chapter
Introduction
Pages 6

Now, I can’t deny that the shoe has also been on the other foot. Some of my most interesting insights have come from finally, reluctantly perhaps, being made to think more carefully about a question that I’ve answered with dismissive impatience. Why, if it is indeed so silly, does a particular question possess some lingering ability to irritate me? It’s something I’ve come to refer to as “the dumb question,” because it’s the sort of inquiry that seems naive and quite ignorant about the discursive protocols that would rule it out of order. In a way, disciplinarity decides the impropriety of such questions when they fall outside a recognized genre of interrogation. Yet inasmuch as a prohibition is also an enticement, the “dumb question” remains irrepress­ ible.