In Whose Name We (Cannot) Speak: Of Sojourner Truth and “Experience” as Starting Point for Living and Considering the Political Subject
Summary / Abstract: This paper investigates the political subject of African American women created on the social constructions and experiences of the black female body. Based on a genealogy of the African American women’s identity, its main focus is to define the formation of black subjectivity on the supposed gender/race axis, as opposed to the single gender or single race axis in which identity politics have traditionally been anchored. The paper will analyse the theoretical dealings with the body in black feminist writing placing black feminist scholarship in the forefront and their particular theoretical interpretations with the categories of gender and race, which draw heavily on gendered black experience. Historically this experience is based in slavery and the particularities of being a black woman, during and in the aftermath of slavery. Applying an intersectional approach which assumes that the experiences of women are a complex interrelation of gender/sex/class/ race realities, the paper investigates the limits and potentials of identity politics and politics of difference respectively, for African American women, as well as the implications of using the category of experience as the starting point of subjectivity.
“The Love of Women, Kind as well as Cruel”: Feminist Alliances and Contested Spaces in Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
Summary / Abstract: Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name is a politically engaged feminist work reflecting Lorde’s activism and dedication to social transformation. This essay reads Zami as a compelling and visionary text relevant for numerous contemporary concerns surrounding whiteness and its pervasiveness, erasure of black women’s voices, intersectionality and forming feminist alliances across differences. Drawing on Victoria Burrows’ elaboration of ambivalence as resistance to fixture and closure, the essay investigates Lorde’s portrayals of women’s networks and alliances as contested spaces. The essay highlights the ways in which Lorde utilises difference and ambivalence to capture the challenges in forming feminist alliances and invite dialogue, engagement and social action. I maintain that Lorde’s emphasis on embracing differences is premised upon dismantling and de-centering whiteness and its oppressive reproduction in feminist politics. This in turn enables a truly intersectional and transformational feminist activism built on multiplicities. The essay concludes that the biomythography resists closure and prescription and enables spaces of negotiation and critical thinking, allowing for mutual recognition, dialogue and growth.
Modernist Features in Ksenija Atanasijević’s Philosophical Fragments and Essays
Summary / Abstract: Much of the published work of the early 20th century philosopher Ksenija Atanasijević possesses many literary and artistic features. This paper analyses the literary characteristics of Ksenija Atanasijević’s essays, focusing on their modernist poetics and techniques. These include form and fragmentarity, the dissolution of identity with its unchangeable core, time and the structures of consciousness. In the final part of the paper, Ksenija Atanasijević’s essay “An Eye for an Eye... Regarding Hitler’s Persecution of Jews” is analysed in comparison to Virginia Woolf ’s essay “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown”.
Keywords: Ksenija Atanasijević, modernist poetics, Virginia Woolf
Enduring Schooling: Against Noise, and in the Service of the Remix
Summary / Abstract: In an age increasingly oblivious of the role of education as a means of genuine exchange, the threat of pervasive corporatization seems to overshadow the distinctions between individualism and individuality, uniformity and unity, to name just a few instances of noise in the communication channel. Thus, there is an indisputable need for sustaining the awareness about at least two vital aspects of education. One concerns its authentic characteristic of conveying information, while the other is considered within the context of societal institutions. Both are in a certain way related to the relationship between the communal and the individual. Both imply education heavily relying on the common currency of exchange between and among humans: language. As such, it is integral to the mutually conditioning relationship between discourse and cultural realities. In the dominance-ridden, ruthlessly accelerated world in pursuit of sweeping commoditization, a hostile climate of mindless competitiveness and unscrupulous utilitarianism, strangely coupled with the myth of progress and accruement of knowledge for its own sake, more often than not appears to be infinitely more a recognizable vocabulary than that of the gift. Reading novels of Lee Rourke and Irvine Welsh through the prism of cultural critique of McKenzie Wark, Jon Savage, Michael Bracewell, Paul Virilio and Terry Eagleton casts light on the potential of the remix as a form of peaceful/peaceable resistance against oppression, and in the service of communal cohesion. It opens up an avenue for the community of learners to think a possibility for reshifting onto the hic & nunc / anticarpediem pattern. It disambiguates bewildering noise in the battlefields of the struggle for power, thereby elucidating the significance of unity and individuality within the questlike endeavors such as education.
