Isn’t the point of academic writing to communicate ideas to students of your discipline? So much academic writing seems to be written by people who cannot communicate, or have decided that they will seem much smarter if they load their work with big words. For example, here is a direct quote from Chela Sandoval’s essay “Dissident Globalizations, Emancipatory Methods, Social-Erotics”, a reading assignment for one of my classes:
The great theorist of history, sex, and power, Michel Foucault, wrote in 1980 that to creatively enter the new millennium we must “refuse what we have been trained to become, that we must promote new forms of subjectivity.” The idea is to call up subjectivity with an erotic panache, suggested the lesbian and U.S. third world feminist intellectual Audre Lorde in 1976, to recognize that the “erotic” itself comprises a mode of political power. But simply being “homosexual,” they both believed, was not sufficient grounds on which to call up this new, emancipatory mode of oppositional praxis. Rather, a shared social-erotics is necessary, or as Fredric Jameson later pointed out, what is required is a specific methodology that can be used as a compass for self-consciously organizing consciousness, praxis, coalition, and resistance under late capitalist cultural conditions.
… Are you kidding me? The last sentence especially is almost 100% impenetrable, even to someone like myself who has been taking a class theoretically related to this material for the past six weeks. But every sentence in that quote is sourced to another work, so presumably she thinks she is logically organizing several other people’s ideas toward synthesizing a new argument of her own. Maybe she is. I’m not sure. But after several minutes of intense scrutinization, I finally figured out what she meant:
(I’ll update this when I do, in fact, figure out what she meant.)