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EMaciolek's picture

Class Discussion 9/25

The idea of "interpellation" forced our class to look at our own place in society, as students who are interpellated into school. When looked at from one perspective it seemed as if we were unknowingly, yet willingly, formed by school because it is the "dominant ideological apparatus," and we submit to it. However, when we delved more into the subject it became clear that we didn't think of attending college as a domination technique created by society, but rather attending school is equivalent to internally making a deal to engage in certain social practices.

In regards to Spivak's essay, our class broke up into four separate groups to discuss how "the active ideology of imperialism provides a discursive field" for Jane Eyre, Frankenstein and The Tempest. After we regrouped the following questions were brought to light: (1) What is the relationship between hegemonic imperialism and child-bearing/soul-making? (2) How does imperialism affect oppression in regards to race and gender? Which is affected more? (3) How does a hegemonic reading of literature relate back to feminism? (4) How do the three texts relate when it comes to child-bearing/soul-making?

We came to a general decision that a soul is a creation by social process that is added to a pre-existing body. Imperialism assumes that a monster/native needs a soul, when really she already has one - it just doesn't fit into imperialist norms. Also, when it comes to child-bearing and soul-making, we found, particularly in Frankenstein, that there is a problem with ignoring the female role in these processes.

I found the most enlightening part of the class discussion to be our discussion of the relationship between imperialism and feminism. We found that the type of feminism people use is imperialist. Also, the way that men treat women in certain texts is equivalent to the way imperialist countries treat natives. When it comes to literature it became clear that white women use native women to represent their own psycho oppression and in this way perpetuate imperialism. To follow up this thread of thought we asked: "Does the madness of one woman need to be contained so that another woman can be foregrounded?" (Examples: Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea)

We left class with the following questions in mind: Why is Jane Eyre the cult feminist text when it has hegemonic imperialist forces in it? What role does literature play in the project of feminism?


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