It is hard to describe one’s own formation, & the most decisive factors often remain the most opaque, the most elusive.
I have been thinking about how “Zizek” is, for me, the name for a time when several things came together for me cognitively. I have claimed elsewhere that “Zizek” may even be the name for when I really started thinking—as lofty and pretentious as that sounds, and as funny, because those who know me well know I am so lazy as to often refuse the rigorous work of thinking.
As Hartman notes, it is very difficult to delineate one’s own formation. One not only runs right smack into the problem of periodization—it is not easy cutting off chunks of time in clean breaks from “other” times—but one also realizes, quickly, that the name one has picked is a misnomer, at best a catachresis.
For me, “Zizek” is not and has never been a name for rigor. There are other more rigorous scholars who can write with charity, in ways that breathe life into ideas, and who can also produce works that inspire or provoke great thought. Works that keep on giving. I am afraid Zizek is not one of those scholars for me. I want to believe that neither “then” nor “now” have I ever bought into the ethnocentrism under which Zizek traffics, the erasures, the violences, the racisms, even as I always wonder what it is to claim we knew “then” what we know “now.”
And yet this precisely, this assertion that “then” is not “now,” is my “Zizek.”