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1. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Alyson Cole, Kyoo Lee Coeditors’ Introduction: Retro III: As We Restart
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2. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Brady Heiner Shackling Pregnant Women: US Prisons, Anti-Blackness, and the Unfinished Project of American Abolition
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This article analyzes the pervasive practice in US carceral institutions of shackling incarcerated pregnant women during childbirth and postpartum. After a review of bioethical, civil, and human rights norms, which widely condemn the practice, I advance an interpretation of the social meaning of shackling imprisoned pregnant women and its persistence despite widespread normative consensus in favor of its abolition. Two arguments regarding the persistence of the practice are considered: (1) that it stems from the unthinking exportation of prison rules to a hospital setting and (2) that it is the product of an androcentric approach to punishment and carceral health care ill-adapted to women’s needs. I argue that these explanatory frameworks are inattentive to the intersecting genealogies of race and gender that are constitutive of the practice. As a result, the prescriptive horizons that these frameworks delineate are inad­equate to the race- and gender-specific task of redress. Drawing from Black feminist theory and Nietzsche, I argue that the practice of shackling impris­oned pregnant women, like many ostensibly race-neutral facets of American mass incarceration, is a sedimentation of slavery that impacts all incarcerated women. The practice is symptomatic of the persistent anti-Blackness of the criminal legal system and the unfinished project of American abolition.
3. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Annette-Carina van der Zaag Touching Wounds: On the Fugitivity of Stigma
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What if our politics are shaped by the texture of wounds rather than the identity of selves? What possible future will have been opened up by posing that very question? I take up Eve Sedgwick’s invitation to begin with stigma “as a near-inexhaustible source of transformational energy” for a transformative queer politics and elaborate Sedgwick’s attention to spoiled identity through Hortense Spiller’s conceptualization of the flesh. The flesh substantiates the grounds for a materialist ontology that begins with stigma, the materiality of the wound, to constitute a transformative politics toward a fugitive elsewhere. Reading Sedgwick and Spillers together opens up a transformative ontological register that spans the material, affective, and fugitive. I argue that the hieroglyphics of the flesh give us knowledge of ourselves and others and the world(s) we have lived through but also invite us to transform who and what we are, how we relate, and what a world might look like where our being is not constituted by fugitive survival. I suggest that such hieroglyphics can be engaged by touching wounds understood as a haptic reading of textures impressed on our embodied being while paying attention to the lines of flight that erupt from the wound.
4. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Ghalya Saadawi Critical Incision: Hypochondria, Autotheory, and the Health-Illness Dialectic
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The hypochondriac feels ill, is reminded they are always ill, and is always told they are never ill because they’re a hypochondriac. They get better, only to read their symptoms as illness again, in a health-illness dialectic that undermines the medical, clinical, or social cure. The social figure of hypochon­dria embodies the relation between the health-illness of the psyche and the health-illness of the world, as a figure of critique and a coming of age with it. By its very structure, hypochondria is a critical incision in the health-illness and mind-body divides, and it is also a metaphor for a broader modern illness. This essay investigates histories of hypochondriacal symptoms and hypochondria as a historical symptom of the modern condition, that birthed it. Additionally, I include autotheoretical fragments—a historically recurring and amenable form to hypochondria—to better theorize hypochondria’s immanent critique of clinical and medical (un)certainty. Foregrounding the contradiction of a body trying to protect and a body trying to kill, a body lived as an outside threat and a body lived as an inside to protect, the hypochondriac becomes a dialectical diagnostician of what it may mean to seek health in sickness if health is not cure but recurring symptom, struggle, and overcoming.
5. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Na-Young Lee Multiple Encounters and Reconstructed Identities: Halmoni Activist-Survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery as Postcolonial Subjects
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This paper explores multiple encounters between activist-survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery (“comfort women” or halmonis, meaning “elderly women” or “grannies” in Korean) and solidarity activists. I mainly focus on the stories of two foundational figures in the ongoing justice campaign for the survivors, both of whom faced that forceful military act (between 1932 and 1945) as teenage girls in colonized Korea, although in dramatically different ways: Yun Chung-ok, a leading scholar and activist who, having managed to escape the fate of many other peers, first spoke out about Japanese military sexual slavery, and Kim Bok-dong, a survivor and human rights activist. This paper will address the multiple encounters and dialogues of memories to resituate subjects, which led to overcoming personal trauma and reaching out to others and continues to drive the redress movement. Drawing on oral history interviews, feminist ethnography, and various documented resources including survivors’ testimonies, which have been archived for around twenty years as part of my own scholar-activist work, I juxtapose these women’s lives to show how a community of responsibility has been formed to decolonize androcentric history. The women involved in the movement for the resolution of the Japanese military sexual slavery issue reinterpreted their experiences as having been formed by imperialism, colonialism, and patriarchy. While caring for and healing with one another, they suggested the possibility of a new subject formation. Through mutually constructed identities, activist-survivors broke away from social stigma and became agents who led transformation of a postcolonial society.
6. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Mieke Bal Moments of Meaning-Making III: G–I
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The three short pieces below are the third set of vignettes in an alphabetically ordered series of entries, which, together, will constitute a non-subject-centered autobiography. Professional memories are merged with personal ones. I call them “vignettes” to underline the fragmentary nature of memory.
7. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Kazim Ali Run Away from History
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8. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Alisse Waterston Just Imagine
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9. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Kyle Dacuyan Memoria
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10. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
David Perry “She Lives in the Temporary”: Bodies without Organs, “Engendered Opposites,” and Dao-Time in Han Bo’s China Eastern Railway Cycle
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Han Bo’s 2011 China Eastern Railway nine-poem cycle begins and ends with the figures of two different women, initiating and then intensifying via the cycle’s structure of a circuit, or loop, a reading of the poems in which conceptual binaries are scrambled and undone. Gender binaries are at the root of the larger structure of binary pairs, and as such gender serves as a particularly intense site of a critique that may be read in coproductive terms by way of both contemporary critical theory and China’s deep philosophical tradi­tions. In this essay’s reading of the poems, modernity—in both Western and Chinese forms—is deconstructed in ways that are legible in terms of aspects of 道 Dao as well as concepts drawn from the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Further in this regard, Kyoo Lee’s analysis of xuanpin (“dark female animal”) in the Daodejing helps bring this deconstructive critique into a space of “ontologically interfused or fermented thoughts” that challenge gender itself as a stable and stabilizing category, positing instead a “contemporized” conception of Dao as ceaseless dynamic flux and flow with respect to gender as well as all received and constructively “natural”-ized binaries. The poems gesture toward a dissolution of conceptual binaries, and further toward a state of generative flux, that is not only obliterative of “modernity” (with an emphasis on time and temporalities) but also radically productive of capacities for new, creative apprehensions and articulations of relations between humankind and nonhuman nature. This analysis has broad application ranging from concrete historical moments and events (the history of the 中东铁路, the China Eastern Railway) to ideological formations, national and civilizational projects and identities, and ongoing planetary ecological crisis. Finally, it points toward possible productive entanglements and fusions of lines of Chinese thought (Dao as an aspect not only of Daoism but also of Confucian thought and, in less direct ways, forms of Chinese Buddhism) with lines of Western philosophical endeavor.
11. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Yuan Gao Equipmentality as United Actor in Han Bo’s China Eastern Railway Poems and Questions of Female Agency
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Trains, a representation of Western technology and civilization, entered China in the early twentieth century. Han Bo poeticizes this train-induced Chinese modernity and its ongoing processes by mobilizing female images and characters on, of, or around the train, itself a complex of technocultural material forces entering into the vision of the modern Chinese people both individually and collectively. This essay analyzes such a train of train images in two poems by Han Bo, “Modern Sexual Equipmentality” and “Mass-Murdering Equipmentality,” while providing a brief contextual and conceptual framework for understanding some of the literary and philosophical aspects of contemporary Chinese poetry with some focus on their gender dynamics.
12. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Yuming Piao Mind the Gaps: Western Modernity, Chinese Feminine Subjectivity, and the Industrial-Rural Divide in Han Bo’s China Eastern Railway Poetics
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“Modern Sexual Organicity” (《现代性器》 Xiàndài Xìngqì) and “Super Killer” (《大杀器》 Dà Shaqì) by Han Bo, which I translate and discuss here, unfold around the poet’s playfully sustained series of observations of the irreconcilable gaps and irreducible dissonances between Western modernity and Chinese contemporaneity. Focusing on the (post)structural dimension of the extreme intricacy and intensity of Han’s language game that polysemically intersects with traditional Chinese poetic moves as well, which itself mirrors the structurally (bi)polarized and gendered social realities in China, this essay highlights the unfused/able figure of the woman, a “farmwoman” on the train in particular, a moving image of precarious mobility, transience, and vitality.
13. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Yizhong Ning A Double Vein of Feminized Anxiety in Modernity and Contemporaneity
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Translating and commenting on two poems by Han Bo, “Modern Organ” and “The Big Killer,” that both focus on techno-scientific modernity and anxiety in the contemporary time and its impact on female subjectivity, this essay reflects on such an asymmetrically gendered burden of modern material progress to show that the embedded and added patriarchal obstacles, undeniably there, should be taken seriously. How, then, to achieve a more balanced gender equality in the modern time is a question that remains challenging for all.
14. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Dong Sun The Song of the Body: Subjectless Interfacing
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Retro-writing has ethical implications. How a speaking subject applies a retro-perspective frames a piece of writing within certain cultural discourses. In contemporary Chinese poetry, cultural nostalgia and the attempted revival of ancient aesthetics is a complex issue, one that is largely the result of a general interest in cultural archeology, writers’ anxiety of influence, the desire to escape from various political pressures, and the claim of a need for a distinc­tive Chinese cultural identity. The subject in many contemporary Chinese poems, in many cases, is a male subject striving to retrieve the premodern holistic state of being, which is illusory. Han Bo’s two poems “Modern Sex Machine” and “Mass(ive) Killing Machine” are unique in that they examine the bludgeoning of modernity within postmodern parameters and attempt to map the dynamics of modern and contemporary subjecthood, which is in fact a transcorporeal experience of the subject as that which is, ultimately, subjectless. Such work, in creating a cross-corporeal subjectless subject, embraces alterity and renders possibilities for the reader to reject a prior unitary transcendental subject that is illusory, and thereby to discover the beings of themselves and their roles in the world—and to extend this work of reconfiguring subjecthood from literature into other aspects of social life.
15. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Han Bo, Chen Xiaoyu The Way That Splits beneath Heaven
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In the Chinese cultural imaginary, the road (Dao, “way”), especially trade routes, has always been an important metaphor for changing circum­stances including shifting ideological grounds. Its own life trajectory is both classical and contemporary, and its emergence predates the trains, nation-states, sovereign powers, and so on, all such signs of techno-political modernity at work. Also in that regard, spiritually inflected images of the “West Heaven,” also an old name for India, where Buddhism originated, have always been present in East Asian cultural spheres, which, in turn, points to the presence of a deeper Eurasian world connected through the Middle East as well. Now, however, quite strikingly, such global conceptual structures, long part of the evolving Chinese cultural tradition too, are being rapidly localized and recast into something else. For example, in China, Buddhism, a religion fundamentally critical of idol worshipping, has become pantheistic, and the political ideas that originally promoted equality newly patriarchal. For those living along the China Eastern Railway tracks in the twenty-first century, all such ideologies have become part of a tensional fight of gods in which they, too, are caught: on one hand they long for a linear progression of society that would never turn back, but on the other hand they are reluctant to abandon the self-comforting theory of reincarnation. This is also how they come to praise the imported concept of the motherland while worshipping figures of traditional patriarchal power.
book reviews
16. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Bernabé S. Mendoza Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World
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17. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Trevor Norris Helen Palmer, Queer Defamiliarisation: Writing, Mattering, Making Strange
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18. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Shannon Hoff Mary C. Rawlinson, The Betrayal of Substance: Death, Literature, and Sexual Difference in Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit”
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19. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1/2
Alyson Cole, Kyoo Lee Coeditors’ Introduction: Retro II: To Us To-Day
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20. philoSOPHIA: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1/2
Sara Ishii Applying Gloria Anzaldúa’s Creative Works to Speculative Realism: Bridging Jane Bennett’s Vital Materialism and Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Philosophy
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In a 1983 interview with Christine Weiland, Gloria Anzaldúa posited that human and nonhuman connectivity exists outside hierarchical arrangements. Some twenty years after Anzaldúa’s interview, the “Speculative Turn” emerged in continental philosophy which critiques anthropocentrism in modern philosophy and reconceptualizes nonhuman subjectivity. While Anzaldúa’s scholarship addresses core issues that are highlighted by the speculative turn, little scholarship exists that places her into conversation with these new trajectories in continental philosophy. In this essay, I aim to contribute to this nascent scholarship and explore the question, How can Anzaldúa’s creative work contribute to and expand scholarship of the speculative turn? I investigate how Anzaldúa’s work can help bridge connections between differing veins of speculative turn thought, specifically Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy (OOP) and Jane Bennett’s vital materialism (VM). Conversations between Harman and Bennett demonstrate a split in understanding nonhuman autonomy and relationality and represent incompatibilities between OOP and VM. Interested in these departures, I posit that Anzaldúa’s creative works, such as poetry and drawing, offer ways to challenge problematic human/nonhuman relations and bridge philosophical divides within the speculative turn.