Thursday night at 11:43pm, I turned in my last project, and with it I have completed my first year in the doctoral program for Earth & Environmental Sciences, with a focus on geography. This past semester, I took a gender and globalization class with Prof. Hester Eisenstein, who is a wonderful teacher, and wrote this incredibly comprehensive analysis of U.S. feminism called Feminism Seduced How Global Elites Use Women’s Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World. And a methods class with Prof. Setha Low who really knows her qualitative ethnographic methods.
I have learned alot this past semester – how to integrate an analysis of gender into that of globalization and vice versa, and beginning to develop a good, strong framework with which to do field work. Also, about the ins and outs of the ethics of doing research together with folks and how that was institutionalized after so many massacres, medical experiments on people, and otherwise generally unethical behaviour.
As always, I have met some wonderful people along the way, and deepened my friendships with my collegues Robin, Denisse, Amanda, Hector, Marimer, Martin, María, Emilio, Cievel y l@s demas compas del Colectivo Mexican@s con Rostro Desconocido. Two of the books we read for the gender & globalization class quoted my former teachers – Prof. Spike Peterson in Jasbir Puar‘s Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalisms in Queer Times and Prof. Jennie Joe in Suzack, Huhndorf, Perrault, Barman’s Indigenous Women and Feminism Politics, Activism, Culture. Trishala Deb’s and my article on Abu Ghraib for Colorlife, the Audre Lorde Project‘s newsletter was also cited in Puar’s book.
So, next steps are lots of reading this summer for my first exam in late August to get closer to my goal of doing ethnobotany with communities in Colombia. I really believe that book/classroom and on the ground/community knowledge go together and compliment each other, if they are grounded in reality and liberation.
Given that, I want to share a lovely quote from Donna Haraway‘s book, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women – pp. 8-9: ”We have granted science the role of fetish, an object human beings make only to forget their role in creating it, no longer responsive to the dialectical interplay of human beings with the surrounding world in the satisfaction of social and organic needs. We have perversely worshipped science as reified fetish in two complementary ways: (1) by completely rejecting scientific and technical discipline and developing feminist social theory totally apart from the natural sciences, and (2) by agreeing that ‘nature’ is our enemy and that we must control our ‘natural’ bodies (by techniques given to us by biomedical science) at all costs to enter the hallowed kingdom of the cultural body politic as defined by liberal (and radical) theorists of political economy, instead of by ourselves. This cultural body politic was clearly identified by Marx: the marketplace that remakes all things and people into commodities.”
In other words, we are part of nature, nature is part of us and capitalism doesn’t fit into that equation & reality!