The Godly Ilongga as Performative and Surplus: A Textual Analysis of Flores ni Maria Santisima
When Iloilo opened its port for world trade in 1855, it retained its traditional religious practices while capitalism invigorated its economy. Through pastoral technologies, Flores ni Maria Santisima textually produced the godly Ilongga as a subject that fitted capitalism because of her surplus value in both domestic and spiritual spheres. Nevertheless, despite the disciplinary practices on the self, the performance of the godly Ilongga remains an attempt to replicate the category.
Implicitly Political: The Aesthetics of Jean Rhys's Voyage in the Dark
This article discusses the complex interpenetrations of Rhys's particular version of modernist aesthetics with ideology reproduction and ideology critique. The story of Rhys's heroine, a socially debased and culturally displaced young woman, gives rise to a critique of early 20th century patriarchal capitalism. The novel in question is seen to possess and disseminate an implicitly political aesthetics that can be seen to provide an interesting contrast to the urgent callings for politically committed writing in 1930s England, and to challenge certain stereotypes often attached to High Modernism, such as deliberate obscurity and insularity. The article analyzes specific aesthetic traits that define Voyage in the Dark and in particular the language of Rhys's heroine: a language that is intimately bound to affect and memory, seemingly insular but arguably of socio-political import. Anna's marginalization and her inability to reconcile her Dominican past with her present in metropolitan London are inextricably linked with her sullen dissent and sharp critical eye. The enabling 'contrapuntal awareness' Edward Said has associated with exilic experience might not apply to Voyage in the Dark; yet, an acute, morose discontent vis-à-vis patriarchal and capitalist structures manifests itself through Anna's narrative and, in all, through Voyage in the Dark's socio-politically charged aesthetics.
Medical Histories, Queer Futures: Imaging and Imagining 'Abnormal' Corporealities
This paper explores the political and epistemic work done by ostensibly denotative and reproducible imaging technologies in the process of establishing a scientific concept of sexual dimorphism. Beginning with an account of the prehistory of medical gender assignation in cases of intersexuality, it examines medical photographs of queer corporealities in order to ask after the political and epistemological work done by these images as well as the politics of biomedicine traceable in the orchestration of these images. Building upon Foucault's writing on hermaphroditism and Thomas Laqueur's work on the decline of a 'one-sex' (1990) system of sex intelligibility, it pairs these insights with Deleuze and Guattari's theorization of the function of faciality in the service of subjective biunivocalization (1987) in order to examine the function of the black bar or blurred face in medical photography. I argue that this trope of medical photodocumentation works to both secure the authority of the medical practitioner as modest witness (Haraway 1997) as well as place the queer body imaged in an ontological caesura while proper – that is, male or female – subjecthood is adjudicated upon. This tropology of desubjectivation is often coupled, in the medical photography of queer corporealities, with what Linda Williams has called the 'principle of maximum visibility,' visually indexed by perspectival multplication. While Williams theorizes this principle in the context of an analysis of pornography, this paper maps a certain consanguinity between medical photography and pornography insofar as both seek to image certain heretofore ineluctable 'truths' of sex.
The Politics of Ugliness
This essay responds to the dearth of analytic work on 'ugliness', arguing that ugliness is primarily a political category, one which denotes and marks patterns of privilege. Employing feminist critiques of 'beauty', I explore the ways in which beauty/ugliness map onto hierarchical binaries such as race, class, gender, age, and ability, and discuss three types of bodies, which have come to be regarded as 'ugly' in our culture – the unaltered body, the monstrous body, and the dirty body. In my final section, by way of Butler's performativity and Derrida's deconstruction, I suggest techniques for strategic feminist deployments of ugliness. These include the mere presence of ugliness in certain spaces, the excessive deployment of performative ugliness, and the act of productive self-naming.
The Politics of Monstrosity: Giant Bodies and Behaviour in Classical and Renaissance Literature and Art
This paper will examine gigantomachies involving the Gigantes and Hekatoncheires in order to explore the relationship between monstrous bodies and monstrous behaviour in Greco-Roman antiquity and the Renaissance. Concerns about the relationship of body form to socially or morally unacceptable behaviour can be seen in the literature and art of Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance, which characterize monsters by their bodies and actions. I will discuss the presentation of the Gigantes and Hekatoncheires, endeavouring to show that the relationship between body and behaviour was perceived to be a two-way process: body informs behaviour, but behaviour also informs the body. My approach makes use of the contemporary body theory of McNally, Shilling, and Turner, taking what they say about modern bodies in society and applying it to fictional monstrous bodies.
Moral interpretation gains the impious Gigantes a hybrid form in later literature and art, suggesting that the hybrid form is conceptually linked to socially/morally unacceptable behaviour. In contrast, the Hekatoncheires are many-limbed giants who begin on the side of the gods in Greek myth. However, their role is inverted in Augustan literature, suggesting a specific political and moral interpretation of their bodies. Thus, the changing presentation both of the bodies of the Gigantes to fit their monstrous behaviour, and of the behaviour of the Hekatoncheires to fit their monstrous bodies, aptly demonstrates the two sides of the relationship between body and behaviour and the politics of monstrosity in the cultural and social contexts of antiquity and the Renaissance.
An exploration of the use of colonial discourse within Mustafa Sa'eed's interracial relationships in Season of Migration to the North
The mirroring of Mustafa's life with the era of British colonization suggests that Tayeb Salih is writing to explore how cultural history and international politics affects the formation and understanding of colonial identity. By choosing to dramatize these turbulent connections through the depiction of colonial interracial relationships, Salih forces the reader to question the extent to which the colonial categorizations of race can ever be totally challenged.
I will first argue that whilst Mustafa's European partners seemingly overcome racial tensions through their involvement with an African male, their employment of colonial discourse reveals their inability to detach themselves from colonial conciousness. I will also examine how Mustafa invokes the use of colonial discourse in order to maintain colonial categorizations within his relationship. By doing so, he is able to catalogue his lovers as part of the oppressive West, which he believes he must fight against. Mustafa's use of colonial discourse to ground his partners identities in essentialist difference can thus be seen as a political strategy. Mustafa's eventual rejection of his European lovers can therefore be interpreted as a metaphorical rejection of the West on behalf of Africa. For Mustafa and his European partners, colonial discourse is thus similarly employed as a method to differentiate oneself from a person of an opposing race, highlighting the inescapability of racial categorizations during the colonial period.