breaking silence to rant. i am coming around to a position which is entirely critical of american studies, the north american academy entirely, for its real and absolutely unapologetic ignorance of transnationality except as its relates to current or past U.S. colonies. i wish this was something i could see as my own projection (because i began to think it when i noticed that my work isn’t solicited for many conference panels/talks/books in a north american context, aside from the people who know me well). but it’s not. i had this relevatory conversation with a thai anthropologist on saturday night at whateverjeanne’s housewarming. “the US is a trap,” he said. “no-one is really interested in south east asia. they’re all just interested in themselves. we have to make sure we get out.” he’s so right, and it’s stupid. it explains how isolated i feel academically, constant fomo or anxiety about not working hard enough, networking hard enough. it’s been hard relocating here; it’s hard when i realize that almost all of my peers went to grad school together or were in act-up together in the mid 90s or went to x college together or something.
today i read lies journal on the train and thought about the heteronormativity of “against the couple form” and how feminist materialist communism is also a train of thought i am thinking, thinking up against, thinking alongside. and i missed the women and performance dinner because e. was sick and various other catastrophes, and have been so busy catching up with work that i didn’t un-rsvp. life: making me look like a flake since 1975.
this is a bit of a tangent but something related I have been thinking about is how much I don’t like anarchist localism, especially coming from people from the US. it has been really frustrating to see US-based radicals dismissing campaigns focused on people outside the US as a distraction from the issues at home. The most recent example of this I can think of is critiques of the media presence of Pussy Riot. do you have any idea how incredibly hard it is to get international attention to things not in the US? Sometimes it’s not necessary to get Yanks on board, sometimes it’s more important that the people who pay attention really understand the context. But Pussy Riot worked very hard and very cannily to get international attention, to shame Putin, it was part of their strategy, they need it. They absolutely got more attention because they are slim young white pretty cis women and that is fucked-up. But literally nobody on my dash who has critiqued that dynamic and added that Pussy Riot was a distraction from the issues “here” (always understood to be the US) ever ever reblogs stuff about people asking for help or political solidarity outside the US even if they aren’t white, cis, riot grrrl, etc.
like, I’m obvs not saying that reblogging is the be all and end all of political support. I’m also not saying “US Privilege” is a thing, that is a way of thinking about this dynamic that I’ve seen thrown around and it’s stupid. but a lot of you in the US are super, super insular and that is affecting our chances of forming meaningful solidarity with one another. A belief in change from below or decentralisation is not the same thing as this neo-isolationism.