My mind went ALL OVER the place during these readings, and I am finding it hard to separate them in my head, which is creating general difficulty in doing so in this medium. I’ll give it a shot:
Puar uses this piece to emphasize the complex relationship between the concepts of intersectionality and assemblage. No, they are not analogous. She uses this piece to very saliently explain each term, their strengths, weaknesses, and suggests an interdependent relationship between them. As a very brief and hyper-generalization of what’s going on in this piece:
1. We have our neoliberal white supremacist, heteronormative, patriarchal power structure. Said power structure has been heavily analyzed among various disciplines (though for the sake of this particular post, I will limit it to feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, women’s & gender studies, law, and legal studies) in relation to notions of race, gender, class, etc., in order to break the ties that bind us to the continued centralization and perpetuation of our current power dynamic.
1(a). At this point, most of this perpetuation of power has been cognitively ingrained and implicitly learned. This power dynamic (and our complicity to it) is so ingrained that even (ESPECIALLY!) within resistant discourse, overt centralization of power normative ideals can be found. A general example of this centralization I allude to can be seen in the discussion of one’s marginalized position or one’s marginalized group in [oppositional] relation to those within the power normative, which, in effect, re-centers the power norm as THE THING to compare all to. Ya dig?)
1(b). The analysis of this disparate power dynamic across disciplines has yielded the initial canonization of the term intersectionality, and more recently the term assemblage to define and describe the many layers of systemic discrimination and violence at the hands of
commonly understood characteristics, attributes, stereotypes, and other technologies of our mass produced/centralized/perpetuated power normative ideal (i.e., white, upper-middle class, heteronormative, able-bodied, man). There has been a lot of tension among disciplines as far as which term to “stick with” and which to discard. Puar takes the space of this intellectual work of art to discuss said tension and to [more importantly] emphasize the interdependent relationship these terms share.
2. Intersectionality v. Assemblage. Intersectionality has long been canonized primarily within legal, law, and women’s & gender studies (though it is also verily regarded within feminist philosophy and other philosophical disciplines) as THE term to use in reference to social/political/economic relation to demographics such as race, gender, class, and sexuality (to name ONLY a few). In most cases, the language of intersectionality is normative in itself, as it is defining and describing a disparate power dynamic (or repercussions of said dynamic) by using normative neoliberal language to exemplify oppositional relations _to and with_ power (which works in re-centering said power dynamic by GROUNDING the power normative as THE CENTRAL POINT to compare any and all others to). Puar then introduces the term assemblage to be used to define and discuss the connecting catalysts that potentiate the already ingrained affective, relational power dynamic. These catalysts often are commonplace fixtures or events that heighten potential for explicit affective embodiment of power, or oppositional relation to/with power. Puar references Brian Massumi’s example of “…purported increase in domestic violence during Super Bowl Sunday,” on page 60 of this work, if you would like a clearer example to what I am referring. So, even though the term assemblage is integral to the bigger discussion of the function of race, gender, class, and sexuality within our neoliberal power dynamic, it does not fully express the MANY different articulations of said function.
3. Intersectionality & Assemblage. Actively engage how each term works in and through each other to more fully encapsulate what’s going on within our neoliberal power structure.
In conjunction with what I just wrote…
This article emphasized the importance of the use of our affective expression of sexuality in order to rupture the seemingly erased histories of racism, sexism, and classism (again, to name a few). It is more specifically important to engage jouissance in its historicized, racialized ways. This will bring to the forefront all the histories that our neoliberal power frame has worked so hard to erase and distance us from.
1. Jouissance- Winnubst refers to what she means by this most clearly when she writes, “As Tim Dean puts it, jouissance indicates that rare experience of pleasure that radically disarms the self, not the identity-confirming, self-enhancing domesticated pleasure that saturates neoliberal culture.” (Winnubst, 95-6)
2. Don’t rule out the affective embodiment of the power dynamic. You lose SO much perspective and opportunity for real potential to rupture the dynamic.
1. Jouissance? Really?
2. Language & Subjugated Knowledges: More about neoliberal language. Specifically, can we relate the notion of liberal language to the language used in each reading?
4. Could this relate to Bataille’s discussion of erasing the self through affective connection to medium of art, literature?
There’s just TOO many layers in EACH reading to adequately discuss and analyze without going WAY over the restricted word count. I went way over and didn’t BEGIN to touch other integral aspects of these pieces. I suggest for those of you not in this course to read the readings I linked up. They are SO insightful.
I’m Excited. This Discussion Should Get Wild.