Monday, December 6, 2010


Tuesday, 7 December – LAST CLASS! – Posters

Today we will have two consecutive poster sessions. You will work with materials gathered from research for and from presentations and readings already covered – consolidating the materials generated, filling in gaps with small amounts of additional research, and re-presenting the results in poster formats. These can be individual or collaborative, and you may choose your own approach for re-presentation. You will informally discuss posters with folks wandering from one to another in interactive engagements.

Friday, November 26, 2010

caring, for bodies, senses, feelings, ecologies

Tuesday, 30 November – caring, for bodies, senses, feelings, ecologies
• Despret, “Body” (emailed)
• Kier, manuscript (emailed)
• Hayward, “FingeryEyes” (emailed)

• (optional): read Haraway, Companion Species Manifesto 
• (optional): investigate Bruno Latour's website. I recommend Article 77: How to talk about the body  

• links for fun of various sorts:
= from Bryan: Cross-Species Dining from Edible Geography
= Polypolis 
=Intro to Debates in Transgender, Queer and Feminist Theory at publisher website   

Hayward now published at (with UMD login):  

Hayward 2010: 582: 
"To see, to feel, to sense, and to touch—“fingeryeyes”—slide into each other,
making new prepositions of observation: seeing with tact; touching by eye; feeling
from vision.6 Fingeryeyes synaesthetically blur distinctions that Jennifer Fisher
(1997), a scholar of hapticity, describes: “The haptic sense, comprising the tactile,
kinæsthetic and proprioceptive senses, describes aspects of engagement that are
qualitatively distinct from the capabilities of the visual sense . . . where the visual
sense permits a transcendent, distant and arguably disconnected, point-of-view,
the haptic sense functions by contiguity, contact and resonance.” Fingers register
the optic, hovering not only between touch and sight but also between animal and
human, incorporating these alterations into morphology and behavior. Sensing, as
the coral teach me, is not so neat. 

"Fingers are of course not the only arbiters of the verb to touch; that is to
say, our eyes are contiguous with—not divisible from—the body’s sensorium.
Embodied vision is necessarily accreted by the other senses and their amplification.
In this way, sight is of the body, not just in the body, and this effects a distributed
sensuousness. The kind of digit-sight vivification described here attempts to answer
questions posed by Natasha Myers: “Can our visualization technologies be used to
implicate our bodies, rather than alienate them? Can our bodies’ tacit knowledge
be brought into play to add depth to biological strategies?” (2005:262). Crossing
the animating impact of nerve organs, fingeryeyes diffract seeing through touching;
optical groping, or tactful eyes, haptically and visually orient the sensual body
across mediums." 

584: "By materiality, I mean as Marshall McLuhan put it, that “the medium
is the message,” such that matter is not only a dynamic becoming (Barad 2003)
but is also a transmedium mediation—a mediation through which surfaces are
not produced as refrains, but as lenses. Passing through creates remainders of
filterings that result in texture. Boundaries remain refracted interfaces of passage,
prepositional orientations. Texture is the unmetabolizable more of animate forces
moving across bodies and objects."

Hayward refers to Stefan Helmreich's work on reefs: one such essay is now located here: 


Kier 2010:
"I contend that everybody on the planet is now encompassed within the category of transgender. I illustrate this proposition tracing some of the not-so-visible links of how this shared rearrangement of sex and re/production is unfolding. I also explain how we might be better off responding to this rearrangement not through fear of the eco-catastrophic assumptions transsex invokes, but through embracing our shared interdependent transsex, a term that I will define in detail later in the essay. For now, shared interdependent transsex is about queering ideas of re/production referring to dynamic ecosystemic relations of multiple “bodies,” energies, and things—animals, humans, lakes, plants, uranium, etc—which compose broader economic re/productive relations and energies of the bioscape.[i]  Shared interdependent transsex refers to “bodies” as constant process, relations, adaptations, and metabolisms, engaged in varying degrees of re/productive and economic relations with multiple other “bodies,” substances, and things, in which no normal concept of re/production based on our common categories of sex, gender, and sexuality exists. It is a phrase questioning human-centered understandings of re/production, family, species and kind that align with developments of agriculture, capitalism and the rise of the corporate (trans)national state as a governing apparatus that increasingly manages the basic elements necessary for human and animal life; e.g., water, food, shelter, meaningful work, pleasure, and a re/productive landscape and/or waterscape The perpetual transformations and adaptations that transsex constantly engages in order to re/produce is what “bodies” have in common. Commonality does not mean sameness and crosses populations, species, and things of incalculable differences.

"[i] I use the term bioscape instead of biosphere for a few different reasons. The term biosphere conjures assumptions of life contained within a round objectified planet earth.  Bioscape here refers to both life and energies in relation to an imperfect spherical earth, but also its relations to multiple other possible planes, elements, assemblages, and processes. These various scapes may or may not be considered “alive” by conventional human standards, but all contain energy in some form and/or relation and from or for some time. Commercial and military jetscapes, oilscapes, foodscapes, microwavescapes, surveillancescapes, mountainscapes, sunscapes, and waterscapes, are a few examples of various systemic energy infrastructures. Bioscapes is a terminology tactic to unpack various processes, components, and “bodies” within, among and beyond the biosphere."

Despret 2004: 130-131:
"...when Lorenz talks about goose's love as very similar to humans love, we are not going to claim that his goose is anthropomorphous, nor that humans are 'goosomorphous.' In some sense, Lorenz, producing a goose body, may be said to be 'goosomorphous.' It is because he could love in a goose's world, because he could produce an affected body... that he could compare its love to our own (which allows him to suggest that it is precisely in their manner of falling love that many birds and mammals behave like humans). Of course, in some sense we could say that Lorenz talking about goose's love is anthropomorphic. He uses human words, but this anthropomorphism is something more than a simple attribution: as long as his body is producing and being produced by a new identity, this experience is a new way of being human, which adds new identities. Therefore, being anthropomorphic means here to add new definitions to what it is to be a human being. Lorenz adds new meanings to love, and new identities that provide these new meanings. This practice of domestication is, once more, an anthropo-zoo-genetic practice. //

"This is a new articulation of 'withness,' an underdetermined articulation of 'being with' that makes us suggest that, finally, when Lorenz talks of love, he does not articular human words. The opposite: Lorenz is articulated by the setting he created. The setting is articulating new ways of talking, new ways of being human with non-human, human with goose, goose with human....

"Lorenz not only arouses a subject from the point of view his body is constructing, but he is himself activated by the one he gave existence to. He is activated as a subject both creating and created by passions. What passion means.... It means to care....

"To 'de-passion' knowledge does not give us a more objective world, it just gives us a world 'without us'; and therefore, without 'them' -- long as this world appears as a world 'we don't care for,' it also becomes an impoverished world, a world of minds without bodies, of bodies without minds, bodies without hearts, expectations, interests, a world of enthusiastic automata observing strange and mute creatures; in other words, a poorly articulated (and poorly articulating) world." 


