4, NUMBER 2 BACK
War in Kosovo/a: (In)Visible Bodies and the Dilemma of Photojournalism
This paper examines the paradox
faced by photojournalists in capturing ethnic violence through an
analysis of news reports by Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News &
World Report of the NATO bombings in Serbia and Kosovo/a. Photographs
of innocent refugees in desolate conditions compellingly establish
the value of documenting ethnic violences. Yet, news reports compromise
such documentation by ignoring the regional and transnational causes
of this war. More than elision, though, is at stake. Rather, featured
photographs of mothers and children, as metonyms of victimization,
mobilize ideals of gender, ethnicity, and embodiment to justify
military intervention. Given the urgency of publicizing ethnic violence,
though, we must go beyond critiques of photojournalism to explore
alternative representations. Melanie Friend's photo-installation,
Homes and Gardens/Documenting the Invisible: Photographs from Kosovo,
juxtaposes oral testimonies by Albanians Kosovars with photographs
of tranquil domestic scenes. Through a comparison of American photo-reportage
and Homes and Gardens, the role of in/visibility in national and
transnational discourses about ethnic conflict, gendered violence,
and embodiment is examined.
Racial House, Big House,
Home: Contemporary Abolitionism in Toni Morrison's Paradise
Toni Morrison's novel Paradise
is read through the lens of contemporary prison abolitionism in
this essay. Although the Texas Prison system banned Morrison's Paradise
on the grounds that it contains racial information "designed
to achieve a breakdown of prisons through inmate disruption,"
the novel actually challenges carceral logic on both sides of the
prison fence and undermines prisons' current status as a primary
means of managing social problems. Furthermore, Paradise helps to
expand our collective political and legal imaginations by rescripting
the narrative of Christian sacrifice.
"I Cannot Find
Her": The Oriental Feminine, Racial Melancholia, and Kimiko
Hahn's The Unbearable Heart
The essay investigates the status
of the Asian American female subject in Kimiko Hahn's book The Unbearable
Heart. American-born and –raised, this Asian American woman
is ostensibly a legitimate citizen-subject of the U.S. nation-state,
a legible subject of modernity. We find, however, that this subject
of modernity and nation nevertheless remains haunted by a spectral
other of modernity. The production of the Asian American female
as a modern, racial subject of the U.S. nation-state produces a
remainder, and it is this haunting remainder that is analyzed as
the oriental feminine.
Hahn's poetics of racial melancholia offer alternative temporalities
and epistemologies of nation and modernity. In posting a racialized
national subject haunted by the specter of colonialism, Hahn ultimately
exposes the encrypted secret of U.S. nation-statehood as imperialism.
Hahn's hauntology of orientalism punctures the myths of American
exceptionalism, revealing the disavowed imperialism and racism at
the heart of American nationalism.
Art Essay: Post-partum
Blues I & II , Consanguinidad Virtual / Virtual Consanguinity
Post-partum Blues, Part One:
The Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care
introduced this past February (2003) meant to provide research and
for women with postpartum depression points to the inadequate existing
research on Postpartum conditions. There is some consensus on categories
frequency. Current definitions outline three subgroups: 'baby blues,'
is an extremely common and the less severe form of postpartum depression;
'postpartum mood' and anxiety disorders, which are more severe than
blues and can occur during pregnancy and anytime within the first
the infant's birth; and 'postpartum psychosis,' which is the most
form of postpartum depression and can occur during pregnancy and
twelve months after delivery. Despite the fact that at least 80%
of women in
the U.S. suffer from postpartum conditions, the causes of postpartum
depression are unknown at this time. Some of the prevailing theories
the steep and rapid drop in hormone levels after childbirth paired
socio-psychological causes such as lack of family and societal support.
In my own postpartum case, the stark contrast between extended family
embroidered in childhood memories on one hand and the present limited
nuclear family model from this culture on the other, became the
which post-partum blues lingered.
In my post-partum blues painting series, I introduce postpartum
oblique and non-pathologized angle; it is addressed with humor -a
teething rings and blue toy truck tracks- while set in dialogue
questions of gender which puncture cultural boundaries.
Post-partum Blues, Part Two:
Note: All quotes are from titles of paintings.
A new series of paintings conceived post-partum: Post-partum Blues.
viscous umbilical cord was unexpectedly blue, a connecting blue
wondered whether the performance of his gender was already inscribed
blue?how will he play? how will he groom? how will he deal with
pain? But of
course, performance of blue is not merely a "Guy Thing"
- after all, some of
most celebrated blues singers were women. And my post-partum blues
own distinctly musical nuance, a polyrhythmic complexity that defied
clinical taxonomies of post-partum depression and baby blues.
