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Moya & Panjabi

I agree with Arnoldas that the notion of “realism� in Moya remains somewhat abstract. However, I like her emphasis on knowledge through lived experiences. I found it useful how she picked up on Moraga’s insistence on the “relationship between social location, knowledge, and identity as theoretically mediated through the interpretation of experience� (145). As the example of Moraga’s “journey� (i.e. the changing interpretations of her experiences over time) shows, this theory honors the individual’s unique position without completely discounting common factors, such as social location.
I also found Panjabi’s examination of strategies of resistance by female prisoners very interesting. I like that she analyzes small acts of resistance in places where one would least expect them. Even though these women were unable to escape their imprisonment, they were able to challenge the guards (and thereby the system) for one short moment at a time and one small act at a time. She concludes that this resistance was (at least in part) successful due to a “knowledge gap�: “theoretical knowledge of women’s lives has been historically denied a place in the realm of objective analysis; their social desires, values, and interests have been consistently suppressed in history� (168). Panjabi is pointing out an important trend that holds true for the situation of most minorities and oppressed people: if members of a minority want to live in / make it in the dominant society, they cannot afford such a knowledge gap, whereas most members of the dominant society are probably ignorant of the social values, needs, desires, etc. of the minority. Panjabi shows how this disadvantage can be turned into an advantage by the oppressed people and I thought that was very intriguing.