Long Marine Lab pictures from Anya:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I am giving thanks for my own teachers and teachings this week. I received on email this website and I share it with you.

This national holiday called Thanksgiving is layered with histories that are full of suffering as well as the hopes of harvest and the coming together of people.

Haraway talks about "staying with the trouble" and that is an opening to caring and to social justice.

See what you think. Click the picture of the website to go to the link.

My very best wishes to you all! Katie

Saturday, November 13, 2010

mapping disciplinary trajectories

Tuesday, 16 November – mapping disciplinary trajectories
• Hekman, Material: Intro & Chaps 1, 2 (finish book)
• Clarke, Situated: Prologue & Chaps 1, 2 (xxi-81) & “Mapping Historical Discourses” (261-291) (xerox)
• Star, “Knowledge weaving” (emailed): actually read the whole thing:
Bauchspies, W. K., & Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2009). “Feminist science and technology studies: A patchwork of moving subjectivities. An interview with Geoffrey Bowker, Sandra Harding, Anne Marie Mol, Susan Leigh Star and Banu Subramaniam.” Subjectivity (2009) 28, 334–344. [We don't have subscription at UMD.]
• (optional): my website for Oxford talk:  

Situate, contrast and assemble the sorts of methods in display and use among these authors and their respective communities of practice and interest. Why mapping? Consider possible mappings across and with some of the materials we have worked with and worked out so far.

Tuesday, 23 November – THANKSGIVING BREAK
• (optional): read Haraway, Companion Species Manifesto  

• (optional): investigate Bruno Latour's website. I recommend Article 77: How to talk about the body  

• links for fun of various sorts:
= from Bryan: Cross-Species Dining from Edible Geography
= Polypolis
• another book recommended as possibly under this large umbrella of feminist innovative understandings of materiality:  Agency and Embodiment by Carrie Noland

Of Clarke's book: remember our class interest here is not in evangelizing or prescribing any methods described and articulated here, but rather to put this approach to qualitative analysis into conversation with other "materialist" approaches we have been examining under some very capacious notion of "new material feminisms." And without prescribing the "new" either -- but rather analyzing it too, as we gets hints about how to do in Weston, for example. What needs do Clarke's claims or mappings work to fulfill? 

xxiii: "It enhances our capacities to do incisive studies of differences of perspective, of highly complex situations of action and positionality, of the heterogeneous discourses in which we are all constantly awash, and of the situated knowledges of life itself thereby produced. What I am ultimately grappling toward are approaches that can simultaneously address voice and discourse, texts and the 
 consequential materialities and symbolisms of the nonhuman, the dynamics of historical change, and, last but far from least, power in both its more solid and fluid forms. The outcomes of situational analysis should be 'thick analysis' (Fosket 2002:40), paralleling Geertz' (1973) 'thick descriptions.' Thick analyses take explicitly into account the full array of elements in the situation and explicate their interrelations.... the grounded theory method can be viewed as a theory/methods package."

xxiii: "Postmodernism is 'the as yet unnamable which begins to proclaim itself.'    -- Derrida (quoted by Lather 1991:160)"

how might we shift assumptions about "post" and posting by taking this definition seriously? what does it do to words like "new"? how does it work WITH Weston's generational analyses around the figure of the old butch at the bar? [Wikipedia on postpositivism

xxxv: [accommodating] "nonhuman objects (technologies, animals, discourses, historical documents, visual representations, etc.). Such material entities in our situations of concern deserve more explicit and intentional inclusion in our research and analyses. Just as 'nature' and 'society' are not separate but 'make each other up' -- are coconstitutive -- so too do humans and nonhuman objects (e.g., Haraway 1989, 2003; Latour 1987; McCarthy 1984; Mead 1934/1962). The semiotics of materiality matter and materiality is relational (Law 1999: 4). Any method that ignores the materialities of human existence is inadequate, especially today as humans and various technosciences are together transforming the planet from the inside out (e.g., Clarke, Shim, Mamo, Fosket, & Fishman 2003)."

xxxviii: "...assert the sufficiency of sensitizing concepts and analytics for a fresh approach to grounded theorizing rather than the development of high modernist formal theory." 
3-4: [searching] "for a method that could travel across some of the usual divides of the academy without violating // core disciplinary and/or social science/humanities concerns." 
4: the coconstitution of ontology, epistemology, and practice = theory/methods packages

From Latour, Body:  "Equipped with such a 'patho-logical' definition of the body, one is not obliged to define an essence, a substance (what the body is by nature), but rather, I will argue, an interface that becomes more and more describable when it learns to be affected by many more elements. The body is thus not a provisional residence of something superior —an immortal soul, the universal, or thought— but what leaves a dynamic trajectory by which we learn to register and become sensitive to what the world is made of. Such is the great virtue of this definition : there is no sense in defining the body directly, but only in rendering the body sensitive to what these other elements are. By focusing on the body, one is immediately —or rather, mediately— directed to what the body has become aware of. This is my way of interpreting James' sentence : 'Our body itself is the palmary instance of the ambiguous' (James, 1996 [1907])."

37: quoting Lather (1999:137): "Moving across levels of the particular and the abstract, trying to avoid a transcendent purchase on the object of study, we set ourselves up for necessary failure in order to learn how to find our way into postfoundational possibilities."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Feminist Pasts -- pastpresents?

Tuesday, 9 November – narrating the second wave’s relationships to race, scenes from DC
• Valk, Radical: Intro, Conclusion, & pick 3 more chapters as you like

Make a point of visiting some of the sites of events and circumstances described in Valk’s book. What conflicts today are addressed in this narration of a particular feminist past? Who is likely to care about it and for what reasons? What interventions does this book intend? What about the unintended? Why do we need a “more nuanced take on the era”?


View Radical Sisters in a larger map

Click the Radical Sisters link above and you will see the pins for various locations as we add them. Furies Houses is the first one I've set up.

The pins mark sites as best as I can see them on Valk's own map. I'm not sure of exact addresses or of discrepant information. For example, the Wikipedia says one Furies house was in SW. So add or alter as you think works.

I tried to add Wikipedia sites to the map itself, but it requires layering and is beyond my first attempts at least....

Some resources for analysis:
• The Wikipedia & Google timeline on "mass movement"
• The Wikipedia on "vanguardism
Portal:Feminism on the Wikipedia

For those who only see post-gentrification Dupont Circle, it is hard to convey the sort of neighborhood it was in the 60s and 70s. Much of it run down, inhabited by a more heterogeneous community, a center for alternative organizations and politics.... I haven't been able to find good pictures to convey a sense of the community then.... (I was a high school student at Wakefield High School in Arlington in the late sixties, and traveled by bus to Dupont Circle then.) The U Street Corridor -- at one time a center of Black intellectual and cultural life in DC -- had been virtually destroyed after rioting and martial law in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination.


