Monday, November 7, 2011

Waving at each other:
seeing through others' eyes, the next workshop

We can look at feminist histories through the eyes of different ways of understanding intersectionality; and we can look at how and why intersectionalities might differ through the eyes of feminist histories, generations, political agendas, and assumptions about what is better than what else.... 

Tuesday 8 Nov – Agendas, Activisms, Relocations
•    Hewitt: Part III: pick 3 of 5
Look through all of these enough to compare them all somewhat, then become an expert on the ones you choose. How do these projects each in their own specific way contribute to the epistemological project of the whole book? How can you tell?

=Brainstorming all the differences we can grasp. What contexts do they respond to? What constituencies are addressed? What political goals are assumed? How do they compare with your care-abouts?

=reports on what we all did last week!! (Katie gave talk at 4S: talksite here.


Thursday 10 Nov – Comparing epistemological projects
•    Berger: Part IV: choose 2 of the 5 and everyone should read the epilogue
How might each of these chapters work to help us envision the future of intersectionality and to see what is at stake? 

=What questions and concerns are coming up as you prepare for next week's workshop? 

=What is at stake for you in different intersectional approaches, in different ways of conceptualizing waves? 

Which chapters did you choose? Why? How can you let the authors alter your historical imagination? Can you let them turn it in-side out? Change how you think rather than justify how you think? What does that mean for feminists and feminisms?

I picked Ednie Garrison's framing of "Third Wave" as one of my readings (originally in Feminist Studies 2000). In some ways it justified my assumptions about the histories involved, but in other ways it altered them, opened up areas I hadn't thought about in those terms before.

For example, I already did not consider these feminisms strictly age related, but I didn't anticipate how Garrison would reframe them -- not generational but differentially oppositional, an analysis inspired by Chela Sandoval and attentive to culture and technology as historical agencies:

394: "The refusal to claim ownership of feminism allow these third wavers to maintain a sense of their own and other feminist-identified individuals' tactical subjectivity. When we understand that feminism is not about fitting into a mold but about expanding our ability to be revolutionary from within the worlds and communities and scenes we move around and through, then collective action becomes possible across the differences that affect people differently."

Notice this language: "the differences that affect people differently." 

Another one I picked was originally in Meridians 2008, so almost a decade later, Whitney Peoples' discussion of hip hop feminisms and the solidarity of black feminists across generations. She takes as her definition of "third wave" a specific history that defines it pivotally as a collective critique by women of color. (See her ftnote 3.) What alternate histories of the term exist at the same time? How can that be the case? How much does it matter and to whom? Is the "true origin" important? What does it mean to claim the origin of such a term?

And what does critique entail? If you critique something do you throw it out? Peoples' takes up this issue as she explores how hip-hop critique could divide black feminists but doesn't have to, and how it needn't be thrown out even if interrogated....

424: "Just as other black American feminists have chosen to engage other modes of cultural production that are inimical to the development of black women's subjectivity, hip-hop feminists refuse to turn away from difficult and volatile engagements with hip-hop. Bell hooks, for example, argues that the mainstream American film industry has long produced images of women, people of color, that have negated the humanity and subjectivity of black women. Hooks, however, does not advocate the black women abandon film. On the contrary she, like Pough in the case of hip-hop, says that they value of mainstream cinema lies not in the images it produces but in the critique of those images. [she quotes hooks on "the pleasure of interrogation."]...The hip-hop feminist agenda is one that takes its cue from hooks and others by using the critique to fashion an individual, social, and political agenda of inquiry and action for the contemporary moment.... It's the legacy of unmasking the specificity of women's experiences at the intersections of race and sex that continue to make black American feminism an indispensable mode of analysis and activism for many women today. Hip-hop feminists draw on the strength of that legacy while simultaneously drawing on the strength of movements of the contemporary moment such as hip-hop."

click for Black Youth project website
Note how hip-hop then becomes an agency of intersectionality here, and actually allows for a continuity of political analysis across age-generations of black feminists.


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