Critical Feminist Studies
Science Fiction as "Feminist Didactic"?
"adapting the form of a fantastic travelogue to a
restoration of the genre of slave-memoir"
or we are going to do something else. The best way to do that would be to go someplace else,
where the demands on us would be different...and we would be forced to change...."
working on the first draft of your final project, due on-line next Wednesday
if you've fallen behind in forum-posting, catch up with longer posts/ blogging
be sure that you have done so before Thanksgiving....
II. afterthoughts from our conversation about disability:
The other thing though, is that... it's important to acknowledge...limits in...comparing different "-ism" expereriences
(although I know I'm being hypocritical when I just did it myself in
the proceeding paragraph).
Ann Dixon on how significant the visibility of identity is: One of the themes that is present in our discussions of race, gender, and disability, is whether we "pass" or not. If we identify as mixed race, do others see that? If we identify as genderqueer, do we nevertheless "pass" as a woman? Is our disability visible or not?
atisman on Disability? I struggled with these "feminist disabilty politics".... with feminist ideas that seem to neglect a discourse of trust....
So, do we change society to fit our needs, or do we change ourselves to fit society's needs?...I take issue...with trying to cancel the problem....people should be able to choose for themselves...whether...they are interested in...change.....Why is there something wrong with...living with our disabilities?
"...all want easier lives. But none of us want them at the expense
of being told that we’re the problem" (from The Curvature:
a feminist perspective on culture and politics)
tbarryfigu on Picking it Back Up: how can we...work towards more progressive methods of "living feminism"... How do...we reconvene on a national or global scale?... I just want to see drastic changes that apply to all working women?
Louise Wiener: Some things never change (in response to Rhapsodica's blog, about feeling daunted, then compelled, by the readings): I am from the class of '62 and I was struck as I read the beginning of your comments that at Bryn Mawr some things never change. That amazing sensse of excitement and its parallel gnawing intimidation - wondering if everyone else in the class didn't already know whatever you happen to be studying! At our 45th reunion it seemed everyone was telling someone else how smart and well-read she seemed lo those many years ago (if not still!)
I am fascinated by the discussion and appreciate the chance to taste the challenges of academic discussion again. I have yet to reada the texts, but your comments make them sound interesting enough to inspire me. LWW
IV. Reading Kindred as ourselves
so I don't mind attempts to interpret my fiction."
V. Reading Kindred as an/other
--as Susan Styker: what does it add to your use of the alien, in the genres of horror story and travel narrative? "being queer means you have some consciousness about norms, and how they are produced--often through violence and suppression of difference--if you are queer you are aware of where your boundaries are, and when you cross them.."
--as Judith Butler: what does it say to your claims about the limits of discourse and the ways bodies matter? "For 'reading' means taking someone down, exposing what fails to work at the level of appearance, insulting or deriding someone. For a performance to work, then, means that a reading is no longer possible...the impossibility of reading means that the artifice works, the approximation of realness appears to be achieved."
--as Katie Cannon: what does it add to the feminist and womanist canons? "to debunk, unmask, and disentangle the historically conditioned value judgments and power relations that undergird the particularities of race, sex, and class oppression...."
--as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson: how does it extend your notions of the disabled body? "focusing on the singularity and ...immutability of the flesh, and at the same time question the identity it supports" (cf. Dana, "I lost an arm on my last trip home....").
on absolute ethics and pragmatic choices?)
"I knew I could stop him, cripple him....My squeamishness belonged in another age....why couldn't I just turn off my conscience, and be a coward, safe and comfortable?" (42, 106)
"We were observers watching a show...pretending to be like them. But we were poor actors. We never really got into our roles. We never forgot that we were acting" (98).
"The pain was a friend..it forced reality on me and kept me sane" (113).
"She had done the safe thing--had accepted a life of slavery becasue she was afraid" (145).
"Educated nigger don't mean smart nigger, do it?...You got more pride than sense" (175).
"I might not be 'still me'" (192).
"I felt almost free, half-free...half-way home" (234).
"I got to go before I turn into what you are!" (235)
"If I have to accept limits on my freedom...then he also has to accept limits--on his behavior toward me. He has to leave me enough control of my own life to make living look better to me than killing and dying" (246).
VII. Butler on herself:
"emulsification": "comfortably asocial, a hermit in a city, a pessimist if I'm not careful, a feminist, a Black, a former Baptist, an oil-and-water combination of ambition, laziness, insecurity, certainty and drive."
on science fiction:
the space program was part of the general hopefulness of the 60s; that sense of possibility was present during the decade of my adolescence, but...a different world...could be better, could be worse. There's no insurance policy."
(per Donna Harraway: she "interrogates kind, genre and gender," and writes about "the monstrous fear and hope that the child will not, after all, be like the parent," about, in other words, our ambivalent attitudes towards the possibility of change)
trying to get some mileage out of the idea of a civilization in which people somehow felt/shared all the pain and all the pleasure they caused one another; they would accept differences, since any act of resentment would be punished immediately, personally, inevitably they would have to consider the consequences of their behavior
Lisa Yaszek," A Grim Fantasy": Remaking American History in Octavia Butler's "Kindred." Signs 28, 4 (Summer, 2003): 1053-1066.
Angelyn Mitchel, "Not enough of the Past: Feminist Revisions of Slavery in Octavia E. Butler's Kindred." MELUS 26, 3 (Fall 2001): 51-75
becoming an agent capable of transforming history, Dana becomes to the same degree subject to history
Dana and Alice...each feel the other's choices as a critique of her own; each sees, in the distorting mirror of the other, her potential fate
the past is...constructed by the present...by the way we choose to interpret that which is remembered
"He has to leave me enough control of my own life to make living look better to me than killing and dying" (246)...control is the essence of personal freedom: having command of one's own thoughts, desires and actions
Alice exercises her right to choose death, freedom of a different sort, over bondage.
for the nineteenth-century enslaved black woman,
[what] possibilities for self-definition existed?
Butler may be critiquing the lack of post-integration communal life for contemporary African-Americans
her arm...left behind in the past...symbolic gesture...history has a lingering effect on the present
Both black and white Americans must confront their shared past of racism, must acknowledge the pain and the scars of that past, and must live together as kindred.