Essay in the Point reflecting on universities without people

What do we lose, exactly, when we are forced off those podiums—when we are forced, for a long time, out of public life? To construct and display a public image of oneself is to make oneself legible. The need for legibility stems from a need for recognition; one needs to be seen and heard not only by others; in order to make sense of our own identities, we also need to recognize ourselves. Cast in this light, the ostentatious practices that are epitomized for Marías by those damn gowns—which serve “the twin functions of concealment and aesthetics”—are the manifestation of just that need.