"29 Mar -- The Space In Between"
From Liminality ... The Space In Between
Charles La Shure
-Same author as "What is Liminality"
-He has lived in Korea for some time
-He writes about how Koreans say to him "Welcome to Korea," even though he's lived there for years (7 years at the time of this blog post, which was done in
-He also writes about those he's known for a while will say to him, when he exhibits "Korean traits," that he is "practically Korean now"
-Yet, he does not feel Korean, and knows himself not to be Korean, and knows he will never be Korean. However, he no longer feels fully American, either.
-He lives not within Korean society, but around it. He has a special position as a foreigner, and has a perspective of looking inside from the outside.
-He studies comparative literature there, and at first he was upset by this, thinking that his Korean prof thought him not good enough to do "true" Korean literature, but he feels now that his "liminal" status in Korea puts him in a unique position to study comparative literature
-"I will exist in the space in between the two cultures, moving back and forth between them, but never fully belonging to either."
-This is a thought that could be more fully developed. I don't think simply traveling is a liminal position, but what about someone who lives long-term in another country? Is it truly liminal? Because he acknowledges that he will never fully become Korean, so there is no intended end-point to his journey. Perhaps he is more in a "marginal" state, which is similar to liminality, except without end.
-This is again an attempt at a more non-traditional source. I am unsure of its usefulness, but I think it has at least achieved the goal of opening another avenue for analysis.
La Shure, Charles. "29 Mar -- The Space In Between." Liminality: The Space in Between. 18 October, 2005. Web. 29 November, 2011.
-The article starts off by explaining how Bisexuality is an emerging site of study. The author discusses a conference at which "Bisexuals at that conference did indeed find themselves having to defend not just the viability of bisexual politics or theory but the very existence of bisexuality as an adult sexual orientation"
-I believe it. I couldn't tell you the number of time I've heard, "I don't BELIEVE in bisexuals/bisexuality" - as if we're some kind of tooth fairy or Santa Claus that you entertain as a truth until you grow out of it and decide that you no longer believe in it
-the author suggests that the recent interest in bisexuality stems from the interest in postmodernism. She points to people making broad statemens like "Bisexuality = postmodernism embodied"
-The author discusses a book called Telling Sexual Stories, and says that there were no stories relating to bisexuality. She continues to discuss the "modern" nature of the stories in the book - meaning that these stories had a "core" or "truth" to them. The problem with Bisexuality, apparently, is that the bisexual can engage in any activity with any consenting adult (I'm paraphrasing from the article here, not making a personal statement of belief) and not reveal the "truth" or "core" of the activity or his/her identity. Instead, the author argues, stories about bisexuality would be more postmodern
"...postmodern stories are articulated around fragmentation, rather than around modernist notions of a sexual 'truth' or 'core' in or for each individual. This is common in bisexual descriptions of bisexuality, either in everyday self-descriptions as 'half heterosexual and half homosexual', 'having masculine and feminine sides' and the like (see Ault, 1997: 453-4), or in more theoretical discussions of bisexuality as fragmented, impermanent or incomplete"
"'Coming out' as bisexual, although sometimes presented as closure, is often in fact presented as a temporary resolution or a stage upon a longer journey, with more crisis and transformation yet to come (Eadie, 1997). As Frann Michel writes, 'the bisexual story destabilizes the teleological closure of linear narrative' (1996: 64)."
-The author makes a distinction between postmodern - the theory, the philosophical position - and postmodernity - the social, cultural, "lived reality" of our time (and of bisexuals, I can assume). She argues that this focus on postmodernism - focus on theory - distracts from postmodernity - that is, the actual experiences of those identifying as bisexual. The argument she seems to be making, I think, is that the current postmodern moment has essentially been appropriating the bisexual experience to bolster their theories, rather than allowing bisexuals to speak for themselves.
