EXAM 4: A New Wave of Modernist Thinking

Queer and Feminist Theory : A New Wave of Modernist Thinking

Ladies and gentleman, please give a round of applause to our guest speakers for coming out tonight to share their work with us at the graduate Center at Hunter College. Before I open the floor to any discussion I would like to sum up some of the major points of tonight.

These two women share in common the interest in de-centralizing the normative approach to gender and its attachments.

Mrs. Butler is analyzing gender as a performative entity. She critiques in her writings, “Gender Trouble”, the notion of the supposed definition of sex and gender. That sex is biological and gender is acquired culturally. She deviates from this and approaches this in an epistemological way. She uses her knowledge of feminism and agrees that there has between a split in feminism. That the feminist approach is based on a constructed manner where its uses “identity politics” to shape the view on women.  She argues that sex is actually not biological. Sex is the result of what gender is; sex is the effect of gender. Sex is only a word that was developed and sex and gender are essential to one another and both constructed. She goes on to say that gender and identity is more of a performance than a “set” thing. There is no stable gender identity, hence no universal gender. She uses “drag queen” as an act of gender being Gender is not be dealt with through a binary mindset of male or female.   “…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” This concludes that gender is not only 2 different ways, but can be technically be thousands of ways.

Ms. Puar has similar views to Ms. Butler, but takes a different approach to gender and feminism. She attempts to skim off this epistemological layer and dive deep into the ontology of it. She uses “intersectionality”, first brought about by Kimberle Crenshaw, and analyzes the topic regarding identity politics. “ Intersectionality is a tool to diagnose racial differences”. She uses the waves of feminism and how intersectionality has  molded WOC as the “others”. This othering has caused feminist attempts for equality to counteract, as they are racializing WOC. Paur also uses assemblages as to what they do and how they “de-privilege the human body”. Hence, a body is made of matter and matter is a sort of “actor”. We can have not only a human body, but also a body of water or a body of something else. This takes us to the conclusion that matter is a “doing”. Puar finally puts assemblages and intersectionality together to give us a final synthesis of the two. She agrees with Crenshaw saying that intersectionality is more of an event, which leads to identity. Finally, she uses Massimo’s example of the increase in domestic violence during the super bowl. He says that the interaction of bodies (not only human, but of matter) lead to events that lead to identities. A man, who is watching the super bowl played by other man is drinking beers, may be lead to physical abuse of the spouse. The super bowl is showing the physical violence of a game and may lead him to violence as a “reflex” of the interactions he has in this environment.

This leads me to wonder if Ms. Puar can put her knowledge to use and prevent this sort of violence from occurring not only between adults, but also the violence that is seen in children as a result of what is watched on television. Should she push forward some type of law that would abolish any type of violence for children of a certain age?

I also have a question for Mrs. Butler, If you are talking about gender and sex being socially constructed should we stop referring to individuals as female and male? Are this terms irrelevant to the world and should we be referred to as our names? Do you think that a name given to a person should in a sense also be their gender?



I included a journal entry and discussed intellectual along with its role. I incorporated the BWO and linked it back to the role of the intellectual. I was also able to incorporate what it means to practice theory and their correlations. i linked these philosophers and their theories with a new theory called, ” non-representational  theory, which begun in the 90′s and is being put into practice now.


Dear Journal,

You will be pleased to know that I have finally found my calling. At thanksgiving dinner this past week I was reunited with my aunt and her very capitalistic and snobby family. The interrogations began and the questions, ” what am I going to do with my life” started.  There was no escape from this at the dinner table so I used my knowledge from sociology class to my advantage. I started off by telling them that i refused to be part of this unfair social order and wanted to stray from it as far as possible. I told them about Foucault Deleuze and and their post-modern philosophies. I told them how I wanted to be an intellectual the cool way- ” Auntie , if you think you are like an ” intellectual”, think again. The normal intellectual we usually think of may be referred to as someone who produces knowledge and puts it into practice, but are always funded by a higher order. In this instances capitalists are the real bosses, they found the intellectual to guide society towards the ideologies that they want to put into practice. They want to do this to get their way and step on society making them their leaping stones towards the finish line. I, on the other hand, refuse to follow the path of this intellectual. After studying Foucault and Deleuze in my sociology class, I had an enlightment. The right way to be an intellectual is to put an end to capitalism and oppression. The new radical intellectual would take form as a producer of knowledge and rises with the masses as he/she represents them. Of course, my goal as an intellectual would not be to totalize power, because at the end we always need some type of struggle for the world to function. Now a days we have been losing this struggle and letting the bigger ones win. I also already consider myself a practicing intellectual. According to Foucault, theory is immanent and comes from within. He also states that theory and practice are essentially the same. You can’t have theory without practice and vise versa. The concept of immanence brings me to discuss another of Deleuze’s work titled, ” Body Without Organs”, where he discusses the desire to practice this “BWO”, but never being capable of reaching it. BWO is referred to as the “pre-self” and “pre-conscious”, where you are freed into a fluid movement on a “same plane”. When he talks about this he isn’t actually talking about it literally, he is saying that we should free ourselves from the structuralism  and social orders of the world and live in immanence. This brings me back to my goal as an intellectual to live from within. BWO is the dismantling of the self, hence you become party of the world and no longer separate from it. This also ties into my idea of rising with the people. I want to achieve equality that the world needs. However, BWO can never be achieved according to Deleuze. It is a limit or asymptote like in calculus where you come very close and this “non-achieving” becomes a practice because it never reaches an end. So there you have it, I want to change the world by dismantling everything that already is and start again from immanence to become a part rather than a separate thing it. I want to bring about my own knowledge and share it. I know that I will always face a constant struggle, I know that I will never achieve BWO, but I know that I will put this theory into practice and be the best intellectual there is!!!!

