Exam 1

I was at a high school reunion this past weekend with my good friend, Louis Althusser, from English class. We were chatting up on how things have been going until we heard a loud voice. This voice belonged to the class clown (at least he used to be).

“I’m so over this capitalism thing. I don’t follow itand I definitely won’t be fooled by them. I’m so much better off out of the public school system. Thanks goodness my kids are at a private Catholic school and not getting brainwashed by what the government wants.”

Upon hearing we cannot help but laugh. Religion is another part of the ideological state apparatuses. by Sending his children to a private Catholic school does not make things any more different than public school. He continues,

“My kids don’t wear those fancy Nike shoes and Abercrombie clothes, just uniforms. They are going to grow up to be independent individuals and not follow those so called trends.”

Althusser responds to him, “By purchasing them their uniforms, and paying tuition for their education at an institution, is that not contributing to capitalism? Surely, the uniforms have been produced in a factory somewhere. The school runs in accordance with the government regulations in order to teach children the required curriculum. You are doing exactly what you deny-buying into the ideology of capitalism. ”

Angry and embarrassed, he storms out of the room. Perhaps he is going to save his children from the evil brainwashing institutions,

Advertisements

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.

Goodnight

Jasbir Puar, Mrs. Clinton, Homantionalism, and Pink washing

Im posting what I think was most important from this article: If you are intereted in reading the full article a link is also provided :

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/3560/gay-rights-as-human-rights_pinkwashing-homonationa

 

Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism

 

In her speech Secretary Clinton was, perhaps unknowingly, reproducing this generative alienation between political and human rights. She emphasized that LGBTQs everywhere had the same rights to love and have sex with whomever they choose as partners, and to do so safely. In making this statement, she reiterated a central tenet of what Jasbir Puar names homonationalism: the idea that LGBTQs the world over experience, practice, and are motivated by the same desires, and that their politics are grounded in an understanding that ties 1) the directionality of their love and desire into a stable identity and 2) that stable identity into the grounds from which one speaks and makes political claims. Secretary Clinton suggested that queers everywhere, whether white or black, male or female or transgendered, soldier or civilian, rich or poor, Palestinian or Israeli, can be comprehended and interpellated through the same rights framework. But the content of what she she calls “gay rights” is informed by the experiences and histories of (namely white gay male) queers in the United States, and thus there is an emphasis on visibility and identity politics and an elision of the class and political struggles that animate the lives of the majority of the third world’s heterosexual and homosexual populations. Thus detached from its locality, “gay rights” can travel internationally not only as a vehicle for normative homo-nationalism, but as a vehicle for neoliberal ways of producing politics and subjects more broadly.

Of course, as Clinton said, homosexuality is not an export from “the west.” Homosexuality is not like Coca Cola or Cheerios. It is not diasporic, in that it has a fixed origin point that then is spread throughout the rest of the world, even if it is true that what it means to identify today as homosexual is historic and emerges at its apex within the transition from the civil rights era, through the GRID/ AIDS killing zones, to the era of liberal identity politics in the United States. Furthermore, non-Western people who identify as homosexual through a homo-national narrative or through the consumption of homonational products are not somehow “inauthentic.” They are markers of the reality that we live within a world that is increasingly connected through the movement of people, capital and information yet increasingly stratified across class and political lines. We live in a world of rights and in a world where the female and/or queer gendered body (but never, we should note, the male heterosexual body) has become a political anchor. This success story did not begin with homonationalism, which is only one of its latest railways stations. Homonationalism is not the end goal of a conspiratorial “gay international,” rather, it is only one aspect of the reworking of the world according to neoliberal logics that maintain not only the balance of of power between states, but also within them. In fact, homonationalism produces normative homosexuality in the same fashion that normative “heterosexuality” continues to be shaped and regulated internationally through the interventions of human rights corporations, international funding and research agencies, and the foreign and domestic policies of states. Thus the The World Bank, The UNDP, Human Rights Watch, and the US State Department together project ideal modes of heterosexuality by promoting “adult” ages of consent, educated, employed and (re) productive couples, and love/choice, non kin and non arranged marriages that mimic the model of “stranger sociality” at large. Within a neoliberal framework, all of these are not seen as “political interventions” but merely policy recommendations. Clinton’s speech fits neatly into this project by isolating “gay rights” as rights to identity, from “political justice,” understood as the continuos participation in the reconfiguration of power and the grammar of life that it licenses. To act within a framework of political justice implies an acceptance to play the role of agitator, an acceptance to act in the spaces that human rights cannot and will not capture for both disciplinary and political reasons. It is to act knowing that you will never achieve your goals, but that you will play a role in pushing the cause of justice forward even if, by definition, justice can never be achieved because it is constantly moving. It is a positionality, not a position. As Arendt once explained, political activism is acting with the knowledge that you will fail, but that you care enough to act under this signature of immanent failure.