-I have mixed feelings about this article. Though liminality was one of its keywords, I didn't see it mentioned once in the article. I think this is a loss. So, I'll offer my own analysis
-I think bisexuality can be a liminal state. I have spoken to lesbians/gays who had temporarily identified as bisexual for various reasons. The critics of bisexuality say it's because they're too scared to come out as fully gay, or because bisexuals like to "pass" as straight. This may be the case, and I don't think it means we should condemn bisexuality - coming out is scary. Can we really blame someone for being hesitant? Sometimes they just weren't certain and wanted to experiment. Seems fine by me. However, sometimes bisexuality is an end point for people. In this case, I'm not sure it is a liminal state, b/c it's not a temporary transition. But, perhaps it can be considered "marginal" in Turner's sense. That it is still betwixt/between, defies firm, solid definition, but has no end point
-In particular, I wanted to discuss the idea that those in the liminal state are seen as dangerous, polluting agents to the rest of society. I can see this in the case of bisexuality within the queer community. Bisexuals seem to complicate the clean-cut picture of homo vs heterosexuality that mainstream gay politics focus on while trying to gain acceptance. I think they reject bisexuals and trans folk because they make things complicated and complicated is not good when you're trying to make a political campaign simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker or rubber bracelet. I think it also makes people uncomfortable - "pick a side," "bisexuals are just being greedy," or the contempt that gays/lesbians feel towards bisexuals because of their ability to pass as straight.
-I think there's more to be said about the bisexual experience and liminality, and perhaps more research should be done. But I wonder if there even is research out there to find. There is, to this day, I find, a sad lack of theorizing around bisexuality.
-I found this article by doing a Google Scholar search for Bisexuality and Liminality.
Storr, Merl. "Postmodern Bisexuality." Sexualities. 2.3 (1999): 309-325. SAGE Journals Online. Web. 29 Nov. 2011.
"'World' Traveling and Loving Perception"
"... the outsider has necessarily acquired flexibility in shifting from the mainstream construction of life where she is constructed as an outsider to the other constructions of life where she is more or less "at home" (77).
-Arrogant perception: "to perceive arrogantly is to perceive that others are for oneself and to proceed to arrogate their substance to oneself" (78)
-This is a failure to identify with/to love another person
-Those who are perceived arrogantly can, in turn, perceive others arrogantly - internalized oppression. She suggests that this is what white/Anglo women do to women of color. However, the focus of this article is not to criticize white/Anglo women, but instead to offer a solution to this phenomenon. This solution being the concept of "world"-traveling
-to use a "loving eye" instead of an arrogant eye: "the loving eye is 'the eye of one who knows that to know the seen, one must consult something other than one's own will and interests and fears and imagination'." (85).
- a "world" is not a utopian theory. It cannot be an imagined place; rather, a "world" must be possible.
-can't be ANY possible, world, tho
-has to be inhabited by "flesh and blood people"
-can be the world of dominant society, or could be a world constructed by a minority population in resistance to the dominant "world"
-can be incomplete; can include a lot of people, or could include a small number of people
- The next point Lugones makes is that one can move between different "worlds" and may even occupy multiple "worlds" at the same time. Lugones writes,
"Those of us who are 'world'-travelers have the distinct experience of being different in different 'worlds' and of having the capacity to remember other 'worlds' and ourselves in them." (89)
- This shifting from being one person to being a different one depending on the "world" that one is occupying at a specific time is what Lugones means by "traveling"
- The important part of this argument is that the "world"-traveler retains a perfect memory of each different person she/he is in each different "world." Sometimes these persons embody characteristics that are contradictory to one another, which leads the "world"-traveler to have a "double image" of her-/himself.
-Playfulness: Western, masculinist playfulness that focuses on competition - anyone who tries to travel worlds with this kind of playfulness is doing so in an imperialistic/colonizing way. Instead, other kind of playfulness: defined as openness to possibility, to self-construction, to surprise. Willingness for fluidity and change
- We need to abandon arrogant perception and allow ourselves to travel to other people's "worlds" in order to see them in a full and complete way
Lugones, Maria. Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes: Theorizing Coalition Against Multiple Oppressions. Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. Print.