February 2010 Archives

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María Lugones' Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes and Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands have a lot to say about rationality, although it is not explicitly stated as their main purpose. Both writers deal with multiple, often fragmented or "curdled" identities (to use Lugones' vivid descriptor of an impure mixture of consciousnesses). Both paint beautiful, inspiring pictures of alternate ways to think of groups and political resistance. Through images of traveling or inhabiting the border between worlds, they also - implicitly and explicitly - condemn the rational framework and suggest alternative ways of thinking as a means of political empowerment and liberation.

Doing this project has been making me think about a lot of things, and I think it's important to take a little pause here to clarify my motivations. I touched upon these ideas a little bit in my "About the Blog" post, but I would like to spell them out more explicitly.

If you do a quick Google search for "irrational woman," you will get a whole list of links to advice: how to deal with irrational women, why women are so irrational, and (my personal favorite) are all beautiful women irrational?

There are some important concepts here that I'm worried will get confused: to begin with, the identification between men and rationality.

Call for Questions

I just wanted to put up a little note. I'm not sure how many people are actually reading this as I post, but if you are:
If you have thoughts about the ideas I'm pursuing...
particularly if you have ideas that you'd like to see developed further...
even more particularly if you have an idea of some author or artist or theorist who can be put into conversation with those ideas...

I always appreciate comments and will try and use them as a jumping-off point for future posts!

Kristeva: Revolution and Dissidence

Julia Kristeva - who I'm reading in translation, for the purpose of this blog - is one of the most opaque writers I have ever read, particularly since I have no background in semiotics or in the kind of psychoanalytic language that Kristeva deals in. However, I have managed to decipher some points from Revolution in Poetic Language and A New Type of Intellectual: The Dissident which seem to speak directly to Stein's breed of linguistic detour - and, more generally, to a feminine break with rationality.

Patriarchal Poetry she did she did. (Gertrude Stein)

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This blog post is about Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), but Gertrude Stein deserves more than a blog post. (A dissertation chapter, perhaps? **cough cough** Thanks to my sister for introducing me to G.S.!) There are too many ways to talk about Stein for just a few hundred words. We could talk, for example, about her literary interpretation of cubism, about the aurality of her writing, or about her personal life as a rather masculine lesbian in a lifelong relationship with Alice B. Toklas (of the famed brownies).

I want to talk about Patriarchal Poetry, and about not talking about patriarchal poetry.

Welcome! A word of introduction: I'm a first-year graduate student in French, jumping into the deep end with a bunch of courses outside my department - including GWSS 8190: Feminist & Queer Explorations in Troublemaking, for which I have created this blog. I am a visually-oriented, practically-minded person, and as such, I am interested in how we can put theory to good use, which seems more often than not to require ruffling some theoretical feathers.

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