The Gloria E. Anzaldúa Speakers Series in Philosophy
Dr. Jennifer Suchland, “Post Cold War Borders: Linking the Postcolonial and Postsocialist”
On October 7, 2010, Dr. Jennifer Suchland of Ohio State University, Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures, presented her lecture in the Academic Services Building. Dr. Suchland discussed the geographic and metaphorical borders between the former “3rd” and “2nd” worlds. In the context of the post Cold War era, she examined the connections between these places while considering what inhibits the “building of bridges” between them. This work is part of her larger interest in issues of law, the state, gender, and sexuality in the context of postsocialism. She is also interested in the interconnections of postsocialism and postcolonialism, particularly as they work as discourses of global critique and geopolitical subjectivity.
Dr. Shannon Winnubst, “Queers Have No Passports: On the Floating Borders of Nationalism”
On February 4, 2010, Dr. Shannon Winnubst of Ohio State University, Women’s Studies Department, presented her lecture to a capacity crowd at the University Ballroom. Dr. Winnubst argued that those who stand outside the “normalized” view of citizen – people of color, women, homosexuals, the poor, those who do not “contribute” – are excluded from the protection of the nation-state, and in this sense, the border of nationalism floats to exclude them. She focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the sense that the people of New Orleans were not producing things, not contributing to the economy, and therefore, useless, and as useless, capable of being disposed of. Dr. Winnubst argued that notions of utility were at work in determining who was included in the floating border and that we needed to instead embrace the Bataillian concept of excess and expenditure. She argued further that instead of trying to become included within the border as one who can be protected we might be better off acknowledging our position on the outside and embracing the possibilities for freedom it offered. If we no longer needed to compete to appear as normal we might be freed from the strictures of such concepts.
Dr. Leigh Johnson, “Heroes, Scapegoats and ‘Good’ Liberals: The Complicated Operations of Race in Post-Obama America”
On November 19, 2009, Dr. Leigh Johnson of Rhodes College, Philosophy Department, challenged the assumption that racism is “irrational” and examined some of the ways that racism operates as a fundamental catalyst in our democracy. Dr. Johnson argued that racial justice could not be achieved by simply ignoring racism and trumpeting the “post-racial” age, but that we must recognize how racial identities are at work in order to achieve racial justice. Johnson’s work gestured to her work on a new humanism, a weak humanism, as she calls it, that recognizes the common injurability of humanity.
Dr. Gregory Pappas, “Being in the border is an opportunity and not a fall from grace”
On October 9, 2009, Dr. Gregory Pappas, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, spoke at the University of Texas, Pan American. Dr. Pappas is the first in this year’s Anzaldúa Speakers Series in Philosophy. Dr. Pappas, whose wife is from Brownsville, spoke about the unique position of those in the Valley to understand the problems and opportunities of hybrid identity. Relying on the work of Maria Lugones and John Dewey, Pappas argues that impurity or hybridity is not falling short of some ideal but rather the way things are. Using Lugones’ metaphor of “curdled” identity, where there is mixture between parts, as there would be between the yolk and the egg white or in Menudo soup between the ingredients, Pappas argued that we become what we are, as Dewey says, in relation with others. Pappas encouraged his audience, saying, “Being in the border is an opportunity, not a fall from grace.”; A number of eager students and faculty from UTPA and STC as well as members of the community were in attendance.