Friday, January 18, 2008

So I'm working on a paper (among other things) about Black Latina Lesbians. It's interesting. More on that later. But one of the things I'm considering is the place of the imagination/imaginery (thank you M.R.!!) and I came across this discussion, which was a conversation hosted by the Alternative Law Forum. It's a conversation led by Naisargi Dave, with respondents Surabhi Kukke and Siddharth Narrain. I was so happy to read it, I had to share a few jewels from this wonderful conversation.

ND: People begin to become activists, because they have an ethical orientation to the world. They act because they nurture ethical ideals of what the world ought to look like. By saying that the world ought to look differently than it does, even that one law ought to look differently than it does, is an ethical orientation to the world that imagines an impossibility. They act in part because they desire the practice of new freedoms, relationships, sexual affairs and so on that they can only imagine new models for, but still strive to enable. But the political institutions that activists must engage in order to effect these transformations that they seek are far from conducive to the cultivation of these kinds of radical imaginings.


ND: And he [Arnold Davidson] argues further that Foucault’s work about this ‘aesthetics of existence’ is nowhere more widely brought out than in his daily life, something that did not get enough press – about the radical potential of contemporary homosexual practices. “ Another thing to discuss is the tendency to relate the problem of homosexuality to the problem of ‘who am I?’ what is the truth of myself? What is the secret of my desire? ‘ Perhaps it would be better to ask oneself he said, ‘what relations through my homosexuality can be established invented, multiplied and modulated?. The problem is not to discover in oneself, the truth of one’s sex but to use one’s sexuality henceforth to arrive at a multiplicity of relationships”. i.e. not to figure what relationships one is supposed to have if one is gay, but to use that queerness as a reason and a possibility to invent.


SK: Being queer in the 1990s meant two things. It meant that we partied really hard and that we fought really hard. By fought I mean we were a small group of really angry young people, and to bee queer was to be an activist.


1 comment:

Jen said...

Yes! Thank you for the link. I love this:

It is depth of radical imaginary possibility that is made possible through the very fact of subjection that is the place of ethics. Which is to say most simply that a group of people that is subject to norms must, in order to survive, come up with new ways of existence. Wherever there are limits there is an imagination of transgressing these limits -- and that is the radical potential of being queer. That our entire lives are basically a series of limits and the fact of having all those limits in that kind of distance from the moral centre of the world, forces us, enables us, and allows us to imagine things constantly. That is the ethical possibility of being queer.

Naisargi Dave

Hey, post more about the paper when you get the chance. So glad you're doing it.