Karen Engle: Overflow
Articles » June 2002

(Or: How does the Fascist Eat?)

My relationship to footnotes has been undergoing a slow and continuous modification for some time now. Call it rumination, or the product of long digestion and multiple stomachs, but I have been fighting a quiet battle with those lines on a page that work to divide the narrative proper from its underbelly. In textual format, a line always interrupts its own work of separation through the number linking the note with its referent in the text proper. In this economy, for example, 3 at the end of a sentence or citation refers the reader to a corresponding 3 below, in the footnote zone. This second number accompanies an explanation of sorts that the author deems necessary to the clarity of the paper. Necessary, but somehow prosthetic. Subsumed to live burial in the text, this note that cannot not appear in the text, that is somehow central in clarifying and identifying the so-called argument, is nevertheless situated below ground so as to negate its importance.

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Currently finishing the third year of a PhD program in Social Theory at the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta. Research interests include photography, memory, mourning, psychoanalysis, and technology. My dissertation project, tentatively entitled Photography: Monument of our Modernity, explores intersections between photography, memory, and ideology in relation to the events of September 11, 2001 in New York City. Support for this project from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chair Program, and the P.E.O. International Sisterhood is gratefully acknowledged.

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