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

Notes Towards Day 4 (Mon, Feb. 3): SNOW DAY..and shifting our discussion on-line

Anne Dalke's picture

I. Last week we looked @ two paired images of trans "bodies" in "place,"
and then talked about what an unusual form Eli Clare's memoir has:
he puts the setting first, brings it into the foreground....and then shows us
what happens to the self, when gender and disability and class identity is 
contextualized in this way, "when embodiment is represented as emplacement."

When we ran out of time, we were talking about his concept of "the body as home,"
what it might mean--and what might be needed--to call our bodies
[rather than a place] home.

II. Today I had hoped to turn us from his (and hooks’, and our!)
valorization of "home" to two texts that question whether
that's really what we should be seeking….

In “Feminist Politics: What’s Home Got to Do with It?” Biddy Martin and Chandra Talpade Mohanty argue that "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... The tension between the desire for home, for synchrony, for sameness, and the realization of the repressions and violence that make home, harmony, sameness imaginable..."

They ask, "what distinguishes [our justification of the homogeneity of the women's community] from the justifications advanced by...the Klan for 'family, community, and protection'?"

Their question is based on their analysis of another text, another memoir,
Minnie Bruce Pratt's "Identity: Skin, Blood, Heart," which charts her exile
from a place of security and privilege--an exile that was the beginning of her activism.

I had planned for us to talk today about the relationship of home
to politics,
and to the process of learning, of education...
how essential is claiming our location to the process of understanding--
and acting...especially in environmental terms?

III. I had also asked you to read the introduction to Timothy Morton’s book,

The Ecological Thought
. Later on in that text, he writes,

"Fixation on place impedes a truly ecological view" (26).

"...we want ecology to be about location, location, location. In particular, location must be local: it must feel like home; we must recognize it and think it in terms of the here and now, not the there and then" (27).

"Perhaps the ecological thought is picaresque—wandering from place to place, open to random encounters" (48).

"Ecological collectivity decisively can’t be rooted in 'place'....'my place in the sun' marks the beginning of all usurpation. 'Place' contains too much “at-homeness,” too much finality, for the ecological thought. Localism, nationalism, and immersion in the ideological bath of the lifeworld, won’t cut it anymore…We need collectivity, not community….it must be a collectivity of weakness, vulnerability, and incompletion" (127).

What do you think? Post a paragraph of your initial reactions to Morton’s idea, reflecting, from the p.o.v. of an environmentalist, on your own investments in and search for home, and we’ll start class on Wednesday with these thoughts….PLEASE USE THE ECO-LITERACY TAG  "English" on these postings.

Also for Wednesday, please read Levi R. Bryant's blog posting
about Stacy Alaimo on "Porous Bodies and Trans-Corporeality."