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YJ's picture

Personalizing the Cannon

First, before I get to the readings, I would like to say that much like Flora, I don't generally like utopian theories. I feel you're always going to leave something out in trying to construct such a vision-or at least most of the existing theories I've encountered have always seemed to be missing something crucial. I especially always disliked the idea of "colorblindness" because much as Patricia Walker points out, it's an idea that seems/sounds like a good idea but in reality, is really the opposite. My problem with ignoring color is that it ignores or calls for one to ignore what is a large part of self-identification for many people of color. I know that for myself, I don't want people to ignore that fact that I'm Korean/Asian (not that they even really could) but rather, that in only viewing me as an "Asian" or "Korean" they're limiting who I am as a person. They're boxing me in before they even get to know me as a whole person. I am Asian, but that is not all that I am.

I've also been thinking a lot since class about the similarities and differences between race and gender and the utopian vision I believe Steph brought up about a race-blind and gender-blind society. While I certainly see the appeal theoretically, I also feel a strong hesitancy, primarily because as I stated before, my racial/ethnic identity compose a large part of my identity. Therefore, I want to be recognized as "Asian" but not only as such. Another problem raised with any utopian theory is that not everyone wants to bre treated the same, i.e. some people may not agree with me and do not want to be identified as "Asian" or "Latina" or "Black," etc. etc. My apologies if I sound like I'm attacking anyone, I'm only using it as a means of framing my own thinking. As for a gender-blind society, I still feel a hesitancy but I'm not quite sure why. I think it goes back to my socialization as a female- I want to be identified as a girl, I want that recognition and I don't really have a good reason for wanting that.

Moving on to the idea of literary cannons, I really like the idea of creating our own personal cannons. I think, as people suggested in class, that we could revise our conception of what a cannon is or what it should mean. Instead of viewing a cannon as a selection of definitive texts, we could view it as a jumping off point from which we can create our own cannons. The first image I see when I visualize such a cannon is a cornucopia (perhaps because Thanksgiving is coming up) in which the "cannon" itself would be comprised of smaller cannons that could speak to some more specific aspect we can identify with. So there could be an African-American female cannon, and a Male Feminist Cannon, and so forth. I suppose that kind of defeats the purpose of having a cannon in the first place, but I think it would be a way of being more inclusive but within limits. So the overarching cannon under which these smaller cannons would go under would be the "Feminist" Cannon. And from there we could each create our own personal cannon-I think it's too much to expect or desire a cannon that speaks to every part of our identity. We should and should want to be a part of that process of cannon-formation, especially if we seek a cannon that speaks to us personally.


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