18 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2019
    1. “Imagery in public space is a reflection of who has the power to tell the story of what happened and what should be remembered,” Bleiberg said. “We are witnessing the empowerment of many groups of people with different opinions of what the proper narrative is.” Perhaps we can learn from the pharaohs; how we choose to rewrite our national stories might just take a few acts of iconoclasm.
    2. The prevalent practice of damaging images of the human form—and the anxiety surrounding the desecration—dates to the beginnings of Egyptian history. Intentionally damaged mummies from the prehistoric period, for example, speak to a “very basic cultural belief that damaging the image damages the person represented,” Bleiberg said. Likewise, how-to hieroglyphics provided instructions for warriors about to enter battle: Make a wax effigy of the enemy, then destroy it. Series of texts describe the anxiety of your own image becoming damaged, and pharaohs regularly issued decrees with terrible punishments for anyone who would dare threaten their likeness.
  2. Apr 2018
  3. Nov 2017
  4. Oct 2017
  5. Jun 2017
    1. Koromanti was a term commonly used to describe enslaved people from the Akan ethnic group from West Africa, one of the largest group among the enslaved in Jamaica at the time.

      Kromanti is perhaps the most laden term in African Diaspora history in a Jamaican or Anglophone context and, as I've written elsewhere (my Slavery and Abolition article from 2014), I think that parsing Kromanti -- or really any of these terms -- as primarily geographic misses so much of what they connoted.

      Before 1688, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, only 7% of the Africans arriving in Jamaica came from the Gold Coast, and most of these between 1676-1680. So there's no real demographic reason for this centrality of Kromanti identity, if we assume Kromanti is a gloss for people of Gold Coast origins.

      Even for those who were placed in chains on slave ships from ports in the Gold Coast, there is no reason to believe that most were Akan speakers, and in fact Apter's work would convey how deeply those on the coast associated enslavement with people from the north, who certainly did not speak Akan, even to the extent that Akan was a meaningful linguistic category in the seventeenth century.

      More importantly, however, why "Kromanti"? Kromanti is a tiny fishing village. I argue that it gained a particular kind of salience after 1717, when the Asantehene (the king of Asante) was betrayed and murdered there, and his body could not be recovered popularly memorialized. In the wake of this, the people of Asante developed an oath, Memenada Akromanti, and that oath was used by maroons and revolutionaries in seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and even nineteenth-century Jamaica of diverse origins, from Madagascar to Kongo to Biafra.

      This, of course, is early for that, and so begs the question: why Kromanti?

      Was Kromanti important earlier, as Agorsah's archeological work suggests, because of iron working? Could that reputation have resonated with ideologies about blacksmithing and political legitimacy from the Kongo?

      The plurality of musical forms here, however, if nothing else, should push us beyond thinking of Kromanti as a simple or straightforward gloss for a region cum ethnicity cum linguistic group, and try to think, again, of what these terms meant for those using them in the seventeenth century.

  6. Sep 2016
    1. By treating particular identities as “subject matter”instead of facets of personhood – by claiming that queer characters can “distract” from a central story, as though queerness is only ever a focus, and not a fact – you’re acting as though the actual living people with those identities have no value, presence or personhood beyond them.
    2. Identity is the micro level: the intimacy of self-expression coupled with the immediacy of belonging.
  7. Aug 2016
    1. the response is always, "What is the LGBT community going to do about this?" But the LGBT community doesn't run the schools where queer kids are being bullied, raped, and abused. The LGBT community can't shut down those "houses of worship" where LGBT kids are abused spiritually and their straight peers are given license to abuse them physically. The LGBT community doesn't parent the vast majority of LGBT kids. So the question shouldn't be, "What is the LGBT community going to do about this?", but rather, "What is the straight community going to do about this?"
  8. Feb 2016
  9. Jan 2016
  10. Jul 2015
    1. It’s the nature of Twitter to not research further, we all know, but if that nature is influencing the way we run museums, school lectures, and conferences, the future might be more bleak than any of us dared to predict.

      It would be worth interrogating what it is about "the nature of Twitter" that makes this so.

      I think it has to do with the intersection of a number of things:

      • 140 character limit
      • Broadcast and re-broadcast that de-couples the Tweet from the authorial context
      • Sub-tweeting and shaming as attire and slacktivism

      I'm sure that's only the surface.

  11. Jun 2015
    1. Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

      The only counter-argument that comes to mind for me didn't form itself until I had read this last paragraph a few times.

      If your identity marker connotes tolerance then it hopefully has the opposite effect. Insofar as the experience of marginalization promotes empathy such identities might be good evidence for intelligence, and I do think individuals who feel oppressed or marginalized tend to empathize with others who suffer for different, marginalized identities.

      These identities will only breed stupidity if the individual feels a competition for scarce resources that overwhelms their empathy, whence the perniciousness of the belief in zero sum attention economics as a greater threat to activism than inaction, ignorance, and exhaustion.

  12. May 2015
    1. Gridlock

      I find myself thinking here about intersectionality, and about a certain critique of identity politics which seems to target those whose identities are marked. White men e.g. can critique and transcend the grid, while those whose positions in it are sites of political organizing are accused of reifying the grid. Not sure if Massumi is even in that neighborhood...

  13. Apr 2015
    1. There were actual politics at stake, and it would’ve been an ridiculously dangerous move to substitute identity affinities for political analysis.

      Yes!!! Reminds me of this quote from Graeber's "Democracy Project": https://instagram.com/p/tjcYY9Og32/?taken-by=tilgovi

  14. Aug 2014
    1. Of course, the radical feminist position that masculinity is natural and healthy, and femininity artificial and harmful, is also inherently sexist

      Of course. That's an important theme. It's as though it's being suggested here that radical feminists chose this view, when I think it's more correct to say that they are reacting to it.

    2. In contrast, she mentions and quotes a total of four trans women (zero from books), and two of them are quoted to supporting the radical feminist position.

      Might one argue that since these feminists feel their fight has been co-opted and, despite the many ways trans individuals are less assured of their safety and rights than cis women, the radical feminist is actually the more oppressed insofar as identity politics has left them behind? In which case, might we celebrate that time is given to this minority rather than criticize the piece for being one-sided?

    3. frequently providing physical descriptions

      I count only three instances, none of which are offensively dwelling on appearance in the way that media often is scrutinizing women's bodies. One of these descriptions is particularly well meaning: it is given only to color the story of abandoned transition with the image of hormone-induced stubble. To mention that there are physical descriptions of any of the activists in the piece here is obvious pandering.