Assemblage Discussion

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so jessie asked me to post part of our class discussion about assemblage on the blog, since the discussion was intense and kind of confusion for most of us. i spent the morning trying to transcribe our conversation from my tape recording and let me tell you! we all talk to fast, on top of each other, and in not real sentences and half thoughts. i did my best, hope it helps!

Our Conversation on Assemblage April 7th

Inspired by Puar

 

Elizabeth: and I ALSO think that the assemblage intersectionality thing is just another way of saying intersectionality/identity politics. I see no difference at all...

 

Raechel: This article has stuck with me, only most significantly because it helped me know who Deleuze was when I came here because no one talked about Deleuze in my Master's program. And I was like "oh the assemblage I totally understand what that is" because this example made it completely clear to me what that is ... But I'm also curious, though, were you saying Elizabeth, that identity politics equals intersectionality. Could you clarify that?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, I'm saying that, identity politics is... all these characteristics that she has listed under intersectionality, to me define identity politics. Like you might be black and a woman and gay but when you join feminism the fact that you are a woman is the piece of that that we are going to separate from the rest and its discreet enough that we can separate that and take them apart and then intersectionality is saying no they are not separable, they operate in networks. Overlapping networks of oppression. And that we can't take them apart and the fact that you are woman informs how you are black which informs how you are gay which in forms you know, that's, that's... intersectionality.

 

Raechel: But that is intersectionality still, because it's still stating a position or location as a category. For her it wouldn't be the merging of a woman, and the merging of your race, and the merging of that. Because those categories...

 

Angela: ... aren't stable themselves ...

 

Raechel: Right. You would have to have other things merge to create your performance of gender before you could have your gender merge with something else.

 

Elizabeth: like your own life history?            

 

Angela: partially, like...

 

Raechel: Kinda, the best way, can I just, right super quick...

 

Angela: Year, no, I'm sorry ...

 

Raechel: The best way someone explained assemblage to me was to think about like umm a scary movie pond where things like bubble up and like pop, like bubbles. Does that make? Do you know what I mean? Where like things blubber. Does that? or Like boiling water even.

Sara: Like weeds? Or Weeds?

 

Multiple Voice: Uh, umm, but wha...yeah, no...

 

Raechel: Right well the root system, I've heard too, but that still feels kinda like linear to me.

 

Sara: Oh, see I have weeds like this in the back, this like Japanese knot weed that doesn't have like some central root like the tree, cause isn't that...

 

Raechel: right that's the main thing... right, right, right,

 

Sara: but that's... assemblage is different... right, yeah, sorry...

 

Elizabeth: Is it the idea that like different parts of the self are going to bubble up and inform you at any given moment...

 

Angela/Raechel: yeah! yeah !

 

Elizabeth: but I feel like that's still intersectionality...

 

Raechel: but, but, but you couldn't say. One of those bubbles couldn't be named a woman; you couldn't have that named a woman, because one of those bubbles is already complicated because it came from some other random bubble. Its just a very post-structuralist view of intersectionality I think.

 

Elizabeth: I kinda get where you are going but I feel like intersectionality makes room for that.

 

Multiple Voices: Umm, wha...I

 

Sophie: I mean its kinda weird right, I mean its like intersectionality and then you just like barf in the intersection

 

Sara: (drawing on the board) well... the way I think about it, to get at what you were saying was, so the intersection, if we take the Crenshaw piece, you wanna take that notion of intersectionality she's talking about, there's a person that can be hit in the intersection and they can be hit by cars coming from all different places and maybe we can't separate out and we can't determine because there might be skid marks, I think she talks about you cant, you know, you cant blame anyone for the accident, its still like you were saying hitting one person in the intersection. Where as the ballistic body is its... there is no one person, its exploding, and the body parts are all over, I don't, so, does that....

 

Multiple Voices: lol no.

 

Angela: Can I try?

 

Sara: Does that makes sense? To anyone? No it doesn't? It doesn't makes sense?

 

Multiple Voice: no, no, lol.

 

Jessie: She also talks a lot about temporality, but I don't really see how that relates to assemblage. Like what's the temporal piece to it?

 

Angela: Can I try?

 

Multiple Voices: hehehe

 

Angela: Okay, so I think how the temporal piece has to do with the assemblage is that, like I understand it sort of like...I think of it with the intersectionality as like roads right.  So this is the I'm a woman road, this is the I'm a queer road, this is the I'm a white person road. And the whole assemblage idea is that those roads don't actually exist because they are always already informed by each other, and only exist though each other, and at the same time as each other, so we cant even name them as separate things and think of them as separate roads that intersect and meet at a point, because that point is never, there is never a point, the point is always changing and that's where the temporality comes in. because the way that my identity operates when I am in this classroom as a scholar is very different then when I am at home picking peas with my grandmother as a scholar in that point. Or the way that my queerness looks to you is different than they way it looks at home. So not only do we through our intentions move our identities, shift our identities, back and forth and all over the place depending on the context and the time in which we are sitting. But the ways the context and the time in which society understands and reads us is constantly shifting the way we are understood. So there is never a fixed point. Intersection creates the idea of a fixed point at, like, even if its complicated. And there might be room in which assemblage is already in intersectionality, I agree with you that the theory of intersectionality might allow for this and we don't really need another theory about it, but I think the thought about assemblage is that its never, you can't even talk about them at all. There is no way to say like sexuality, comma, race, comma, whatever, because they are always already the together. Kind of like Italian dressing right...when you shake it and all the shit is all mixed up...

 

Multiple Voices: LOL

 

Angela: like that is what we really are! And it never can separate and become like the oil and the particles at the bottom. Does that make sense?

 

Elizabeth: Yes, yes actually it does.

 

Sara: I should have just drawn a bottle of Italian dressing.


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