“The Intern Hours” Exam Three: Race and Post-Colonialism

“The Intern Hours”

Starring: Foucault (F as the mediator), Deleuze (D), Spivak (S), Fanon (FN) and the intern; Glen/You

 

It was cold, and the most at your hands. Why couldn’t you simply put them in your pockets? You were holding a coffee tray as you made your way down the Columbia University pavements and up to the library. It was rare for Dr. Spivak to have guests andeven more for her to treat them. Anyhow, you walked up the stairs to one of the older study rooms the she always used. Just before you knocked: “Don’t bother knocking, just walk in Glen.” Sometimes you honestly wondered if she could read your mind or if she was aware of all your behaviors…. You pushed through the door and at the table sat Fanon, Foucault and Deleuze. You were in shock, normally this would’ve been an honorable moment but you were caught off guard and probably looked like a deer caught in headlights…. Dr. Spivak stood by the windows stirring her tea as you put the tray on the table. The room seemed tense so you tried to get out of there as soon as possible but just as you were about to turn around, you heard “Glen, I need you to scribe.”

Immediately I wondered what was going on and why they were being so awkward… and wait…why did I buy four coffees?!?

“The fourth one is for you.” she said as she placed the last cup next to my laptop… psychic.

And then they started their discussion.

 

F: What is the role of the intellectual? How can we describe it?

D: Well, aren’t we intellectuals? We who can gain power through the knowledge we acquire.

FN: Then what? are you saying that the intellectual needs to be represented?

D: No no. The intellectual is no longer representing anything but knowledge. A theorising intellectual, for us, is no longer a subject, a representing or representative consciousness. ( p1)

S: But in your conversation, you create this “othering” if I may…you don’t clarify what this representative consciousness is. For example, when claims like “we’re saving the brown woman from the brown man” surface, what is done? A state of those with power v. those that are helpless is created. Here the white man acts as the savior and the brown man becomes the villain. The brown woman is left unheard and in multiple ways left helpless even with the “help.” Why isn’t their ideology given a thought? You gave an example of prisons being a pure state of power, however how are these imprisoned countries any different?

FN: Its called colonization. It isn’t just the east, my homeland has also suffered the results of western ideologies. Our own culture is somehow not good enough, and we must try to become how the French are, how they speak and even who they marry.

D: Gayatri, you are nitpicking a conversation, and thats fine. But you and Fanon speak of epistemological violence that should create struggle. Shouldn’t the repressed fight against this sort of thing? Isn’t that the point? Granted they shouldn’t have to go through colonization, but even then wouldn’t they struggle and fight for their own ideologies? The intention is not to re-present nor represent them. Make some trouble, cause some chaos, win over repression.

At this point, you couldn’t keep up with their conversations pace. But of course Dr. Spivak being the psychic she is already knows.

S: Alright I think we’ve gotten far enough today.. Glen..drink your coffee, its getting cold and  we’ve got to grade papers.

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Grosz Reading Response/ End of the year reflection.

Instead of responding to Grosz’s article on “Matter, Life and Other Variation”, I decided to do a reflection regarding the end of the semester, which Professor Nadler did give permission. I am glad to have Nadler has our current social theory professor because of which I was able to learn about many different in short span of time. I know it was hard for the whole class to adjust to a totally different teaching style compared to professor Trichur, but everything worked out in the end. If I were to purse a higher education in  the sociology field, then this class would have helped greatly. Also I can apply some of these theorist to my other classes this semester to which I say I learned a great deal. Another great thing about this class is the blogging in which can be applied as a useful tool  toward the job market. I am happy to say that I am satisfied with my group members and how everybody toward the end did their fair share of work. I hope that everybody enjoyed and learned as much as I did and can applied these skills to everyday usage. Maybe everyone can add onto this post by saying what they liked the most about this class.For me it was the learning about Fanon.

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Exam Number Four

Hey everybody (I was going to say “hey guys” but thought being gender neutral would be more appropriate) here is what I wrote for the last exam, hope you find find it helpful/interesting.

