Theoretical Practice 4(10)/2013
Issue’s guest editors: Joanna Bednarek, Katarzyna Czeczot, Anna Dzierzgowska, Agnieszka Kowalczyk, Sławomir Królak, Ewa Alicja Majewska, Anna Wojczyńska.
Joanna Bednarek, Katarzyna Czeczot, Feminist Epistemologies. Introduction
Summary: Feminist scholars from the developing world have long written about the fracture between Western and developing world feminisms, where women from the developing world are often depicted as one monolithic group of oppressed “third world” women by feminists from the West. I posit in this article that there is power in this depiction, which implicitly categorises women from the developing world as “other” and this power allows Western feminisms to determine whose scholarship is relevant to the development of feminist epistemology. I also make the point that for feminist scholarship to grow there needs to be an acknowledgement that feminists from everywhere possess knowledge and experience which should be viewed as valuable contributions to feminism. I ask the question, can there be a shift in the way how feminist knowledge is produced, one that can transcend the current boundaries and bring about solidarity in practice within feminism?
Summary: In my article I am trying to explore ways in which Polish feminism can expand its knowledge about woman living in the countryside. To this purpose I recall theories from black feminist thought and postcolonial studies which help to enrich subaltern epistemologies. To renegotiate regimes of visibility, which limit our imagination, I use these theories to analyze pop culture representations of rurality (documentary Warszawa do wzięcia and docusoap Chłopaki do wzięcia). Referring to bell hooks’ theory of the margin and to postcolonial critics Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Donna Haraway’s concept of situated knowledges, which all help to develop our knowledge about different kinds of oppression and their intersectionality, I want to draw attention to these dimensions of sexism which don’t fit into rigid categories of “problems faced by woman from big cities”.
AnaLouise Keating, Kimberly C. Merenda, Decentring the Human? Towards a Post-Anthropocentric Standpoint Theory, morehide
Summary: Drawing on recent developments in virology and the work of Chicana queer-feminist Gloria Anzaldúa, this article explores the possibility of shifting shift from anthropocentric epistemologies (including feminist standpoint theories) into more expansive, decentralized modes of knowledge production which are neither entirely human-centered nor fully post-human. We explore this shift through several parts: (1) A brief overview of recent critiques of anthropocentrism and the limitations in mainstream feminist standpoint theory’s ability to overcome this anthropocentrism; (2) an exploration of recent developments in virology’s promising alternatives to anthropocentrism’s narrow definition of the human; and (3) an analysis of Anzaldúa’s innovative nepantlera subjectivity and onto-epistemology as seen in her theory of conocimiento. Because scholars have yet to examine the post-anthropocentric (and posthumanist) dimensions of Anzaldúa’s thought but instead generally categorize her epistemology as an ethnic-specific feminist standpoint theory, her work offers a unique point of entry into these investigations.
Melissa Burchard, Amy Lanou, Leah Mathews, Karin Peterson, Alice Weldon, Co-writing, Co-knowing. Transforming Epistemologies, morehide
Summary: Our article offers a vision of how collaborative processes of knowledge-making in an interdisciplinary faculty writing group can transform professional lives of isolation into ones that flourish. Central to our co-creation of knowledge are the practice of storytelling in a critical self-reflective manner and the elements of commitment, connection and relationship. Together we have found that these elements provide basic strategies for managing the isolation that would otherwise be a significant force in our working lives.
Our commitment is epistemological and moral, as we commit to the knowledge-making, but also to each other as individuals and as moral agents, to our values, and to bringing our values into our work. Learning about ourselves together, we have enhanced our sense of identity and our ability to navigate limits and boundaries.
Through supportive, intentional and reflective collaboration, we re-vision knowledge-making as fundamentally social and relational, and theorizing as grounded in the specificity of narratives of shared, lived experience.
Deborah Blizzard, Wenda K Bauchspies, Stability of Shifting Ground. Feminist Ethnography and Practice, morehide
Summary: In this article the two authors problematize the moment of stabilization in doing fieldwork and writing ethnography from a feminist perspective. The paper begins with an introduction to the question: How do feminist science studies scholars reconcile a normative need to stabilize our research site to create knowledge within the shifting ground of “truth claims” that feminist practices acknowledge and document? The heart of the paper reflects on our experiences as feminist theorists, teachers, and ethnographers with vignettes from studies of high-risk pregnancies in the industrialized world, specifically the United States, and gender and everyday technologies in West Africa. Our goal is to theorize this instability in order to highlight the limits and benefits of working with consciousness and reflectivity in social contexts while challenging and enriching the vibrancy of our feminist theory and practice.
Summary: Skin, the external boundary of the human body, has been up to now an undiscovered field in postuhman studies. Even though the brilliant work of Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, redefined the meaning of skin in the context of race, never has anybody truly used the potential of metaphors connected to skin. Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey demonstrate that skin-tight politics (which is focused on setting the boundaries of body and gender) leads to a denial of the relationship with otherness and upholds binary traditions. By creating the conception of ‘Thinking through skin’, the researchers call for a shift in the perception of normative visions of corporality. Based on that idea, I treat skin as a metaphor of the changes within philosophical thought which caused the materiality to cease to be from its own area. Demographies will therefore be an intersectional project which combines feminist materialism with Joanna Mueller’s neolinguistic poetry which aspires to create a new philosophy, understood by Lucie Irigaray as the discourse of touching love.
Summary: The essay discusses theoretical practices of three major American experimental women writers associated with L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets Lyn Hejinian, Leslie Scalapino, and Carla Harryman, who played a crucial role in shaping the present-day critical and theoretical literary debate regarding the status of formally radical literature engaged in questions of feminist epistemology and written by women. Devoted to language and its ideological dimension, their work is based on a wager that poetic practice is a socially engaged strategy of intervention (Harryman), and as such functions as a language-oriented feminist epistemology. Hejinian, Scalapino, and Harryman created a significant literary and theoretical body of work that includes complex genre-bending hybrid texts deeply rooted in contemporary feminist discourses and preoccupied with such issues as production of knowledge, meaning, identity, gender, and sexuality, hidden ideological mechanisms of the conventional narrative, and the imperative of its constant refiguration. The article is also an attempt to see their work in a broader context of feminist thought, ranging from écriture féminine, through Judith Butler’s and Denise Riley’s critiques of identity politics, to the posthumanist horizon of Donna Haraway’s cyborg writing..
Summary: The article is an attempt to investigate the contemporary creativity of the French, third wave feminist, and novel writer Virginie Despentes with a focus on changes taking place in her work over the last twenty years. The first part shows the scope of the early phase of her artistic activity, which, on the main level, deals with specific issues in the French culture of the last decade of the past century, especially those taking place in relation to the reconfiguration of the French literary field in the middle of the 1990s. Of particular importance are changes in approaches of those who were excluded or marginalized because of their race/gender/class position (most often femininists), including issues of self-representation and the appearance of the trash literature trend.
The second part of the article takes as its goal enhancing the queer aspect of Despentes’ last project. It analyses Apocalypse bébé on the basis of geopoetical instrumentarium and presents information concerning the spatio-temporal dimensions of the (non)normative identities of the main characters. The authorˈs construction of the urban chronotope of Paris and Barcelona is considered from a critical queer theory perspective, leading to the thesis of a specific utopian turn taking place in Despentes’ last novel.
Michał Pospiszyl, Displaced Class Struggle. Leder, Marx and the Bourgeois Revolution