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VOLUME 4, NUMBER 2       BACK TO VOLUMES

Domesticating NATO's War in Kosovo/a: (In)Visible Bodies and the Dilemma of Photojournalism
Wendy Kozol

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
Megan Sweeney

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
Juliana Chang

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
Mariangeles Soto-Diaz

Post-partum Blues, Part One:
The Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act
introduced this past February (2003) meant to provide research and services
for women with postpartum depression points to the inadequate existing
research on Postpartum conditions. There is some consensus on categories and
frequency. Current definitions outline three subgroups: 'baby blues,' which
is an extremely common and the less severe form of postpartum depression;
'postpartum mood' and anxiety disorders, which are more severe than baby
blues and can occur during pregnancy and anytime within the first year of
the infant's birth; and 'postpartum psychosis,' which is the most extreme
form of postpartum depression and can occur during pregnancy and up to
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 include
the steep and rapid drop in hormone levels after childbirth paired with
socio-psychological causes such as lack of family and societal support.
In my own postpartum case, the stark contrast between extended family models
embroidered in childhood memories on one hand and the present limited
nuclear family model from this culture on the other, became the crevice in
which post-partum blues lingered.
In my post-partum blues painting series, I introduce postpartum from an
oblique and non-pathologized angle; it is addressed with humor -a chorus of
teething rings and blue toy truck tracks- while set in dialogue with larger
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. My son's
viscous umbilical cord was unexpectedly blue, a connecting blue line. I
wondered whether the performance of his gender was already inscribed in the
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 had its
own distinctly musical nuance, a polyrhythmic complexity that defied the
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 or toy
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 aside,
painting and parenting both live within the ongoing battles between the
super-ego's attempts at "Combing the Unruly," its obsession with straight
lines, pixelation and repetitive structures; and the id's insistence on the
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 art taste
buds, "Guy Thing" will recall Rauschenberg's "Automobile Tire Print." Such
connections, while quite logical, are entirely coincidental.

 

Introduction: Conference-Making
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
Laura Roskos

Anannya Bhattacharjee’s 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.

 

Effective Organizing in Terrible Times: The Strategic Value of Human Rights for Transnational Anti-Racist Feminists
Barbara Schulman

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.

 

Legislative Tactics in a Movement Strategy: The Economic Human Rights-Pennsylvania Campaign
Mary Bricker-Jenkins

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
Leslie Hill

 

Beyond the Politics of Inclusion: Violence Against Women of Color and Human Rights
Andrea Smith

 

Reflections of a Human Rights Educator
Dazon Dixon Diallo

 

From Center to the Margins: The Radicalization of Human Rights in the United States
Laura Roskos

 

Cosmopolitan Cartographies: Art in a Divided World
Ranu Samantrai

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.

 

"Bloodlines": Conversations with my Mother
Vanara Taing

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
Suchitra Samanta

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 they espouse.

 

"Artistic Expression Was Flowing Everywhere"
Alison Mills and Ntozake Shange, Black Bohemian Feminists in the 1970s