4-5: "...the history of second-wave feminism should be understood within the context of the parallel, occasionally overlapping, and often contentious movements that arose at the same time. ...previous studies typically have treated the histories of these movements separately. As a result, much of this scholarship has obscured the continuous and fruitful interactions that occurred even when each movement declared its independence form the others. ... such scholarship often perpetuates a declension narrative that correlates the birth of feminism with the dissolution of other left movements and stresses the decline of radical feminism in the mid-1970s, as the push for commonality gave way to cultural feminism. Many recent studies, however, have forcused on African American women's activism for racial and sexual liberation, thereby challenging the view that feminism was exclusively a white women's movement; yet even this scholarship treats black and white women's activities as largely separate and generally antagonistic. //...As they coordinated political campaigns within the same city at the same time, participants in movements for racial liberation, women's liberation, and welfare rights sometimes found little reason to ally across movement lines. But even when they conceived their movements as separate, activists borrowed, adapted, reconfigured, and disseminated ideas about political change and women's roles to suit the ideological and strategic needs of their organizations and movements. Through direct interaction and indirect exchange, these activists both created a distinct, multidimensional women's movement and advocated women's concerns within other protest struggles."

184-6: implications for understanding social movements: 
1) "the complexity and fluidity of political campaigns and the extent to which such campaigns, and the activists involved in them, resist easy categorization. Nkenge Toure, Charlotte Bunch, Mary Treadwell, and Etta Horn exemplify women whose contributions to Washington's social change movements extended beyond the boundaries of single organizations. Seeing the connectedness of struggles for sexual, racial, and economic liberation, such women involved themselves in multiple campaigns and organizations."
2) "complicate ideas about identity politics. Because efforts to solve problems, more than rigid adherence to theory, drove much activity within Washington, women activists created coalitions and alliances even as they participated in identity-based move-//ments. Alliances depended on willingness to form partnerships with individuals and groups outside their own circles and on their ability to construct shared agendas and goals that superseded differences in identity, theory, and tactics.... cooperative activity indicates that identity politics did not necessarily or exclusively foster separatism but, rather, that activists sometimes advocated separatism even as they practiced it in a fluid manner."
3) "demonstrates radical feminism's fluidity and ability to encompass dissent. Significantly, as political campaigns and groups converged, they changed course. ...coalitions often served as points at which activists clarified their ideologies and identities, defined on the basis of the differences that distinguished them from their partners in alliances rather than on the // basis of common ground."

Something else of interest I hope:

Nancy Whittier shifting the idea of "feminist generations."

By Nancy Whittier
Published by Temple University Press, 1995

"The radical feminist movement has undergone significant transformation over the past four decades-from the direct action of the 1960s and 1970s to the backlash against feminism in the 1980s and 1990s... contemporary radical feminism is very much alive. It is sustained through protests, direct action, feminist bookstores, rape crisis centers, and cultural activities like music festivals and writers workshops, which Whittier argues are integral-and political-aspects of the movement's survival. Her analysis includes discussions of a variety of both liberal and radical organizations...."

The usual ways of thinking about generations including feminist ones:

• As mother-daughter relationships; as student-teacher relationships:
These are two common models of generational difference used by feminists; they depict generational differences in pairs, as pedagogical or educational and thus as age specific, one proceeding to another while also mutually exclusive. Any power differences appear relatively benign and "familial", generational control is imagined as parental, pedagogical and inevitable.

• Waves as historical periods:
First Wave feminism: 19thc and early 20thc feminisms as named by 1970s feminists
Second Wave feminism: feminisms of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Third Wave feminism: feminisms of the 1990s and perhaps after.
• The Third Wave from 1963-1973:
Third Wave Agenda's 1997 model is age-stratified, defining the Third Wave as feminists born between 1963-1973.
This model builds upon but alters slightly the popular notion of feminist histories in "waves" or distinct historical periods by focusing on when activists are born rather than mixed aged collectivities.

• Entry into activism: Whittier's 1995 model with micro-cohorts:
Whittier's model challenges age-groupings or life-stage as definitions of generations, rather generations are defined as collectives who become first politically active at the same time, yet don't necessarily agree among themselves, and diverge in micro-cohorts. Two large generations: the Second Wave and the Third Wave.

The availability of public and collective resources for social change is pivotal to the experiences of these cohorts.

Second Wave micro-cohorts:
=initiators (1969-1971)
=founders (1972-1973)
=joiners (1974-1978)
=sustainers (1979-1984)

Third Wave micro-cohorts (don't have names just descriptions): (AKA post feminist); understood by Whittier to redefine meanings of "feminism" by conflict with Second Wave building new collective identities (mid 1980s and later):

= micro-cohort 1: reluctant to use term "feminist" because of media associations and initial belief that feminism had completed its political tasks; rethinks these assumptions over next ten years and becomes outspoken and pro-feminist

= micro-cohort 2: establishes earlier continuity with Second Wave & esp. with radical forms, disruptive social and cultural action.

Katie's essay on web for further reading: Theorizing Structures in Women's Studies
section on Whittier's generations


Monday, November 1, 2010

Roundtables are professional practice, not informal but can be innovative

The roundtables are intended to be fairly "professional." So think ahead of time how you would do whatever you intend to do in a professional situation. They aren't classroom informal -- but they can be professional in ways that are intended to seriously move what counts as professional in smart, savvy ways

Sunday, October 31, 2010

making, sharing, considering the use of new knowledge

Tuesday, 2 November – Roundtables

Today we will participate in two roundtable events. You should have sent a 10-12 pg paper to Anya by Sunday 5 pm. Everyone should have read all the papers by class time Tuesday. We will draw straws to determine which roundtable you will be part of, either first or second half of class. Each author will present a 5 min version of their work, with a handout or with a very short presentation media display in turn, and then everyone will contribute to lively discussion.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

defamiliarizing frameworks of connection

From Conference:


 Tuesday, 26 October –
Povinelli, Empire (whole book) [pic with others at Queer Bonds conf. 2009; former editor Public Culture; Wikipedia entry; Public Planet Books]

What are “Empires of Love?” How are each of the sections of the book about these? What is rotten in “Rotten Worlds?” How can radical fairies in the US belong in a book together with folks from Oenpelli, Australia? How can you connect this analysis with Tsing’s Friction around the frameworks of colonial societies? And what is Public Plant Books? What sort of political and intellectual project is it?

[see Ron Eglash's work for a different, STS-type, approach to a range of issues that might overlap -- note his work on knowledge worlds, ethnosciences, and self-organization or the work of Eben Kirksey on multi-species ethnography, for example at:]


"what I have been calling the autological subject (discourses, practices, and fantasies about self-making, self-sovereignty, and the value of individual freedom associated with the Enlightenment project of contractual constitutional democracies). ...persons attempting to make sex a minor form of spitting, or for whom sex is disseminated in some other way, are already apprehended by the nightmare of the liberal autological subject—what I have been calling the nightmare of the genealogical society (discourses, practices, and fantasies about various social constraints and psychic assaults on the autological subject by various kinds of inheritances). ¶ The question I am left with is how to create the conditions in which multiple forms of the body and communities thrive, not merely multiple forms of sexuality. This question understands ethics to be already entwined in power and its political formations, and it understands sexuality as no more or less central a corporeal, moral, or ethical position than any other practice of embodied communities."

