Yet, despite the widening of the general frame, Orientalism still reigns; though it’s not as brazen, its subtle forms are everywhere.
For the #2016classicschallenge I’m trying to read less obviously canonical texts that are nevertheless important. Works by women, people of color, members of the LGBT community.
For February, I decided to finally read the anti-/post-colonial text Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon. I’ve had this ebook around for years and so far never actually got to read it – only read other works referencing it.
This is a really good (and actually understandable) interview with Judith Butler in which she clarifies her positions on trans people undergoing transformation and surgery (”brave” and “there is nothing more important than for transgender people to ) the use of social construction theory against trans people (”a false, misleading, and oppressive use of the theory”) and TERFS (she rejects them, even calling their actions against trans lives a “kind of feminist tyranny.”) The interview ends with this perspective on her own work:
Gender Trouble was written about 24 years ago, and at that time I did not think well enough about trans issues. Some trans people thought that in claiming that gender is performative that I was saying that it is all a fiction, and that a person’s felt sense of gender was therefore “unreal.” That was never my intention. I sought to expand our sense of what gender realities could be. But I think I needed to pay more attention to what people feel, how the primary experience of the body is registered, and the quite urgent and legitimate demand to have those aspects of sex recognized and supported. I did not mean to argue that gender is fluid and changeable (mine certainly is not). I only meant to say that we should all have greater freedoms to define and pursue our lives without pathologization, de-realization, harassment, threats of violence, violence, and criminalization. I join in the struggle to realize such a world.
I can recommend reading the interview in full. (via @hagalope)
Although racism and sexism readily intersect in the lives of real people, they seldom do in feminist and antiracist practices. And so, when the practices expound identity as woman or person of color as an either/or proposition, they relegate the identity of women of color to a location that resists telling.
We don’t read Michel Foucault asking if he is authentically French. Western writers are granted rhetorical agency, analysis, and theory—the ability to tell truths that are not contained in their bodies.
Smith, A. (2014) ‘Native Studies at the Horizon of Death: Theorizing Ethnographic Entrapment and Settler Self-Reflexivity’, in Simpson, A. and Smith, A. (eds) Theorizing Native Studies, pp. 207-234. Durham, Duke University Press.
Manliness, it can be seen, is an eminently relational notion, constructed in front of other men and against femininity, in a kind of fear of the female, firstly in oneself.
Pierre Bourdieu “A Magnified Image.” Masculine Domination. Polity Press, 2001. (53)
20. Life is the theory; Today is the practice.
Against the urgency of people dying in the streets, what in God’s name is the point of cultural studies?…At that point, I think anybody who is into cultural studies seriously as an intellectual practice, must feel, on their pulse, its ephemerality, its insubstantiality, how little it registers, how little we’ve been able to change anything or get anybody to do anything. If you don’t feel that as one tension in the work that you are doing, theory has let you off the hook.
The Internet has heard that I am writing my thesis and has given me a otter discourse blog for support.