Let’s take the case of Palestine, which, as activists and academics have recently highlighted, is being subjected to a pinkwashing campaign by the Israeli government. Here, a focus on “gay rights” or “women’s rights” as opposed to “political justice” in fact repeats a colonial distinction made by a British mandate between two populations, a Jewish one that would have rights to a homeland, and a non-Jewish (the word Palestinian was not used) one that was to enjoy full civil rights. In the British mandate for Palestine, no mention was made of non-Jews’ political rights, an omission which in hindsight we understand to be informed by the attempt to continue to deny the indigenous people of Palestine self determination, while promising them that they practice of life (as separate from politics) would continue without discrimination. Today, the promise of “gay rights” for Palestinian goes something like this: The United States will protect your right to not be detained because as a gay, but will not protect you from being detained because you are Palestinian. As a queer, you have the right to love and have sex with whomever you choose safely and without discrimination, but you do not have the right to be un-occupied, or to be free from oppression based on your political beliefs, actions, and affiliations. As long as it is Arabo-Islamic culture and its manifestation through (Palestinian) law that is oppressing you, we are here for you. If you are being oppressed by Israeli colonial policies, you’re on your own. As long as you confine your politics to your sexuality, and you speak as a queer subaltern in a language of rights that we understand (because we wrote it) we are here for you. One is tempted to call the production of such a narrow and reductive framework through which queers are to become politically legible an exercise in homophobia.

Many progressive critics miss the point that pinkwashing, the process by which the government of Israel attempts to promote itself as a safe haven for Palestinian queers from “their culture,” is not primarily about gay rights or homosexuality at all. Pinkwashing only makes sense as a political strategy within a discourse of Islamophobia and Arabophobia, and it is part of a larger project to anchor all politics within the axis of identity, and identitarian (and identifiable) groups. Thus critics of pinkwashing who assume an international queer camaraderie repeat a central tenet of homonationalism: homosexuals should  be in solidarity with and empathize with each other because they are homosexual. Sarah Schulman recently wrote in the New York Times about the dangers of “the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.” One should ask why white gays are seen as always being co-opted by these forces, rather than as active producers of and willing participants in racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. If queer activists in Palestine have taught us anything, it is that not all homosexuals are allies or potential allies. A gay Israeli in a military uniform is both an enemy and a target of anti-occupation politics, just as a gay Zionist in the United States is an enemy of the Palestinian cause and the cause of queer Palestinians because they are rooted within that Palestinian national cause. The idea that Euro-American gays must be appealed to on the basis of their sexuality by others who share their sexuality partakes in the the alienation of both sexuality from politics and of “queer Palestinians” from their non-queer selves and communities. It also panders to and reproduces a homonational argument that Euro-American gays are more likely to respond if they are addressed by an indigenous gay that, preferably, speaks about the Palestinian cause in the common tongue of LGBTQ rights. Furthermore, Schulman’s argument rests on the idea that there is something different, and potentially redemptive, about being gay, and in making this claim she relies on the affective scars of the universalized experience of homophobia. But homophobia is not one thing, nor is it experienced in the same way or to the same extent by homosexuals the world over (because they themselves are not the same thing). Moreover, homophobia could be a less defining experience than say, the racism experienced by an African American queer or a Syrian queer protesting against authoritarianism and neoliberal market restructuring. In fact, the experience of homophobia as the primary discrimination one faces in life is usually the mark of an otherwise privileged existence. For the majority of the people of the world, oppression, to paraphrase Edward Said on culture, is contrapuntual. It moves, is multi-directional, it is adaptive, and it forms a terrain of interconnected injustices

One of the surprising lessons we can learn from the emerging debate on pinkwashing is the extent to which homonationalism has become hegemonic. Both the Israeli government and pinkwatching -not pinkwashing- activists partake in different aspects of homonationalism because they must in order to be heard by the same intended audience: white gays who have economic and political resources. Pinkwatching-not pinkwashing – activists, in trying to counter Israel’s attempt to mobilize gay rights discourses to justify their brutal military occupation and ongoing policies of colonial settlement, teach us all a bitter lesson. Groups that try to counter pinkwashing by engaging in what they call pinkwatching, like PQBDSAl-Qaws, and Pinkwatching Israel, try to strategically deploy homonationalism in order to include within it notions of political and economic justice for all Palestinians. They walk the precarious line between the daily realities of LGBTQ discrimination and oppression and the dangers of separating and elevating that particular discrimination over the terrain of interconnected oppressions that forms, in part, what it means to be Palestinian. They show us that the language of gay rights in the Arab world is a double bind: we must use it in order to achieve restitution from very real, and very immediate oppression, but as we use this language it mobilizes us in a struggle to transform questions of social, political, and economic justice into claims of discrimination. This discrimination, in turn, can only be addressed by nation states or by international political bodies that are actively involved in oppressing our peoples, our families and loved ones, and the parts of us that not captured by the LGBTQ paradigm. We cannot “choose” to not be who we have become, but we must recognize how we have been formed as neoliberal rights seeking and speaking bodies, and how this formation is linked to a history of depoliticization and alienation. In other words, we must be both tactical and skeptical when this language reaches to embrace us, and when we, as activists and as academics, use it ourselves. We must find ways to critically inhabit this homonational world and try, always, to act within the uncomfortable and precarious line between rights and justice.

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.