17: "If you want to locate the hegemonic home of liberal logics and aspirations, look to love in settler colonies."
18: "the referent of liberal settler colonies is much wider than nation-states literally founded on the basis of colonial settlement, encompassing what I sometimes describe as the liberal diaspora -- an origin-less or origin-obscuring process of transformation in circulation that retroactively constitutes its beginning and center."

18: "Empire created and circulated poverty, trauma, and death globally, while claiming to create and foster wealth, happiness, and life, and it claimed a universal origin and end even as it was partial about its values and goals.... the more life-worlds and languages that liberal institutions and discourses absorbed, the more the tensions and contradictions between its ideal image and its actual practice increased, while suspicion grew that liberalism was an incoherent, ideology-driven system of exploitation."

45-6: "Maximally embodied social relations -- what I sometimes think of as thick life -- make physically and psychologically healthy persons. Because these discussions [as about sorrow] occur within the present-time of the settler colony, they also are always about the difference between the emphases that settler and indigenous people place on social relations and the self. At Belyuen this emphasis is sometimes put in terms of 'clean skin' (skin without sores, lice, scabies, or scars). To be within a socially thick world is to expose the skin to its play and its care.... // here at Belyuen, my flesh is always already stretched across multiple possible material anchors. In perhaps their most damning social analysis of settler societies, indigenous men and women from the northwest coast observe how comfortable white people are living alone, how they seem satisfied by the thinnest embrace of the conjugal couple, how they would rather be alone (gamaparrking) than have one little louse."

73: "being bound to my friends and family along the coast means that I can neither be with them nor with myself easily. I can tell my date that I am likely to continue to get these sores because I am likely to continue to return year after year to people whom I have known longer and more intimately than many in my biological family. But I also return there on the condition that I leave some aspects of my sexuality behind. ¶ As a result, the deeply personal relation has made me personally implausible, my political allegiances ackward. If I locate myself within a world of stranger sociality and the sexuality it entails, then I have separated myself because at this point who I am is unimaginable outside these twenty-one years of being in this family.... We are all vulnerable, but not equally so."

77-9: Ghoul heath: "one of the oldest tricks of the capitalist organization of global medicine." [It] refers to the global organization of the biomedical establishment, and its imaginary, around the idea that the big scary bug, the new plague, is the real threat that haunts the contemporary global division, distribution, and circulation of health.... plays on the real fear that the material distribution of life and death arising from the structural impoverishment of post-colonial and settler colonial worlds may have accidentally or purposefully brewed an unstoppable bio-virulence from the bad faith of liberal capital and its multiple geophysical tac //tics and partners. // ...The withdrawal of capital from regions after the severe extraction of resources and the resulting pollution of the environment.... The encouragement of a region to enter capitalist development quickly, bypassing the economic 'drag' of social services...."

Staph skin infections and MIRSA

155-6: "Cast outside genealogy by critical publics and juridical rulings, faeries fall back, or are pushed, into the disciplines of freedom -- but a severely qualified freedom. Read under the sign of 'homosexual,' radical faeries are barely equal citizens under the law. Understood as a religion, they straddle precariously the divide between the autological subject and the genealogical society. Radical faeries seem to be free, but they are then refused their freedom and refused a proper 'culture' in any deep (i.e., historical) or robust (socially governed) sense. Indigenous people face the opposite side of this discursive dynamic. They may be seen to have culture in the robustly genealogical sense -- biologically, socially, and culturally descendent -- but they're not 'free.' Lacking freedom, they teeter on the rim of humanity. It is not a surprise, then, that media and legal discussions revolve around how far their toes can dip into actual life before they lose whatever social, political, or economic compensations refus- // ing actual life might provide them. Nor is it a surprise that media and legal discussions of progressive alternative social groups revolve around the ethics and legality of appropriating other cultures, given the insistence these alternative groups be culturally stillborn and indigenous groups be culturally frozen."

157-8: "The play of sexuality among the radical faeries would seem to exemplify what Foucault had in mind when he reflected on practices of freedom as practices of critical transgression. One of his favorite rallying cries, 'Develop your legitimate strangeness,' could, after all, have been the banner of various queer hippie communes in the Bay Area during the 1970s.... // How do we invest actualities that operate just outside vision with the power to change dominant bio-epistemologies? For Foucault, the answer lay in cultivating practices of freedom that orient the subject to restless experimentation with the givenness of life, with how life might be otherwise than it is...."

autological self  

169: "If we treat sexuality and race as if they were the gourd and shells sitting on my desk, the problem becomes quite clear. What is and is not 'something' can be a matter of serious dispute, animating heated debates not only about the social status of a thing (a kind of person, object, mood), but also about what should be the evidential grounds for assessing competing claims about the status of a thing (an act, identity, heritage). But these decisions about who and what are an instance of one thing rather than another are also the covert presuppositions that allow us to go about our daily routines without much thought."

171-2: "many people within counter-publics, unregulated public spheres, and minority and subaltern groups neither // engage nor ignore the call to thematize/translate their practices and beliefs for a normative public; they neither ignore the integrating function of stipulating thematizations nor do they engage them in the sense of translating their life-worlds for others. Instead of the dialectics of recognition and translation, we are witnessing the emergence of a practice of espionage and transfiguration and of an orientation to the re-elaboration of the self rather than self-identity. In these social fields, the point well may be to reshape habitudes ahead of recognition, to test something out rather than translate it, not to produce meanings that can be translated, or embodiments that can be recognized."

174: "Experiments in sociality such as those engaged in by radical faeries are not, however, always as picturesque as the image of shaman channeling the spirit world might suggest. They are instead awkward, misfiring, malfunctioning social interactions, blurred moral lines between appropriate cultural borrowings and insensitive appropriations, all of which are sometimes, perhaps too often, deformed by accidental addictions and illnesses.... They are the struggles to build houses without money, to get care without health insurance, to speak a language of dependency when the broader political economy is increasingly oriented to the socially detached conjugal couple."

179: "Debates [about love] within and across these tables [disagreeing] arise not merely because participants cannot agree about what they are referring to when they refer to families, values, bodies, and sexualities. They also arise because people still dream of a form of equality that would hegemonize the entire social field, solving once and for all the difference of difference." "For some progressives, the point of loving is to thicken rather than thin out the social world."

182-3: "It is my contention that the phantom nature of the intimate event is a critical mechanism by which the history of the liberal present is written, liberal life constituted and distributed, liberal forms of evil apportioned and punishe, the good figured; and against which experiments in progressive mutual obligation beyond the conjugal couple and biological family are formulated. It is equally my contention that if the magical features of the intimate event are to be animated socially and // psychically, then others must be trapped in liberal intimacy's nightmare -- the genealogically determined collective."

