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