[dance-tech] Re: Post-structuralist Threads1: Postcolonial

  • From: "Jaime del Val" <jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 16:34:56 +0200

Hi Matt, all,

> you see, i am an example of postcolonialism (in some ways). i'm a
> first generation immigrant (naturalized) in the uk. my 'genetic'
> heritage is from ghana (in west africa), a former british colony.
> this is why i tend to look at what is being said, rather than 'who' said

well obviuosly not everybody who has origins in former colonies is to be put
under the postcolonial thread only because of that, nor are excluded from
this thread other who do not have originis in former colonies. You might be
an example of the object of study of postcolonialism but not necessarily of
its discursive positions and articulations. In that respect I definitely
think you seem quite distant from it.

> post~ theories the are the dominant
> discourse at this time. but they too will be overturned.

I disagree with the idea that post- theories are dominant at this time, if
at all some of them are dominant within certain reduced circles, not with
regard to mainstream, and even less with mainstream discourses present in
society, and they are certainly oppositional to power structures.

So what we need to clarify is the meaning for dominant positions. What do
you regard to be one?

I totally agree with the idea that the theories will be anyway overturned (I
work infact in that direction very strongly, in my criticism of queer and
posthuman theories, for instance and my definition of metaformativity, which
I will hopefully come do expose in further posts. But I still regard them as
highly usefull tools, and they will be so for some time I think. Anyway in
my former posts was implicit the idea that no theory can last forever since
none can be allinclusive.

It is true however that some thoeries that start as oppositional practise
are assimilated and stop being an oppositional force, and according to some
, (Sandy Stone was telling us about this when she came to our workshop in
Madrid, in december) this happens within a span of 30 yeras: from the time
when oppositional practices start from within to the time when the practice
gets a label in the bookshop, then, so they say, the discipline is dead as
an oppositional practise. This is apparently the case with Cultural Studies.
With other more controverted fields it may well take longer or never come to
be the case. I wonder if Queer thoery will ever stop being oppositional...
and still Teresa de Lauretis, who literally started Queer Theory with the
mythical issue of the Journal Differences from1991, was saying only a couple
of years later that queer had become something like a trend, and devoid of
its oppositional intentions (i don''t remember her words exactly). But of
course this is only the case within reduced circles once again, for the
mainstream circles I guess it will keep having an opositional character
until heterosexuality stops to be normative, and that may "not happen before
the heat death of the universe" (quote Sandy Stone again....)

> this clarity is not dominance, just a different form of diversity and
> inclusiveness.

Well excuse me if I allow myself to say that there could be  a slight hint
of demagogy in this: I think that diversity and inclusiveness is
incompatible with a language and reasoning that inverts quite an amount of
words in judging and invalidating other peoples discourse in such a way that
your discourse is the measure for Truth. Or so it seems. I am glad to hear
though of your excellent intentions.


> best
> matt
> On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 4:56 PM, Jaime del Val <jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> [...]
> > Starting with Matt's questions on colonialism, my approach to the term
> > related to the well established field of POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES, for which
> > would take too long to give an introduction, nevertheless, the field
> > attempts to frame the ways in which empires have produced notions of
> > otherness in order to institute themselves as centres of power, and its
> > agents as sovereign subjects, as one can see in such well known
> > essays as Edward Said's "Orientalism". To a certain extent colonial
> > does mean, white, male, heterosexual, middle-upper class, central
> > or North American. The academy itself, and production of knowledge in
> > general is one of the essential mechanisms of the colonial system.
> >
> >
> > This does not mean that all work produced in the academy is only an
> > instrument of hegemonic power structures, since in the academy we find
> > OPPOSITIONAL PRACTICES as the ones I will be mentioning here, namely:
> > cultural studies, postcolonial-, queer-, and different braches related
> > feminism, to name but a few of the braches that we can frame as related
> > POSTSTRUCTURALIST thinking, (largely developed in US and Britain
> > from French Philosophy -Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze...- in a tradition
> > goes back to Nietzsche, Heidegger or Postmarxism, to name a few); and
> > deal with the questioning of all these extraordinary structures that the
> > academy has produced at all levels of knowledge, relating to
> > modernist thinking and which turn out to be contingent, and instrumental
> > power regimes.
> [...]

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