184: "For a foundational event to bear the full weight of Enlightenment exceptionalism a set of conditions must be in play: [1] the constitution of the subject via the fantasy of self-referential enclosure; [2] the characterization of the fantastic self as the origin and basis of true freedom; [3] and the reduction of Right and Truth to this form of freedom."

184: "Foucault likewise noted that the price Europeans paid to free themselves from the external social constraints of familial, aristocratic, and religious power was to assume their own self-management and to constitute the government as its disciplinary apparatus. At this moment self-discipline emerged not only as a viable but also as a necessary practice of human freedom -- the telic and ontic truth of this man is not in his essence but in his obedience to a specific practice of self-performativity. ¶ How self-obedience came to be understood as self-autonomy and freedom is, of course, the subject of no little controversy both within and across disciplinary fields."

telic & ontic

190-1: "one of the key dimensions of the fantasy of intimate love is its stated opposition to all other forms of social determination even as it claims to produce a new form of social glue.... Because this kind of self-transformation  leans on the openness of other people to the same type of self-transformation, autological intimacy functions as a proselytizing religion. Like capital, intimacy demands an ever-expanding market.... // We literally reform the social by believing in and demanding this form of love.... for social theorists of the Western Enlightenment the power of the intimate event of self-sovereignty lay in its ability to connect the micro-practices of certain forms of love to the macro-practices of certain forms of state-governance and certain forms of capital production, circulation, and consumption -- to make a personal event a normative mission and a civilizational break. The semiotic operation of the intimate event so saturates the horizon of everyday life that it no longer seems a 'semiotic operation' but just the way people do things...."

194: "the intimate event is where I find myself and where I lose myself, where reason is subverted by desire rather than installed, where I am compelled more than compelling, where there is always more of me than I know what to do with. The very form itself absorbs me, swallows me up, and overwhelms me even as it agitates and detaches me. And the compelling fiction of the foundational event creates an anxiety as plural as it is incommensurate: Will I be isolated if this event does not strike me? ...If it does not strike me will I be left alone with social support or renewal? Will I be cast out?"

195-6: "all intimacies stretch between the actual and the possible, the long duration and the punctual, the singular and the general. What are the criteria by which we assess whether the event has happened to us or to others? How do we decide what is what -- what is love; what is lust; what is a // passing fancy?"

204: "If we are interested in the relationship between intimacy and the liberal diaspora, then we need to understand carnality as not merely a juridical and political maneuver, nor merely as a social tactic, but as a physical mattering, just as the intimate event and the genealogical so- // ciety are also physical matters, facts of carnality as well as of discourse."

213: "the tension between the contractual conjugal couple and the expansion of the genealogical grid instigated a struggle across all orders of society over these new disciplines of sexuality and kinship. The genealogical grid became a pervasive constraint at the very moment that the individual seemed to be freed from its dictates. Everyone was suddenly in real or potential danger of a dangerous liaison."

235: "Which will you have, stranger promiscuity (carnality) or intimate love? What, by contrast, might the practices of, say, an intimate promiscuity be? What new forms of freedom would be attached to such a thing? What if sexual promiscuity were seen as the best means toward an intimate end rather than what gets in the way of intimacy? Experimenting with new relationships between anonymous sex and intimate friendship would indeed upset the fabric of humanist discourse because it cut diagonally across carnality and intimacy, it refused their constitutive differences, or made use of them to increase the frisson of a sexual encounter and an intimate bed."

The Gregory Bateson Documentary 

Friday, October 15, 2010

settlements and the postmodern

Tuesday, 19 October – settlements and the postmodern
• Hekman, Material: Chap 3 (“the third settlement”)
Star 1991. “Onions” (emailed)
Clarke 2010. Obit Star (emailed)
Clarke 2005. Situated: “Doing Situational Maps” (83-144) (xerox) review

Star 1978. "Altered" (optional. emailed); Clarke et al 2003. "Biomedicalization" (optional. emailed)
• NOTE: Latour's website:  

Biopower: what is it? how indebted to Foucault? how at stake for feminist thinking? where does never been modern come from? why here “never been postmodern”? what does Hekman mean by “settlement” anyway? How do you put this stuff into play with what you already know about feminist theory? What insights might we gather from Star’s “Onions” essay about generalization, standardization, articulation, assemblage and conceptual infrastructures? What role has Star played in connecting feminist postmodernism, Latour and Foucault, and issues of methodology?


Clarke 2005: 141: "these maps are not intended as formulas for analysis, but as directions through which to begin and deepen analytic work, as sites of engagement.... The ways we are surprised by some results of our work often demonstrate overt assumptions we have had that we were blind to. ...surprise at grasping some new position or way of 'seeing' something indicates openness to unanticipated data, analyses, and difference(s) -- not stupidity for not having 'seen' it before."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Queer times?

Tuesday, 12 October – zero degrees? salience and starship gender?
Weston, Gender (whole book)

What role does space-time play in gender constructions, interventions, and deployments? What sort of critique of one’s own field does Weston model here? How is it related to the self-critiques of anthropology as a field? How does Weston operate time-claims in a queer analysis?

Interview with Kath Weston by Stephen Helmreich, 2006. Body and Society 12(3): 103-121. Notice the networks including other folks we are reading and those to whom they refer. (Thanks Oliver!)

and what counts as queer theory, or studies, or intervention? what queers it? For some of Katie's own considerations on these matters see: "Queer Transdisciplinarities." And another handout highlighting Bowker and Star tools is HERE. It is similar to the one I handed out, but has some other references too.

from the acknowledgments (x): "If obstacles are to be acknowledged as well as debts, it must be said that it is not always easy to find the means to pursue research on topics (gender!) that have shifted with intellectual fashions from the cutting edge of tomorrow to today's au courant." 

from the preface (xi): "Turn the page and step into a time machine. Destination: Gender. Gender is not a thing to be understood, or a conceptual space to be visited, but as a product of social relations imbued with time. Grab your gear and prepare for a trip to another galaxy."

(xii): "It is well known that books, like fossils, are time machines of a sort that can transport readers to another era. Words become the equivalent of a starship that slithers through a rent in spacetime to convey readers to various yesterdays, tomorrows, and occasionally even a parallel universe in which events unfold rather differently than expected.... Less recognized is a second way in which books can provide a vehicle for time travel. By supplying the analytic machinery required to understand time, they serve as devices for examining the workings of temporality. In the case at hand, presumptions about time embedded in theory and practice turn out to affect, intimately, the making of gender."

parallel realities (xiiff):

1: on the one hand: "preoccupation with ambiguity" :: "preoccupation with multiple genders" :: "street violence directed at bodies that seemed to resist classification." 
on the other: a different time period of globalization: "golden age of Arabic/Islamic science" :: implications of THAT zero in "rhythms of gender's creation, disappearance, and reemergence in the 'real time' of life under the latest of capitalism."

