Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I didn't mean for it to take so long for me to update this blog. I have actually started a few posts, only to abandon them in frustration. I feel like I've backed myself into a corner with my second post being so theoretical and distanced from real life stuff. I am feeling like I need to continue down that path, even if I don't have anything much to say. Or something like that.

Of the many things that have been on my mind in this class, I will try to at least bring up a few today.

Last Friday at my study group we talked about finding/taking a place to speak from amid all of the complexity and ambiguity. How do we find ways to say anything, make any firm statement with the knowledge that things are fluid and subjective. Where does that authority come from?

Something else troubling has come up recently for me. It is again influenced by my postcolonial theologies course. If we are attempting to use hybridity that comes from a postcolonial state of being as a challenge to fictions/narratives of purity, what does it mean to us to learn that there has always been mixity and hybridity (Andalusia being the big example here). I don't think that the potential disruptive power of hybridity must necessarily result from a colonized position, but knowing that, in some ways, such mixing has always existed, does that lessen its potential challenge to imperialist thinking? What I'm trying to get at here is that hybridity is not a new thing. And since it is not, we can see that it existed at the same time as colonialism, imperialism, etc. So my question is, if the two were able to co-exist, than does that mean that hybridity is not actually an effective tool for deconstruction of binaries? Or, is it the ability to think in "hybrids" rather than in binaries that is important?

Something else we talked about in my study group last week was "Columbus Day." That exciting holiday where we celebrate the "discovery of the new world." This class has opened up some new ways of seeing this day for me. My study group was talking about who the people with Columbus might have been. 1492 being the both the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and the year the Muslims and Jews were expelled from Spain. We also talked about the treatment of the holiday, at least in the Berkeley area school system. One of my group mates shared that her daughter doesn't even know who Columbus is, and that she sees that as a problem. It is as if we have decided instead of "Columbus the Hero" we now have "Columbus the Bad Guy" and in some ways he has simply been essentialized in the opposite manner. Now instead of celebration, the story is not told. The first instance erased a history of peoples who lived in "the Americas" prior to Columbus' "discovery," but if we ignore the story all together we are erasing another part of history. Just as we have been learning in class so far, that things need to be looked at through many lenses, and connections need to be drawn, and boundaries blurred, Columbus needs some complexifying himself. It is not ok to say that he is an ultimate hero, but neither is it ok to write him off as a bad guy who no longer gets a hearing at all. I'm not saying that Columbus is a good guy, I am saying that leaving out a story because it is ugly, or makes "us" look bad, isn't useful. What can be useful to the study of history, is looking critically at such stories, instead of ignoring them.