Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!


shainarobin's picture

It's interesting how when discussing Wendy Brown's mourning of ‘her’ feminism in class, the question of whether or not progress is a theme in her writing came up. Since Brown spends a majority of Chapter 6 expressing her grief, in a rather academic way I might add, as well not providing any concrete solutions for how to get over it, our instinct as readers is to say that none has been made. Does Brown's mourning count as progress though? This seemed to be a question that made a lot of the class think about what we had just read. Many of us acknowledged that there comes a certain amount of privilege with being able to take the time mourn, in this case, however long Brown thought about writing this chapter and the time she took to complete it.  And many also felt that her reflections were not taking advantage of the precious time she has to move forward and bring about change. However, Brown's mourning did help her to realize that her time and conception of feminism as she knew it was over and that she couldn't stand in the way of what it is now. Though it turns out to be a very public and seemingly long mourning of what stood to be a major part of her identity, her acceptance of change and difference does appear to be a progression from where she first started out. Is it alright then that she can't tell us what to do next? I think so. Mourning is a process that we as a society tend to like to put a time limit on. It's viewed as acceptable, by some, for a certain period of time to get lost in your sadness and present yourself as someone who is experiencing loss. However, there also comes a time when you are expected to be done with those feelings and integrate yourself back into everyday society. Some people aren't even given that process to begin with. The temporality of mourning often juxtaposes those who mourning and those who are not, the people who are wallowing in their sadness as opposed to the ones who are making progress. I'm not sure if it's as clearcut as it appears to be though, life rarely is. Which is why I lean towards accepting Brown's mourning as a sign of progress, it might not be the kind we as readers are looking for, but it's a start.