2: on the one hand: "visual emphasis incorporated into performativity theories of gender"
on the other:  "temporal movements associated with repetition" :: "aftermath of historic shifts in industrial production that relocated manufacturing plants overseas"

3: on the one hand: "part played by historical memory in the production of gender"
on the other: "ideologies of modernity" 

4: on the one hand: "time-sensitive versions of gender studies"
on the other: "in order to engage with the new forms of power that globalization brings."

WHAT IS AT ISSUE? (xiii): "The prospects for equality, the work to which we give our days, passion, rage, friendship, survival, resource distribution, memory's wagers.... Our theories, our relationships, and sometimes our very lives." 


1: Liberation when? (9): "Liberation denied, liberation achieved; both visions dependent upon an all-or-nothing approach to social change. Both visions dependent on vision and an unexamined allegiance to the concept of change. A certain grandiosity prevails in either case, puffed up by generous infusions of time. ¶ To dissolve a paradox is not, however, to dismiss its social effects. It is by no means an easy matter to extracate gender studies from the 'seething of words and dreams' that issues from its utopian heritage. How to generate an analytics that will, if only for a time, resist the lure of commodification? How to grasp the resources withheld from women -- and which women? -- at the self-proclaimed centers of freedom? Shifting between scraps of land claimed by different states, or simply holding hands, remains a life-threatening proposition in many of the sites where modernity's well-schooled voice proclaims that life is uniformly better." 

2: Vision just in time & spacetime. (Katie's version: how do we know social change when we see it?) (10): "At what historical moment did it become possible to imagine gender as an artifact of performance or a resource for pleasure rather than some dead weight to be thrown off? Could a time without gender in is unrecognized dimensions of the here and now, rather than some far off, future "then"?" 
(11): "emphasis on seeing and space as metaphors for overcoming oppression." (12): at "the very moment when 'eye candy' begins to describe a range of visually induced consumer pleasures."

(13-14): "Space-plus-time (space and time) is not the same theoretical apparatus as spacetime.... An additive understanding (space-plus-time) pictures time and space as two geometric planes that intersect.... The analyst brings the two together after the fact by first imagining them as separate but interdependent, then investigating the effect that one has on the other.... An integrated understanding of spacetime offers a better approach.... // There is no need to explain how they come together... because nothing stands between them.... The unified concept of spacetime puts gender back into time by calling attention to what is peculiar to the production of gender under the latest capitalism."

(15): "This excursion into physics may seem to have brought the discussion a long way from genderless utopias and social movements, but here again the length of the journey depends upon the frame."
"The social relations that make gender visible, visual, turn out to be drenched in history, time discipline, and duration... gendered bodies come up temporal."

(17): "Visibility elicits recognition, but in a racist society, it can also help define a target." 
(18): from Hennessy 1995: 31: "the visibility of sexual identity is often a matter of commodification, a process that invariably depends on the lives and labor of invisible others."

3: Surviving representation. (Think Keeling here too.) (18-19): "...when activists and theorists pit survival // against representation, treating the two as though they were mutually exclusive rather than radically intertwined.... The two cannot be lived or analyzed in isolation, because they occur in and through one another." 

(19): "a woman's survival depends upon calling people into classification." " judgments about gender lead to romance as well as lethal exchange. 

(21): "the study of queer materiality" "Within these pages other things have been queered as well, queered in the sense of rendered unexpected and strange." 

(22): "By drawing upon elements of Arabic/Islamic and Buddhist/Hindu science that provided the wherewithal for global navigation, I develop a zero concept to comprehend the fleeting moments in which gender makes its disappearance on a daily basis." (23): "time claims and the periodic zeroing out of gender in the current era of globalization."

(23) "the violence of counting" -- "cloak unjust social arrangements with an aura of the inevitable" 

some spacetimes: 

• raced, gendered, class and labored restrooms,  in the 50s, 70s, 90s, 2010, across identity-based social movements, from airports to bus terminals to universities (25ff; 27): "When a flash of gendered uncertainties prompts onlookers to do whatever they can to set a person at odds with the call of her own body, she walks through a history, not just a door."

(27-8): "Something is going on in the streets and shops of a globalizing economy, at century's beginning, at century's end, that targets ambiguities as // raced and classed as they are gendered. Something is going on in the posts and outposts of power, where gender reasserts itself with each breach of a border. Something is going on that involves more than an inability (and on the part of whom?) to let well enough alone, to let ambiguity remain ambiguity, to let your hesitation double as my knowledge, your verities locked in conflict with my relative interpretation."

What counts as "queer"? Weston's series of vignettes & (30-1): "These vignettes raise the possibility -- the inevitability -- of multiple, conflicting readings. What one reads as 'straight' another reads as gender-bending. What one understands as oppressively or scintillatingly real, another takes as parody, a third as failed attempt. Privilege, often unannounced, bolsters claims to a definitive interpretation.... When one person's femme becomes another person's butch or 'halfway middler,' the interpretive shifts involved are neither arbitrary nor random. They depend on who's viewing whom, at which historical point and in the context of what sorts of power relations.... // This very eagerness to move someone out of that moment of becoming unsexed, to arrive at a classification of femme or man or dyke, is the product of an era in which the absence of clear demarcations subjects bodies to desperate measures. Presence turns into passing, and even 'deviants' find themselves slotted into neatly tagged categories." 

Meta? (39): "In a twenty-first-century sense, zero is not just another number among numbers or a sign among signs.... zero operates as a meta-sign: both a sign about signs, and a sign for the absence of other signs. If zero is there, seven is not there; in the place where zero stands, tow and forty-seven are not. As such, zero signifies not only an absence, but also the potential for later occupation. Movement is thus implicit in the sign. ¶ Zero also keeps other numerals in their place, so to speak." 

(40): "Like zero, unsexed does not refer to something that is there -- 'a' gender -- in any ontological sense. Like zero, unsexed operates as a meta-sign, a sign about that ephemeral instant in which someone perceives an absence of gendered signification.... The zero concept of unsexed draws attention to a movement in and out of gender that occurs under very specific historical conditions, conditions that have everything to do with shifting relations of power and production that performativity theories can acknowledge, but otherwise fail to engage.... the temporalities involved far exceed the processual time of performativity."

(42-4): "The multiple genders that have insinuated their way into // monographs as analytic as well as descriptive devices are signs arrayed alongside other signs. They are not meta-signs like zero, but signs of the same order.... Without the distraction of that kind of abstraction, one might begin to suspect that the onset of scholarly fascinating with the notion of a Third Gender coincided with shifts in more generalized social processes of commodification.... Packaging gender into the calculable bundles that are genders -- even in culturally or historically relative terms -- paves the way for disciplinary practices that subject bodies to tallying and sorting. Without this kind of makeover, there are no guessing games about who is and who is not, no // medical interventions to sort 'intersexed' people (hermaphrodites) into numbered slots, no controversies over chromosome testing in international sports, no heated discussions about where to place someone when 'it' walks through the door of a bathroom or bus.... encouraging people to look once again to bodies, to the visual, as gender's ultimate referent. Bodies can be racked up, ordered, totaled in a way that the power relations involved in a moment of unsexing cannot."

