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Homesick with Nowhere to Go

Notes towards Day 10 of
Critical Feminist Studies

"Homesick with Nowhere to Go":

Working the Tension Between the
"Negativity of Theory and the Positivity of Politics"; or
"Can Home be a Liminal Space?"

Setting the stage for...
my upcoming road trip to the
I. coursekeeping
--leftover sign-up sheets/papers
--for Tuesday: read Lauter & respond w/ your "menu" for the remainder of the course
thematic? political? aesthetic? generic? literary? AND NEW STUFF!?
--on Thursday: read & respond in anticipation of Susan Stryker's visit
--on Friday: meet w/ me AND (unless otherwise negotiated...)
your research proposal due on-line by 5 p.m.

II. leftovers from last Thursday and Tuesday...

Stepping off from Cixous's "Laugh of the Medusa":
Gail on "generous feminism"
Ann on "equitable generosity"

Stepping off from Johnson's "Refusing to Remain Figurative"
Scott Gilbert, "Fictions and Fetuses"
Mary Clurman, "For the Living: Unanswerable Questions"

Jrizzo's class summary:
"we were shooed out the door at 11:30, the debate still raging"

This (as it continued on-line)had largely to do with
the relation between the personal & the political:

Jessy: I really didn't like...watching the poem get has [not] made a political decision.

smigliori: I found it strange that so many of my classmates...believe that literary analysis and politics differed...[both involve] creating interpretations...[both have] instability of identity categories....Why does a lack of stability...make people so uncomfortable?

maybe it's sad that politics can take pleasure away from...artwork.

..may have composed this poem with the prevent the very way our class discussion headed toward politicizing "The Mother"...The poem...may validate the realness of the feelings that can one can disagree or accuse another individual's emotions as incorrect.

Abby: I just think "The Mother" is a beautiful piece of art...I like the idea of the artistic world being a place where people can at least have something in common.

matos: I would have liked it if she expanded..besides [the] poem, to straight forward political speech...."undecidedibility"...creates a need for some hierarchical power to create certainty....politics is not a remedy

gail: As a student and English teacher, I had enjoyed Apostrophe as a literary device...But...Brook's Mohter hit me hard in the chest. Though I believe that words are important politically....I had not realized how political this single literary device is.

lvasko: I didn't actually like the poem. When I read it I felt apathetic. The poem did not speak to me. And, like Flor, I take issue with Brooks'....If you are born, you have left the body alive....A baby is not born when the sperm meets the egg.

EMaciolek: one thing seems clear: we're resistant to the politicalization of Brooks' "The Mother"....I wonder if the politicalization of works of art is not what my one huge disconnect with feminism is.

and from those who "went to the blog"....

Rhapsodica: Like Lydia, I wasn't struck with any sort of intense emotion upon reading "The Mother" first reaction was that I didn't have much of a reaction at all, and I've been trying to figure out why....what if Brooks wasn't the speaker in the poem....Does that make it any more or less political...more or less personal?....Perhaps it really is just an incredibly personal poem, in which case I think it's almost rude in a sense to strip it down to just being "pro-choice" or "pro-life".... that's precisely what's so interesting about this poem: it's so ambiguous that either side can try to claim it, yet neither side can definitively win....The truth in this poem is that abortion is not an easy choice to make, nor an easy choice to forget....the difficulty of pinning a classification on this poem is especially fitting.

Flora: I do want to think more about language animating the inanimate....the difference between enacting/animating and creating life is extremely important....My personal rider...s that we cannot use this one literary text and this one critique alone to discuss the politics of abortion. Period....I generally try to create a superficial separation of the academic form the poltiical in my coursework...But I find the necessity of this separation a flaw in my college educaiton...
What is our shared goal in this class?

Answering this question is one of our shared tasks on Tuesday: underlying the texts we choose together (and the way we go about choosing them together) are presumptions and assumptions and implications about our shared (or not-shared) stay tuned!

III. in the interim (and as preparation): today's conversation

Getting us started:
kwheeler08 (on Martin & Mohanty): feminism is not an all-encompassing home....there will never exist a feminist community with a coherent or absolute identity, but...this is not necessarily a bad thing....we need to be careful not to conflate the idea of a political coalition and a home; inherent in the idea of a home is exclusion and repression of outsiders....communities are...the product of work and constant change as they must accommodate for the varying priorities and personal histories of those in the group. I think this variation of opinions is the undecidability that Johnson is referring to.

YJ (on Anzaldua): We need to start thinking in a different way...if we can allow any kind of discrimination...that only works to harm eradicate the wrongs that have harmed females...requires a wholesale eradication of all prejudices, discriminations...we must recongize the prejudices that lie deep within ourselves.

How would you teach these texts to someone who hasn't read them?

What is the relationship between them?

What happens when they intersect?

Break into four groups to figure out some answers to these questions...
Then we'll come back and see what we have to say to one another.

Gloria Anzaldúa
"La conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness"

"I am an act of kneading...a product of cross breeding....
internal strife results in insecurity and indecisiveness...
mental nepantilism"

"at some point, on our way to a new consciousness,
we will have to be...on both shores at once
developing a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity..."

Biddy Martin and Chandra Talpade Mohanty
“Feminist Politics: What’s Home Got to Do with It?”

"making her self non-identical..."

"There is an irreconcilable tension between the search for a secure place from which to speak,
within which to act, and the awareness of the price at which secure places are bought,
the awareness of the exclusions, the denials, the blindnesses on which they are predicated."
What is  the relationship of home to the process of learning, of education...
how essential is claiming our location to the process of understanding?
What DOES home have to do with it?
"Can home ever be a liminal space?"

Cf. Edward Said, who argues in The  World, the Text and the Critic (1983)
for "travel as a habit of mind." Said uses Auerbach's project of Mimesis to illustrate the blindness of faithfulness/settledness, the importance of getting some distance/not having a commitment, in order to see clearly: this is an "ascetic code of willed homelessness," a procedure which allows you to think beyond the box/boundaries/commonsense, to theorize what is new...This priileges the concept of movement, of transition, an openness of mind facilitated by being "unsettled."

Discussion continues in the Course Forum Area....
go there and add your thoughts!