In post-partum blues I am at play with
the language of abstraction. But I am
not monolingual. I indulge in the possibilities of abstract polyvocity,
joining disparate languages and making strange bed partners: personal
feminism and universal formalism, pixels and teething rings*, combs
trucks with paint.
And painting with parenting - though
they were surprised to find that they
in fact had a lot in common. Freud's views on art and motherhood
painting and parenting both live within the ongoing battles between
super-ego's attempts at "Combing the Unruly," its obsession
lines, pixelation and repetitive structures; and the id's insistence
pleasure derived from being "Out of Line" and from the
unashamed Eros, who
dwells in the facticity of paint, the sensuality of hue.
Some viewers may choose to infer
references to any or all of the blue guys
in the great history of Western Art; for others with contemporary
buds, "Guy Thing" will recall Rauschenberg's "Automobile
Tire Print." Such
connections, while quite logical, are entirely coincidental.
Andrea L. Humphrey
Introduction to a conference
at the nexus of pedagogy and activism New ngland Women’s Studies
Asscoiation’s (NEWSA) conference at Suffolf University’s
Law School, March 20, 2003.
Challenges of Feminist
Citizenship: An Interview with Anannya Bhattacharjee
1996 article, "The Public/Private Mirage: Mapping Homes and
Undomesticating Violence Work in the South Asian Immigrant Community,"
opened up new ways to think about women in community and the link
between enforcement violence as manifested by private and public
actors. This interview with her was conducted in New York City on
June 6, 2003.
in Terrible Times: The Strategic Value of Human Rights for Transnational
The author discusses her personal relationship to humans rights
work after a life-time of activism, and the shifts that have occurred
in human rights activism and understanding in recent history. Like
transnational anti-racist feminism, human rights offer the vision
of a world in which every one of us is fed, housed, clothed, educated,
and secure from discrimination, dislocation, or abuse.
in a Movement Strategy: The Economic Human Rights-Pennsylvania Campaign
The Kensington Welfare Rights
Union (KWRU) is a membership organization of poor and homeless families
and others, like me, who are not currently living in poverty but
know that it can and must be ended. KWRU is the lead organization
in the Poor People’s Economic Human Right’s Campaign
(PPEHRC) which is national and indeed international network of grassroots
organizations that have come together with a particular mission—to
end poverty in he United States and, in fact, in he world. One of
our many projects in the Economic Human Rights Pennsylvania Campaign
(EHR-PA), which contributes to building that mass movement and is
eminently replicable. In order to build this EHR-PA mass movement,
we need at least three things: new consciousness, new leadership,
and new grassroots organizations.
Redefining the Terms:
Putting South African Women on Democracy's Agenda
Beyond the Politics
of Inclusion: Violence Against Women of Color and Human Rights
Reflections of a Human
Dazon Dixon Diallo
From Center to the Margins:
The Radicalization of Human Rights in the United States
Art in a Divided World
The manuscript is an interview
with Zarina Hashmi, printmaker and sculptor, accompanied by commentary
upon her work. The artist's work thematizes issues of migration,
home, loss, and cultural complexity. Its aesthetic combines the
artist's familiarity with Muslim, specifically Moghul, architecture
and aesthetics with her training in post-representational European
art. In recent years Hashmi's work has turned to public concerns
regarding tensions between the Islamic and Western worlds, and the
place of Muslims who are minorities in pluralist societies.
Conversations with my Mother
Like Meridians, "[m]emory,
history, future, resistance . . . are always part of" my creative
project. This is a short story told through a series of moments
in time, anchored in a particular present, where a daughter attempts
to understand her family's past and her position as a first-generation
immigrant. Embodied in her mother, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge
genocide, are the unspoken tensions between the two women. Through
the process of coin rubbing, a healing ritual used by Cambodians,
mother and daughter exchange memories that have no other language
but through body, blood and the scent of menthol.
The "War on Terror"
and Withdrawing American Charity: Some Consequences for Poor Muslim
Women in Kolkata, India
My paper describes some consequences
of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA for a Muslim
community development project in a slum area in Kolkata, India.
Funded over sixteen years by an American charitable organization,
the Muslim non-governmental organization was suddenly informed in
December 2001 that American sponsorship would be withdrawn by September
2002 because of “inefficient management.” Based on my
own involvement with the NGO's educational programs for adolescent
girls over the last four years, I offer some observations on how
American financial assistance has worked for the community, and
how the Americans' abrupt withdrawal has presently left social workers
without work, and a large community without services on which it
depends. In the context of one justification of the USA's “war
on terror” – to liberate Muslim women – I ask
if murky political agendas, as these (apparently) affect American
funding in the development world, run counter to the very causes
Was Flowing Everywhere"
Alison Mills and Ntozake Shange, Black Bohemian Feminists in the