….So this is kind of how it went. After I was done there was a long silence and then they started talking about mowing their lawn. After my little inspiring speech at dinner I took it upon myself to prove to them that I was serious and it wasn’t just some emotional come-back. I actually found this new social science approach called “non -representational theory” where social scientists now don’t only want to focus on the environment and world and “represent”, but bring in the theory of the “becoming”. This new idea will explore more of the pre-conscious rather than the conscious. It goes deep into exploration and into what happens before the conscious mind comes into play. It will more abstract and go into something like the theories of Deleuze. I cant wait to learn more and embark on my journey !! :)

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?

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 Three: Race and Post-Colonialism

Spivak: Welcome gentlemen. Well, shall we get started?


Foucault:  It has come to my understanding that we are here to bring upon an activist movement to this college to help out the minorities in gaining a bigger voice in the student government body. I think that this is a great idea!


Fanon : I do agree, we shall start off by analyzing why the student government mainly holds positions with Caucasian males. I say, there’s seems to be some type of inferiority complex with the minority groups in the school. It seems that their collective unconsciousness may have encountered some type of psychological trauma. As I stated in my book, “Back skins, Whites Masks”, there is definitely something holding them back from them themselves initiating something.

Foucault: Fanon, as intellectuals it is our job to provide our service. We posses the knowledge to be intellectuals and its is our job to relay this knowledge to the oppressed. We must make this masses rise !


Spivak: Foucault, I feel as though you may be missing the point here. We are not simply here to engrave and brain washes our beliefs into the people, we are only here to help, not take over. Throughout history we have encountered so much epistemic  violence  in the world. Colonization has wiped out most of the genuine western culture that once lived. Hegemonic power has caused so much damage to our world and the last thing I would want is us to be a part of it.


Fanon: I agreed with you Gayatri. The white man has subconsciously caused the black man to lose himself and surrender to his ideologies. I once stated in my book that once a group comes in with an idea /belief and finds himself faced with an opposition of his known truth, he quickly disregards this other belief without any second thought to it. This is where racism, prejudice and many other things come into play.


Spivak: yes Fanon, you are certainty right. The ones who belief themselves superior to the “others” , often go out colonizing the “others”, praising themselves with the right intentions. The truth is that they often try to impose their new knowledge as intellectuals with an underlying hunger for financial reasons. In my book, “Can the Subaltern Speak”, I use the subaltern as a n example of how these groups are treated with such indignity. Often they are forced into new beliefs that are recklessly imposed on them by these so called intellectuals. Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to act as teachers and give guidance to these who need us. We are not here to act as a dictatorship. We all have the common goal to open the eyes of those that have been treated unequal and unfairly.It is apparent in our works that we hold great intentions for the world. As sociologists  we are here to fix society and better the circumstances we find it in.


Foucault: yes, I do believe we can achieve something great. We are here to provide the knowledge, and I know I did not mention this in my work, that we are here not to just pour out knowledge , but to also listen to other knowledge and integrate the two.

Exam Two: Knowledge Production and Post-Structuralism

Dear Diary,

I went to dinner with my family tonight and my aunt and uncle joined us from out of town. It was nice to sit down and talk to everyone together since it’s been so long since I’ve been away at school for so many years. We had some interesting conversations and since my majors are both pretty vague, my uncle asks me what I want to do after I finish college. I told him I didn’t exactly know but I also told him about how I was thinking of being an intellection in my field. He told me he had no idea what this meant.

I tried to explain that an intellectual person is a person who thinks about ideas, someone who also talks about, teaches and spreads ideas too. I deans then, turn into theories. I thought back on how intellectuals are the people in society who help bring ideas that then bring about change- we don’t necessarily apply these ideas but we help uncover them.

I spoke to my family about this French guy, Foucalt and how he reshaped our modern thought on what it means to be an intellectual. Foucalt described regimes of truth that those in power create and maintain and how the work of intellectuals is to dismantle and create alternatives to these structures of power. Then I told them along French guy, they were pretty popular at the time, I guess. Deluze spoke about how roles and conflicts that came with being an intellectual. Deluze said that an intellectual is not necessarily aligned or representative of what the consciousness is –which then becomes problematic in today’s societies because individuals cannot relate to them but then Foucalt added that intellectuals in today’s world need to struggle and stand next to those fighting and struggling against regimes of power truth and thus oppression in order to really create substantial change.

I could tell they were overwhelmed after I explained everything but my aunt was impressed, then I told them about ideas and concepts and those are important too! Body without Organs was hard to explain at first but I told them about an actual human body and how it relates to it in its parts as well as a whole, then I tried to make them put that into our own society and existence. We are born and immediately we are ourselves but also part of society and it tells us how to be and how to do everything. Our organization, organism directs us its whole. BwO tells us that we are never individuals and we can never rebel because we are always a representation of what society tells us –counter culture is still something that the organization makes and when we refuse or say “no” we do this because our body tells us and our body has a language(of the whole) so we can never be anything other than ourselves, there is no such thing. This BwO theory was super difficult to explain but I think they got it. Eventually they got that I want to think about theories and how the world works and how it’s something admirable and worthwhile especially when we discussed what Foucalt meant when he and Deluze had their own conversation about intellectuals.

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.