Subject
 
The issue of subject in English Studies is as nebulous and nearly meaningless as it sounds.  Even for the world that would gladly walk away from post-modern thought with a shrugged, “I took a shit yesterday and I know I did I don’t care if my shit is being differed,” the idea of subject is confusing (let alone ‘English Studies,’ which Rob Pope as adequately demonstrated as nearly encompassing E.O. Wilson’s dream of consilience).  Pope’s question concerning “subject” suggests this confusion by positing the word in multiple valences: subject as the object of study (philosophers roll their eyes), subject as the vague umbrella of anything using English text – sounds included, subject as the context ‘behind’ the studied object, subject as teacher/student in relation to a text (again, all encompassing), subject as an adapted lens through which to “see through” a text (“we will read this text trying to understand how {insert interesting group/category/subjugated stereotype} look at the text, subject as anyone interacting with a text, or subject as the rules of language used to communicate.  The commonality between possible ideas of subject being Text (Madam Bovary, a bus ticket, Flaubert’s bus ticket).  
    Before we can move on to defining subject (something I am apparently conflating with “subject position,” which is a point of contention), unavoidably done in each and every “English” class, the issue of what to do with alternative definitions should be addressed.  Is it enough to recognize the diversity of opinions concerning the role of “subject” within English Studies (is it enough to acknowledge English as a catchall phrase)?  As teachers can we posit a subject position (“we will look at Molloy according to Queer Theory and dissect the role of sexuality accordingly”) and morally/ethically/pragmatically ignore other positions?  Or should we be completely indulgent/unrealistic and attempt to look at a text through all possible subject positions (including the one that places the text in the role of cattle prod and the “subject” as the effects it has on the reader).