(50-1): "Although anyone can become unsexed/unraced/unclassed -- undone -- at any given moment, the process is not random.... As a person becomes undone, s/he becomes a cypher.... However short-lived, the value endowed on the place that the cipher holds open is the potential for gendered signification. With it comes the potential for reflection.... the cypher represents a more general undoing of identities in which gender may have melded with class, race, age, religion, or any of the classifiers used for social sorting. Unsexing is a process too instantaneous, too ephemeral, and too complex to call only gender in and out of play.... // Whatever onlookers perceive, it is not what they expected.... Embedded within any momentary absence of expected signification is an enticement to resolution."

generations? time claims & post memory (103): "...young women on the cusp of what would soon be declared a global economy would, in their turn, use the bodies of preceding generations as a screen. By symbolically converting elders into representatives of a bygone era, they perpetuated the 'modern tradition' of treating older people as denizens of the past.... The judgments about time and change and gender hammered out in these venues incarnated historical memory, insofar as younger women understood the older women around them to exemplify the past. In the process, bodies metamorphosed into indices of what Marianne Hirsch has called postmemory, a kind of second-generation memory 'mediated not through recollection but through an imaginative investment and creation' consolidated by vigorous narratives that predate someone's birth." 

another spacetime: lesbian "community" -- marginalized/ing, involved/ing -- (110): "Narrators [self-identified lesbians of the 80s or 90s?] identified the 1970s as the period of androgyny and lesbian-feminism, then skipped ahead to the mid-1980s, when a 'new' butch/femme emerges as a option rather than an expectation. Their accounts were not nearly so nuanced as those developed by historians such as Elizabeth Kennedy and Madeline Davis, who carefully distinguish the butch/femme of the 1950s from that of the 1930s and 1940s. In the later bar stories, the 1960s becomes a lost decade, while the years before 1949 fade from history into the relatively timeless past."

(116-7): "Memories, historical or otherwise, do not move so much backward (or forward) as in- // and-out, through and around, in a process through which forgetting becomes not just the flip side of remembering, but its price." (119): "The most common models of temporality in North America are either too linear or too cyclical to explain what happens as people forget, remember, forget to remember, remember to forget, remember that they have forgotten, and devise intricately collective ways to traverse time.... The bodies of those Old Butches have opened up a wormhole of sorts, a rent in the fabric of spacetime with the potential to turn analysts of gender into time travelers, depositing us somewhere, somewhen, at another end."

(123): "...foster what cultural theorist Lauren Berlant terms 'paramnesias,' in which images 'organize consciousness, not by way of explicit propaganda, but by replacing and simplifying memories people actually have with image traces of political experience about which people can have political feelings that link them to other citizens and to patriotism.'"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

generations of material feminisms

Tuesday, 5 October – the new and the on-going in critique
Hekman, Material: Chaps 4, 5 (“the fourth settlement”)
• (xerox) & Ahmed & Davis
• explore online the reviews of Hekman’s book and of the earlier edited collection Material Feminisms.

What is at stake in the varying chronologies of innovation, disciplinary travel, constructions of multiple materialities, bodies, and the new circulating around the so-called "new materialist theorists"? Investigate the debate opened up by Sara Ahmed 2008 in the European Journal of Women’s Studies and a reply by Davis the following year 2009. What transnational issues are indirectly involved? How are feminist concerns put into conflict with each other? Why are these feminist politics “the fourth settlement”?

How does one enter a set of concerns (debates?) for the first time? It's already going on, where do YOU come in? One way is with a guide, but notice how "interested" your guide is likely to be: their version of the principle players, what is at stake, how many discourses are being collapsed together, and the histories, timelines and genealogies will be shaped by their own memberships in various communities of practice. To some extent I am your guide here, notice how interested I am! In another sense, I too am entering these concerns as a peripheral participant: much of this material is new to me, or at least new in this debating relationship. In that sense, I can model some of my own ways of approaching this set of materials as a newbie. But notice that my forms of "learning to learn" are already structured as well! 

I offer you some "meta" analysis: ways to think about the knowledge worlds involved, how to frame the timelines taken for granted, how to make visible some generational and disciplinary agencies involved, and how to trace some of the literatures -- which are held in common across the debating partners, and which are not. My own first book sets out these intentions, although many tools I share come from work I have done since then. (King, 1994, Theory in Its Feminist Travels.)

So, some ways of thinking about such thinking: I have especially found helpful the work of Susan Leigh Star and Geoff Bowker (esp. Sorting Things Out), and in turn, the methods of science studies, particularly feminist technoscience studies, for mapping who is who, where is where, what is what, and why. (See also Clarke's Situational Analysis.) Notice the irony here: the very methods I find useful for considering these concerns are some of the objects in dispute, some of the agencies shaping and being shaped here, and some of the players in the action! (For me one genealogy includes: Haraway's Primate Visions, "Situated Knowledges," Modest Witness, How Like a Leaf (with Goodeve), and When Species Meet; as well as Latour's Laboratory Life (with Woolgar), We have Never Been Modern, and "How to talk about the body.")

So, what counts as the material anyway? Wikipedia: materialism ; Dictionary Philosophy of Mind ; Feminist Theory website: Materialist Feminism .

Personally I think of materiality in terms of extent, range, connectivity and infrastructures; necessarily economic and otherwise caught up in worldly processes of many sorts. So the work of folks like Keeling, Tsing and Hayward are examples of what I personally take as also "at stake" in material feminisms and their practice. Focus doesn't come at the expense of connection. It is not narrower but actually broader. One needs a sense of range in order to bring things into focus.

the feminist settlement? (K:969) "the feminist settlement is the most comprehensive. It addresses epistemological, ontological, political, scientific, and technical issues simultaneously. It is concerned, not just with science, knowledge, or power, but with all these at once, and most importantly, with the interaction among them. More clearly than any of the other settlements it indicates the direction that further critique will take."

some terms for this? Hekman names (K:973) "the new materialism," Tuana's "interactionism" or "viscous porosity," Barad's "intra-action" and "agential realism."
what does lack of common label indicate? newness? building consensus? (K:975)

social constructionism ; realism  
movement from? epistemology to ontology ? emergenceembodiment 
representation vs. performativity vs. assemblage
onto-epistem-ology ; postepistemological ; ontological politics 

Hekman (K:1242): "some aspects of the settlement, most notably the analysis of science, are more developed than others.... glaring omission...few theorists discuss the implications of this approach for the social world."