 

Post-Structuralist Understanding of Difference

            I first wish to express my gratitude toward both of you for speaking at this conference. Both of you give profound insight toward reworking the predominant theories of gender and how it relates to identity formation. Judith your revolutionary idea that gender is a performance that constitutes the illusion of a fixed sexual identity rather than an expression of one’s actual essence had a major effect on me and caused me to completely rethink many of the aspects of my “identity,” or perhaps to refrain from using such a potentially problematic/loaded word as that (as Puar just enlightened us to the pitfalls of this) you made me view myself in a different light and freed me from the shackles of the far too easily accepted concept of a natural binary between “men” and “women.”

And Jasbir you only continued this process, though your astute critique on intersectionality, or at least the way intersectionality has commonly manifested itself in the majority of Gender Studies. You showed me that this theory often finds itself relying on this foundational belief of sexual difference, the very same one Butler was trying to subvert, as the platform from which all other variables (class, race, etc.) extend. You also show how intersectionality reinforces many of the “othering” processes it is trying to subvert, explaining identities through the lens of difference, which almost always refers to difference from “white women” (as if that is even a fixed identity)

You both clearly possess the intellect to and passion for subverting widely accepted beliefs/theories on gender and difference though you have done so in unique ways. Butler you seem to be more concerned with representation and signification, while Puar you take a more ontological approach, questioning the premise that nothing exists outside of ideology/signification, however both of you seem to want to prove over anything else that these concepts of gender, race, and identity are not fixed but free floating and subject to change depending on time, place, or expression (Puar you use the concept of assemblage to do this).

I do have some questions as to how you differ, which I could try to figure out in my own head, but I would like to hear it in your own words as I could be wrong (the more I analyze your respective works the more similar they seem in intent). Puar, you claim that people cannot necessarily be broken down into “identity formations” and I want to know how you feel this relates to Butler’s theory – is it in opposition or is it in many ways similar? And Judith, I wish for you to comment on this assertion and elaborate on it if possible. I would also like you (Butler) to respond to and discuss the concept of assemblage and its political possibilities and hear your thoughts on the shift toward a more ontological view (from that of representation) in the realm of gender relations, explaining the possible positives and negatives that could result from this shift in focus. Do you feel like there are aspects of gender/race relations that fall outside of signification and why or why not?

 

 

 

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Exam – Role of an intellectual

Today is 10/18/12 and i have just come back from visiting extended family members, who questioned me on why do i want to be an intellectual? My response to them was intellectual contribute differently to production and development of social good such as speech, books, and painting. They are knowledgeable expert who possess the ability to think and act critically. The role of an intellectual is to produce theories which benefit society. To ask questions of what is and express desire to change negative issues to positive ones. Intellectual challenge social practice thereby thinking “outside the box”

Now fellow bloggers, you ask how can one become an intellectual .Well, you can start by looking through different perspectives instead of allowing society to hold power over you. Notice how the rich hold the power while poor suffer under them. The only way to change the present social structure is for the poor to take power. But what is power? Power has no physical property rather a word invented to legalized and uphold certain privileged classes. Nobody can posses power but what we can do is question our action and behavior.

Deleuze and Foucault believe  how we live in vertical structure of power but must switch to horizontal structure of power so that everyone can achieve equal footing. intellectual have power to change and resist social rule. That by producing new theories you challenge older theories which help society come into perspective.

My fellow bloggers, to enlighten you, i suggest you read “Body of organs” credit to Deleuze where he states each individual possess pre- individual and post individual that co-exist. We exist through “individual expression” while our self already exist. Everything already predestined by society from time your born to where your now. But deleuze says we must all return to a state before ideology.We are but organism subjected through organized cultural and social institution. Take that all out and you only be left with”body of organs”. The idea is to get in-touch with true self and look through a different perspective, so to become more enlightened. To become enlightened is to become an intellectual which is to have the power to change social norms and only few individual can possess it.

 

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First exam on role of an intellectual

This is my first exam about the role of an intellectual. 

