When I use flourishing as a goal for open normativities, I mean it to name the contingent, without-guarantees, partially shared world that recognizes both ethical entanglement and irreducible difference. To judge that something deserves a future is to make a normative claim: this, that judgment says, deserves to continue.
Calling for open normativities and proliferation, under this conception of flourishing, does not mean that any and all norms are to be pursued or even accepted: not everything deserves a future. Indeed, working to proliferate open normativities will close down many norms. Creating open normativities as a collective and nonvoluntarist endeavor to proliferate flourishing means that norms that flatten complexity and close down flourishing for others are rejected. As Simone de Beauvoir argues, if we take seriously the idea that our freedom consists in willing an open future for ourselves and others, then we open freedoms to one another. It is inconsistent to argue that freedom is taken from us if we are unable to oppress others; our freedom consists in willing freedom for others, not only ourselves (Beauvoir 1968). Notice that flourishing will continue to be an undecided and in-process norm. Norms that proliferate nonreductive flourishing for others are better than norms that harm them or deny them well-being. SRLP’s work to open more possibilities for validation of gender change in state identification documents is a good example of this. When state institutions restrict proper identification to either people who have not changed gender or those who have undergone very specific surgeries, they instantiate a norm that closes down the prospects for flourishing for those people who do not want or cannot have those surgeries. In contrast, more varied criteria offer a still imperfect and contingent set of possibilities that allow more flourishing. If there were people whose idea of well-being consisted of denying trans people state documentation, their norms would be closed down under this normative preference for proliferating flourishing not only for more individuals but for more sorts of individuals, communities, and ways of being.
Open Normativities: Gender, Disability, and Collective Political Change
"My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing."
— Marcel Proust (via thisgregoryjohn
► A Letter to Smith College
I can’t be there to protest Christine Lagarde as this year’s commencement speaker with all the Smithies who are still there so I did something maybe a little old fashioned and wrote a letter. To all my other lovely, dissenting Smith alumx, please make your voices heard.
In the wake of the 2002 riots, Modi skillfully painted any criticism of his government’s misdeeds as an attack on Gujarat and Gujaratis. Over the past few years, and with considerably more subtlety, he has achieved the same thing with the story of the state’s development miracle. The government has relentlessly provided the media with positive stories of efficient administration, rapid construction and economic growth.
Modi likes to flaunt the fact that Gujarat is a power-excess state, and almost every big-picture story about the “Gujarat miracle”, from Business Today to The Sydney Morning Herald, highlights this fact. But farmers, led by the Sangh’s own farmers’ union, have been protesting for almost a decade that their electricity needs aren’t being met, and government statistics show that the share of power diverted to agriculture has fallen from 43 percent to 21 percent between 2000 and 2010. More than 375,000 farmers are still waiting for electricity connections for their irrigation pumps.
Even the headline figures for Gujarat’s economic expansion in the past decade diminish under closer examination. The state’s GDP growth has only slightly outpaced India as a whole over the past decade. But this is to be expected: Gujarat has long been an industrialised state—and in fact, growth rates under Modi are not significantly higher than they were in the prior two decades. Though Modi has presented Gujarat as the clear leader among Indian states in attracting foreign direct investment, it ranked fourth among states on this measure between 2000 and 2009, and in 2011 fell to sixth place, after Maharashtra, the National Capital Region, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh; Maharashtra has foreign direct investment inflows almost nine times greater than Gujarat.
Data from the Planning Commission, meanwhile, show that in spite of Gujarat’s economic growth, the state lags behind even Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh in rates of poverty reduction. According to the 2011 India Human Development Report, Gujarat also scores poorly in several social indicators, with 44 percent of children under five suffering from malnutrition, worse than Uttar Pradesh.
By themselves, these statistics hardly constitute an indictment of Modi’s record. They merely suggest that his carefully constructed image as an economic miracle-worker has been the result of a well-managed public relations campaign whose false premise is that Gujarat stands head and shoulders above every other Indian state in growth and development—and that anyone who presents data to challenge this narrative is only twisting the truth in order to malign Modi and every Gujarati.
"No Borders, No Nations, Stop Deportation!" by Melanie Cervantes
New print available http://bit.ly/1gFr161
Melanie Cervantes, 11 x17, 2-color screenprint, chipboard, Printed in San Leandro, 2013
'My paternal grandparents and my uncle were deported, in the 1930s, under the “Mexican Repatriation Act” along with around 2 million other people living in the U.S. It didn't matter that my uncle was a citizen (Along with another 1.2 million others). Most people I talk to have never heard of this policy signed by conservative Republican President Herbert Hoover. I believe the trauma this caused to my family still has not been resolved. They are scars run deep.
'If only history didn't repeat itself. Operation Wetback 1954 and today…
'I wonder, in the future, will people remember Obama's deportation record? 1100 families are torn apart EVERY day. What impact are these racist policies having on the little ones whose families are being separated? And, what traumas will be passed on to the generations who haven't been born?'
"For instance, where Sinhala and Tamil law recognized a woman’s independent legal status and the right to own property, colonial legislation on matrimonial property rights introduced the idea of a wife’s inferior status in relation to her husband, the inferior legal position of the widow, and the unity of personality of husband and wife."
— Pathways to Power: Th
e Domestic Politics of South Asia
The Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture by Vincent Woodard. Edited By Justin A. Joyce
and Dwight McBride. Foreword by E. Patrick Johnson
Scholars of US and transatlantic slavery have largely ignored or dismissed accusations that Black Americans were cannibalized. Vincent Woodard takes the enslaved person’s claims of human consumption seriously, focusing on both the literal starvation of the slave and the tropes of cannibalism on the part of the slaveholder, and further draws attention to the ways in which Blacks experienced their consumption as a fundamentally homoerotic occurrence. The Delectable Negro explores these connections between homoeroticism, cannibalism, and cultures of consumption in the context of American literature and US slave culture.
Utilizing many staples of African American literature and culture, such as the slave narratives of Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass, as well as other less circulated materials like James L. Smith’s slave narrative, runaway slave advertisements, and numerous articles from Black newspapers published in the nineteenth century, Woodard traces the racial assumptions, political aspirations, gender codes, and philosophical frameworks that dictated both European and white American arousal towards Black males and hunger for Black male flesh. Woodard uses these texts to unpack how slaves struggled not only against social consumption, but also against endemic mechanisms of starvation and hunger designed to break them. He concludes with an examination of the controversial chain gang oral sex scene in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, suggesting that even at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century, we are still at a loss for language with which to describe Black male hunger within a plantation culture of consumption.
► Freedom Budget Commitment Survey.pdf
Shared with Dropbox
Darmouth students have put together an excellent outline of a few first steps we could take to bring justice to the academy.
"Neoliberal agendas do not require an end to patriarchies, only their management"
— Uma Chakravarti
When researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington observed young people’s behavior in bars, they found that the man’s aggressiveness didn’t match his level of intoxication. There was no relationship.
Instead, men targeted women who were intoxicated.