Some players here: look up: Hekman, Alaimo, Ahmed, Davis 
Everyone claims Haraway. Why? Bridge from old to new? (K:975)
Harding, Longino, Code, Keller, Fausto-Sterling, Wylie, Hankinson-Nelson, Butler      
Searle, Latour, Rouse, Davidson, Pickering, Derrida, Bohr          
Braidotti, Grosz, Gatens, Mol, Wilson       
two Cloughs: Sharyn (cited by Hekman) and Patricia (cited by Ahmed)   

(K:1010) "it is precisely in the application of this new approach that its strength lies."
We have already seen some possible "applications" (are they part of all this?) from our readings of Haraway, Tsing, and Hayward. What connections do they make and on what terms in practice? 

=Hekman describes Tuana's "array of forces" in her analysis of Hurricane Katrina as including "the economic, the political, the ecological, the biological, the historical, and the racial." (K:1027)
=Hekman notes that Barad's analysis of the sonogram "not only reveals the multiple elements of this practice but examines their intra-action in a practice that matters on multiple levels." technological, apparatus, perception, scientific/medical, discursive, political. (K: 1113) 

• Hekman quotes Barad's "entanglements": "to lack an independent, self-contained existence... individuals emerge through and as a part of their entangled intra-relating." (K:1043)
• Hekman declares Barad's goal is "giving an account of materiality as an active and productive factor in its own right" which "is essential to the future of feminism." (K:1051)
• Hekman sees "For Barad, Bohr's agential realism has the advantage of bringing matter back in, and specifically matter as agential, without denying the role of theory in the constitution of what will become 'reality.'" (K:1055)
• Hekman positions Barad critiquing Butler's "how discourse comes to matter" to Barad's own "how matter comes to matter." (K:1095)

(K: 1124): "the 'fetus' that the scientist sees through the sonogram, the objective object of the scientific gaze, is the 'fetus' that the law has defined as a free-floating subject.... We cannot 'see' the fetus in the sonogram without 'seeing' it as an autonomous subject under the law." The fetus is a "phenomenon constituted and reconstituted out of historically and culturally situated intra-actions of material-discursive apparatus of bodily production." Hekman quotes Rouse saying that Barad does all this "without reducing or subordinating scientific knowledge to predetermined structures of power." (K:1131)

Barad 2007: 361: "scientific practices do not reveal what is already there; rather, what is 'disclosed' is the effect of the intra-active engagements of our participation within and as a part of the world's differential becoming." (K:1138)
Barad 2007: 390: "We are responsible for the world of which we are a part, not because it is an arbitrary construction of our choosing but because reality is sedimented out of particular practices that we have a rold in shaping and through which we are shaped." (K:1141)

Compare Hekman's understanding of the work of Elizabeth Grosz to Ahmed's understanding of it, with attention to what is at stake for each of them in invoking or critiquing it.

Ahmed 2008: 26: "One must wonder who is being evoked by this ‘we’, and to what extent this ‘we’ functions to interpellate the reader into a community that shares a common horizon (Have you forgotten where we have come from? Have I?). If you inhabit the ‘we’ of feminism, then you become implicated in this ‘we’ by virtue of your inhabitance. After all, this text is very much addressed to feminists and others who share feminist interests, suggesting that feminists, and ‘all theorists interested in the relations between subjectivity, politics, and culture, need to have a more nuanced, intricate account of the body’s immersion and participation in the world, if they are to develop political strategies to transform the existing social regulation of bodies’ (Grosz, 2004a: 2)."

Hekman 2010: K: 1212: Grosz understands Darwin to mean that "'culture produces the nature it needs to justify itself, but nature is also that which resists by opening according to its own logic and procedures' (2004:72)." (K: 1213): "She wants feminism to embrace what she calls 'a politics of affirmation of difference' (2004:72). Central to that goal is a reconfiguration of nature as dynamic, of matter as culturally productive.... (K: 1220): "She asserts that it is the resistance of the world to human wishes, its capacity to make us want, that makes us produce and invent (2005:128)."

Hird on "new materialism" as in 2004 Feminist Theory and/of Science,
special issue journal Feminist Theory: 2: "a momentous shift in the natural sciences in the past few decades to suggest an openness and play within the living and non-living world, contesting previous paradigms which posited a changeable culture against a stable and inert nature."

Do feminist approaches to animal studies fit in here too? Consider this upcoming conference at Wesleyan: sex/gender/species: "The growing field of animal studies has turned critical attention to the real conditions and stakes of human-animal relations. It has also become a new and important focus for debates over identity and difference that have embroiled academic theory over the past quarter century. Recent scholarship on animal otherness as well as discussions of how to traverse boundaries of difference often draws upon a history of feminist theory and practice even as this borrowing remains unacknowledged. The purpose of this conference is to foreground the relations between feminist and animal studies and to examine the real and theoretical problems that are central to both fields of inquiry."

Conferences, special issues of journals and collections of scholarly articles such as Material Feminisms can be thought of as intellectual/political projects that involve relative ranges of collaboration and the instantiation or creation of communities of practice.

some considerations for discussion of conversations as units of political agency in action in theoretical discourse (the contention in my first book): 

• how to work with differences between complex intentions and analysis in works and authors understood at a fine grain of analysis and the ways these become mobilized in shorthand bits traveling, used in translations across knowledge worlds, appropriated for (overly?) clear pedagogical purposes and so on in more general terms without the same investments in precision and technical specificity?

• how to think about differences between what a text/author says complexly and how the text/author is used as an object in political debate and in the production of generational and other interests over time, in the construction of time frames, histories, genealogies?

• how to account for disciplinary and other differences in what counts as an argument, what counts as evidence, and what counts as good intellectual/political/technical practice?

• how to take into account the affects that manage knowledge worlds, their boundaries, memberships, trajectories of naturalization, peripheral participation, and urgencies of action?

• how to consider generously that naming a problematic clearly and courageously at one moment in time may later on appear inadequate to address that problematic, later on when the messy, difficult work of even perceiving these problematics has become taken for granted, and the urgencies of action are felt with renewed frustration and concern.

• how to describe the absorption into infrastructures of thinking and institutionalization that belie textual and authorial intentions, with effects that are distinct from texts and authors?

• how to account for divergent experiences of communities of practice with materials, discourses, objects and institutionalizations such that they generalize very differently as their horizon of experience is materially distinct?

All these make it only too easy for those "in debate" to talk right past each other, to actually have experienced their work and others in ways that are directly counter to those of the folks they debate with, to set up the terms of their concerns in ways that are hidden to themselves as deeply held and unquestioned assumptions that also anchor their reputation and expertise. Are these so divergent that real engagements are impossible? Far from it. Some of these divergences are actually in themselves productive: they may be misunderstandings but they may also create and build new ways of thinking and interaction anyway. Or they may result in effects that reinforce boundaries between communities of practice. Or they may create affects that enable or disable difficult negotiations with and among identity groups, institutional agents, intellectual generations, or disciplinary and transdisciplinary meanings.