Dear Dad, 

        I Know I haven’t wrote you in a while but I promised you that once I felt I had a grasp on what it is to be an intellectual, I would indulge you on this so I could explain to you why I always thought you were an intellectual. Since you’ve always wanted me to be one I did research and found that the thoughts of Foucault and Deleuze have clarified the roles of an intellectual.  They seem to share the concept that intellectuals shouldn’t have to explain things to people however if they understand something that others do not, it’s their duty to explain it to them. This concept of an intellectual’s civic duty to inform the masses is one that has been by rulers all throughout time.  Although there were many that shared their ideas with others to just expand the pool of knowledge, there are those that use this power to take advantage of others.

       This new source of knowledge over the masses quickly can turn to power, which both authors point out is infectious and dangerous if left unchecked.  With rules, tyrants form and use their knowledge as leverage to control the masses and it’s the role of the other intellectuals is to stop or hinder this corrosive type of control.  The strange part is that when tyrants rise up, there is always an oppressive regime behind it with masses of people willingly to just blindly follow and not put up any sort of resistance. This inaction to not even fight back is caused by in my opinion this concept that most of us never reach which is the body without organs.

       If you look at America, were a nation that is always being run by power hungry people that set oppressive polices on their people. These leaders become more empowered and dangerous because the people who disagree with them usually stand idle by the side and choose to do nothing.  The everyday American doesn’t enough or care about our foreign policy, or even most of our domestic laws, they just want to know things like the price of gas.  Deleuze explains that people sometimes choose to be in a repressive government and controlled because in a way it is a form of expressing power through consent.  This is why I feel that the vast majority including myself can never be an intellectual as we stand by and do nothing day after day and let others make decisions for us.

        The concept of the Body without organs (bwo) is one that still amazes me to this day.  It’s a concept that try’s to free your mind and makes you look past what is given to you. It’s telling you to forget what you know and break down what is in front of you.  This (bwo) teaches you to think of you in the pre-self.  In this state you aren’t affected by the world around you such as the concept of a noble savage.  Once anyone sees the stricture built around us to protect us and keep us living the way we live, we would actually come to realize that society has us all in chains.  The (bwo) is a free flowing concept much like a state of perpetual peace that we will never achieve because of the world around us but its something that we should never stop trying to achieve.

        It is because of the bwo that most people never understand that their submissive lifestyle stops them from ever becoming a true intellectual.  An intellectual would live a free style of life and would be able to see past the trivial propaganda that most people can’t see through. I happen to be one of the people that cannot picture a world without order, rules and a false sense of security.  The bow doesn’t call for you to bring down the government, however it calls you to open your eyes and see that theses oppressive laws that are holding us down and keep us in perpetual debt.  I am one of the worst offenders as I cannot bring myself to realize that me planning to work through the majority y of my healthy years in my life to have a false sense of security just seems like a dim future however since I cannot see another option, my life as an nonintellectual will have to do. 

 

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Reminder!

Hi guys! I know you’re all really busy with finals, but just a little reminder to follow up on the encyclopedia project and the Fanon Peer assignment if you haven’t already done it. 🙂

 

– Cheers

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Second Part of Jasbir Puar’s Essay

The second part of Puar’s essay critiques the focus on representational politics (Butler, Spivak) in the realm of critical race/gender theory, and the fact that scholars from this field have rarely ever come into dialogue with those who utilize a more ontological perspective to try and explain the same phenomena. These theorists put forth the notion that “bodies are unstable assemblages that cannot be disaggregated into identity formations” and focus more on “matter” than conceptualizations/identities. While the few scholars of representational politics that have responded to this new movement (such as Malini Joshar Schueller) have argued that it both “produces and is produced by a desire to avoid theorizing race” or other socially-constructed phenomena, Puar says that it has raised a number of issues that are worthy of consideration, namely by challenging the assumption that “everything resides within signification” and has brought about a necessary analysis into the nature/culture divide. In the eyes of Puar and others, this movement serves as a “contestation of the unexamined habits of the mind that grant language and other forms of representation more power in determining out ontologies (how things be) than they deserve.” (Karen Barad). Race, gender, sexuality, etc. are far too easily accepted as fixed entities and attributes in the primary realm of feminist/critical racial theory when they could just as easily be “considered events, actions, and encounters between (physical) bodies.”

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