Keywords: education, information, cultural realities, resistance, humbleness, language, communication, the remix
Cultural Studies and Anthropology: Clash of the Titans or Narcissism of Small Differences?
Summary / Abstract: This paper discusses the relationship between social (or cultural) anthropology and cultural studies. During the crisis of representation in the 1980s, anthropology rediscussed its own theoretical positions becoming aware of its political and epistemological positions which pushed the discipline towards the growing trends in cultural studies. This opened up anthropology to various theoretical paradigms that did not originate in the anthropology itself (such as theory of deconstruction, various theories of agency and so on), while at the same time, anthropology still got tied to ethnography as it is core methodological principle. In the meantime, cultural studies lost the political edge they had at a time when it seemed that “cultural studies will be the death of anthropology” facing the crisis of critique, and it seems that it is time for cultural studies to take a look at anthropology. That does not mean that “anthropology will be the death of cultural studies”, but rather that cultural studies can meet anthropology through the dialogue with current anthropological paradigms that seem rather distant from the current trends in cultural studies. Primarily, I believe that so-called ontological turn in anthropology deals with radical cultural alterity and calls for the rethinking of current epistemological and political positions in social sciences. Regardless of the position one takes for/against those theoretical developments, the dialogue between these two disciplines should open up space for a new critical rethinking of the contemporary world.
Keywords: cultural studies, anthropology, crisis of representation, crisis of critique, ontological turn
Neoliberalization of the Absolute Spirit: Spiritual Micro-Resistances as Market Mechanisms of Interpellation
Summary / Abstract: In this paper we examine the cultural and political implications of liberal spirituality, which is an integral part of the habitus in postmodern civil society. Considering it as a factor of socio-economic reproduction in contemporary liberal-democracies, we support the hypothesis that there is a functional relation between postmodern spirituality and social-material processes of neoliberalization. In certain respects, as an organic combination of New Age spirituality and neo-liberal philosophy, it provides an ideational environment for market economy, mechanisms of diverting social tensions and, ultimately, ideological justification of the negative effects of contemporary capitalism.
Keywords: capitalism, cult, market, spirituality, neoliberalism, New Age, guilt
Summary / Abstract: This paper seeks to answer the question of why the presence of more women in legislative bodies does not necessarily result in policies that are gender sensitive and receptive to women? Do women really represent women’s interests in Parliament and, if so, how? After examining the works of authors primarily from English-speaking countries, who have most seriously dealt with the issue of representation of women in politics, I analyze different approaches to the definition and types of political representation, with special emphasis on the relationship between descriptive and substantive, passive and active representation. The results of a large number of studies in this field are compared, with particular reference to the current representation theory - the critical mass, supply and demand, political presence, strategic partnership and critical actors.
Keywords: women, political institutions, political parties, political representation
Concepts of Masculinity and the Politics of Pride in Serbia
Summary / Abstract: The paper examines possibilities of the politics of Pride in Serbia to question ‘natural’ interest of heterosexual men to defend the homophobic gender order. Seen as an inherent part of masculine identity, this interest does not exist beyond the male gender role. Homophobia refl ects male loyalty to their gender. However, many men are exposed to gender repression. Revealing repressiveness of male gender role has subversive potential, which has not been recognized within the politics of Pride in Serbia. Masculinities, as different models of male bonds to their gender, are important factors in establishing extent of (un)livable forms of existence. Defining feminism as a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression, bell hooks argues that feminism gives men opportunity for liberation from the constraints of patriarchy. There is a wide range of feminist theories and actions pointing to different forms of gender representations which conceal gender repression as culturally invisible. Nevertheless, feminist critique and problematization of gender relations has not been translated into public campaigns of Pride initiatives in Serbia. Their activities are aimed to create political will within the existing system of gender power, rather than to undermine gender framed homophobic culture in society. In order to contribute to the development of Pride policies, this paper analyzes engagement of such politics in problematizing different masculine models in Serbia. Pride initiatives have more access to media and public sphere than the feminist movement has ever had. They should take advantage of that position and assert the issue of gender oppression as relevant within political and public debates. One of the basic goals of that debate is to confront heterosexual men in Serbia with the price they pay for being loyal to their homophobic gender roles and preserving the system which restricts their own life opportunities.