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Reporting in from San Juan…

Anne Dalke's picture

I have been thinking of you all a lot through the past few days…

Chandra Mohanty is a big presence @ the NWSA conference here, and I’ve been to three of her sessions: very powerful testimonies to democratizing knowledge, collaborative scholarship, and anti-colonial struggles. I’m all fired up to form a collective @ BMC!

bell hooks’ keynote talk last night was repetitive (how often can you say “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”?), but the Q&A was sharp and good, and the plentary Mohanty hosted today on "The Imperial Politics of Nation-States: U.S. Israel and Palestine" was phenomenal.

There was a session (with four talks) scheduled for this afternoon-- “Roll Up (and Around) the Partition: Beyoncé, Boundary-Pushing, and Feminist Debates”--which I had thought I should attend on behalf of you all—but I decided to skip it after bell said, “I’ll only make one Beyoncé comment: if she had dreadlocks or nappy hair, would she be on the cover of our magazines?  Her very presence is propaganda for white supremacism; if you are black: colonize yourself to make more money!”

bell also called Hilary Clinton “the embodiment of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,” and asked, “how to have a complex dialogue with someone calling herself a feminist, while perpetuating militarist violence?”

Like Mohanty, bell described the academic world as “conservative and conservatizing—but not closed, a necessary location for the ongoing development of radical feminist practice.” She had lots to say about “how we write, the language we use, the audience we seek as vital political activism” (and some funny-and-awful stories, throughout her publishing life, of editors trying to re-write her language: “what white folks heard as anger, I heard as clear, bold language speaking truth to power”). She also spoke @ length about the need for us, in the academy to “create lives that reflect the integrity of our analysis”; “we lack so much language to talk about the dominator space within ourselves.” And then Mohanty took this up and ran with it, “positioning ourselves as infiltrators in institutions not designed for us….” This is powerful stuff!

Now I’m going to the rain forest to cool down…

Til later,

Missing you all!