academe, what you learn in school is also what you apply in this so-called “real life.” The thing is, the more I study, the more I try to know about things, the more I realize that there are a lot more things that I do not know. But that is normal.

I am disheartened about the contents of UP Library. I am a believer in early philosophies, so I value old books. Even if there are new readings to old aesthetics and philosophies, there is still great knowledge to be had in reading the earliest writings. But the state of UP Library and how outdated it is disheartened me. I have read some essays of philosophers and aestheticians through my Professors’ personal collections, but when I wanted to go deeper, there is nothing to be found in the library. Sometimes, their works are not even in there.

One such philosopher that should be in the library is Jacques Rancier. I only found out about him because Claire Bishop was citing him. But then again, I only got to read Claire Bishop because of a Prof’s book, so you see where this goes. I got a copy of Rancier’s Staging the People: The Proletarian and His Double through Gian’s collection, but he bought that in Thailand. Then I got a Kindle book of Rancier’s Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. If not for digging deeper and discovering Amazon searching, I will have no idea on his philosophies. Ironically, political philosophy across my face. If I depended on what is available in the library and local bookstores, then my philosophies will be not be informed of a French Marxism/ political-economy. I have no idea why he is not in the UP Library. Rancier also engages other philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, Antonio Negri, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and Jacques Derrida. Most of which, are also not in the UP Library. Some of them are, but not their latest books and writings. I find that incredibly sad.

There is so much to read out there, so much to learn. What’s more, there’s so much to study and write about. My growing collection and decreasing savings is proof enough of that. If not for my Professors’ and friends’ books along with my Mother’s help I will not have access to these things. If we are to depend on a limited library and limited choices in the local bookstores, then what? There are a lot of improvements over the years, yet, there are still a lot of limitations. What can we do now to further enrich ourselves?

We should keep on reading, writing, discovering, rediscovering and then writing some more. We should keep at it and not stop. That’s the best and worst part of our jobs, despite and aside from the dismal pay–the work never stops, it never stagnates, there is always something new, something more, to teach, to learn and to write about.

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