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This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past.
Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps
piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet.
The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.
But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings
with such violence that the angel can no longer close them.
The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned,
while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History
Even the blandest (or bluffest) "scholarly work" fears getting into trouble: less with the adversaries whose particular attacks it keeps busy anticipating than through what, but for the spectacle of this very activity, might be perceived as an overall lack of authorization. It is as though, unless the work at once assumed its most densely professional form, it would somehow get unplugged from whatever power station (the academy, the specialization) enables it to speak. Nothing expresses -- or allays -- this separation anxiety better than the protocol requiring an introduction to "situate" the work within its institutional and discursive matrix. The same nervous ritual that attests a positive dread of being asocial -- of failing to furnish the proper authorities with one's papers, and vice versa -- places these possibilities at an infinite remove from a writing whose thorough assimilation, courted from the start, makes it too readable to need to be read much further. If only for this reason, the moment when "explanations are in order" may rightly give rise to the desire to withhold them (like Balzac's Vautrin, whose last words to the police as they open his closets and seize his effects are "Vous ne saurez rien") long enough, at any rate, to draw attention to what is most compelling in the demand for them.
D.A. Miller, The Novel and the Police
[Y]ou are being badly trained! Not teaching social science doctoral students to write their PhDs is like not teaching chemists to do laboratory experiments. That's why I am teaching nothing but writing nowadays. I keep repeating the same mantra: 'describe, write, describe, write.'
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social, 149.