Exam Four: Queer and Feminist Theory Revised

Cyborg Goddess with Gender Trouble Event

Guest speakers Judith Butler and Jasbir Puar

Good Afternoon ladies and thank you the panel was knowledgeable, gave me a better understanding of Gender Trouble and I Rather Be a Cyborg than a Goddess.  Puar has an ontological point of view she uses Intersectionality and Assemblage as a framework for theorizing.  She believes that intersectionality should not be linked to the individual but the practice of ontology should be. Ontology is the metaphysical study of the nature of being and it is where our identities are becoming into existence. Butler has an epistemological view and she argues that sex is socially constructed. She recognizes the difference between sex and gender, because sex is a natural given category and gender is an acquired cultural social category that comes from social and cultural ideologies.  Butler made sure she stood clear of labeling and categorizing. Butler analyzed the label of a woman in feminism because there is no clear way to interpret the meaning of what a woman is. Bulter argued that feminism has been misguided by trying to claim that women were a group with shared characteristics and interests. Puar is trying to suggest that a person can identify themselves as man or woman through race, gender and sexuality. Butler and Puar attentive approach into Queer theory is interesting. Both of them mention the discourses.  Puar and Butler agree that gender is not fixed, but Butler on the other hand believes things only exist through discourse.  In both of the papers each spoke about the body where Butler believed the body is materialized through discourse.  Puar makes a political protest for the object of Assemblage over discourses of queer intersectionality. Assemblage takes queerness away from a definition in terms of sexuality and gender. Puar argued that the disapproving capacity of queer politics and queerness remain not in its status as an oppositional discourse but exactly the antithesis of this.


Puar – What does it mean for a being to be?

Butler – Would you ever have an ontological view?

Butler Reading Response

The reading was difficult for me to understand. I’m still a little bit confused but I am going to try to explain what Butler argument was about. Butler makes the argument that there is no clear division between sex and gender. She analyzes the power of representation in her opinion not all women are the same this includes men. Butler examines sexuality as socially constructed. That comes from the social and cultural practices. As discussed in class label / categories she doesn’t favor. She has a problem with the way feminism is structured. She discusses gender performativity. As mentioned in class gender is not fixed it is something that we do. Butler observes, “gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of imitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself…what they imitate is a phantasmic ideal of heterosexual identity…gay identities work neither to copy nor emulate heterosexuality, but rather, to expose heterosexuality as an incessant and panicked imitation of its own naturalized idealization. That heterosexuality is always in the act of elaborating itself is evidence that it is perpetually at risk, that it, that it ‘knows’ it’s own possibility of becoming undone”

Exam Two : Knowedge Production and Post-Structuralism

Dear Diary,

Today is the day I have been preparing for since the last time my extended family was here for the holidays. The question that always seem to be the main topic of discussion is, “What do I want to do with my life.” While diary I have an answer for them. After being introduced to discussions by Foucault and Deleuze I have decided to be an intellectual. An intellectual is a knowledge producer. The role of an intellectual is to reorganize customary ways of working and thinking. To participate in the shaping of political will but not to force these wills on to others. This is where practice becomes theory. As an intellectual you play a role as a citizen being in close proximity to common people can shake things up. According to Foucault an intellectual is not reinforcing the negative. To be considered an intellectual one must obtain power within society and should be aware of the power. Deleuze on the other hand is more open minded the conditions of real life he believes developed theory into practice it is impossible to separate the two. Body Without Organs wants to separate the pre-individual before the organs. Deleuze calls organized body “organism.” Here the individual can find a sense of self and not have to follow the ideologies of society. Just imagine the world without ideologies there would be no structure and organization. We all function as an organ. The term body means a whole which is composed of various parts which depend on each other though each of the functions individually for the benefit of the body. Being an intellectual I would have to stand alongside the people being oppressed by the bourgeoisie. To focus on the exploration and class struggle of living in a capitalist world.


Exam One : Post-Maxism

Starring : Tammy (Tam) and Louis (Lou)

Tammy and Louis are at a rooftop party. They were invited by their friend Maryjane. As they are sitting at the bar they overhear a person talking about they can’t believe that advertisers spend so much money on advertising, it doesn’t get them to buy anything. They claim they don’t buy into the ideology of capitalism they argue they are their own person.

Tam: Louis do you know what C.R.E.A.M means ?

Lou: No what does that mean.

Tam: It means Cash Rules Everything Around Me in today’s society certain people have more influence than others with the power to shape the economic, national issues, and social welfare.

Lou: People are not self conscious agents instead they are being transformed into subjects. People identities are constructed through agencies such as the family, mass media, education institutions and the church.

Tam: Who controls these agencies?

Lou: The super rich and powerful and their views are imposed on us until we believe that these ideologies are the way of life. Ideology is a material practice for example giving gifts at Christmas.These things give us enjoyment or delight but in the end we return to our place in the social order because we produce the social conditions absolutely essential for capitalism to continue.

Tam: It’s the mean of influence for example the bourgeoisie is able to dominate the political system and the economy. Their influence on the political world is strong with campaign contributions lobby organizations. The majority of the stock market belongs to the upper class giving them influence on the economy. The dominant ideology in society is produced and maintained how ?

Lou: It is produced and maintained by the Repressive Ideological State Apparatuses(ISA) and (RSA). The ISA’s such as the family, education institutions, church (religion) and mass media is reinforced from an early age obedient behavior is a must so people can follow and maintain the values and rules of the dominant classes. The ISA does the work for the powerful making us into law abiding citizens, family members, church members, capitalists and students. The RSA on the other hand uses physical forces such as police, courts, government, and the army to have dominance over the public behavior.

Tam: There is no escape from capitalism what about the values of individualism and freedom?

Lou: The upper class has the power to influence people making people lose their individuality and become subject’s based on ideological views.

Tam: Whoever has the money rules the world and in this case its the super powerful and rich.

Frantz Fanon : Black Skin, White Masks Reading Response / Spivak : Can the Subaltern Speak Reading Response

The reading Black Skin, White Masks was difficult to understand but mind opening at the same time. Fanon analyzes the experiences of the black man and language in a white world. Fanon states,”The black man possesses two dimensions one with his fellow blacks, the other with the whites. A black man behaves differently with a white man than he does with another black man.” I want to relate this to DuBois concept of the double consciousness in which the black man is dealing with an identity struggle between being of black descent and being an American in this white dominated culture. Fanon mentions that there is an extraordinary power in the possession of a language. The title of the book took me off guard at first, but then I realized what it meant that the black man puts on this white mask in effort to fade away the association of being black. This creates a division between the black man’s consciousness and his body. Fanon has a Marxist perspective. When the black man decides to put on this white mask he is making his self weak pretending to be someone he is not.

The reading, “Can The Subaltern Speak” by Spivak was hard to comprehend but after reading it a couple of times. I got some type of understanding of Spivak who critiques Foucault and Deleuze power structure and power dynamic. Spivak has a Marx’s perspective and she discusses the subaltern, representation, and colonialism. She mentions how the subaltern has no voice and they cannot speak for themselves. Spivak’s criticism of Foucault and Deleuze the radical implications of the ‘crisis of the subject’ by introducing the concept of ‘subject effects,’ which differ in name, but not in function, from traditional subjects (273) .She also criticizes Foucault for emphasizing the pervasiveness and heterogeneity of power while ignoring how power produces ideology, and instead filling the place of ideology with a generalized notion of ‘culture.’ (274)