The politics of inquiry. Education research and the "culture of science.
Journeys of the Self Catherine Russell In those early years I got to know the "town" only as the theater of purchases, on which occasions it first became apparent how my father's money could cut a path for us between the shop counters and assistants and mirrors, and the appraising eyes of our mother, whose muff lay on the counter.
A class analysis is projected onto fleeting memories, along with a recognition of gender roles, and even an analysis of the gaze.
The materialism of Benjamin's autobiographical account of Berlin is made even more explicit in his Moscow diary, which he described as a text in which "factuality is already theory.
Walter Benjamin develops as a socially constructed identity, one who finds himself in a shifting series of others, in the topography of city streets, and in the detail of daily life.
Theory, philosophy, and intellectual life were inseparable from his own experience of modernity, and his identity as a German Jew pervades his writing in the form of experience, rather than essence. Susan Buck-Morss suggests that "Benjamin perceived his own life emblematically, as an allegory for social reality, and sensed keenly that no individual could live a resolved or affirmative existence in a social world that was neither.
He describes "contemporary autobiography" as an exploration of the fragmented and dispersed identities of late-twentieth-century pluralist society. In this context, ethnic autobiography is an "art of memory" that serves as protection against the homogenizing tendencies of modern industrial culture.
Moreover, autobiography has become a powerful tool of cultural criticism, paralleling postmodern theories of textuality and knowledge. Fischer describes the "writing tactics" of autoethnography thus: This ethnographic mode of self-representation is pervasive in what has become widely recognized as a "new autobiography" in film and video.
Identity is no longer a transcendental or essential self that is revealed, but a "staging of subjectivity" — a representation of the self as a performance. The subject "in history" is rendered destabilized and incoherent, a site of discursive pressures and articulations.
The fragmented and hybrid identities produced in the multitude of "personal" films and videos have been celebrated by critics and theorists as forms of "embodied knowledge" and "politics of location. One's body and one's historical moment may be the joint site of experience and identity, and yet hey dolt necessarily add up to ethnicity as an anthropological category.
Autoethnography is a vehicle and a strategy for challenging imposed forms of identity and exploring the discursive possibilities of inauthentic subjectivities.
Mary Louise Pratt introduced the term "autoethnography" as an oppositional term: My inclusion of Chris Marker's Sans Soleil in this chapter is an attempt to expand and modify a concept that, in Pratt's usage, reaffirms the duality of center and margin. Autoethnography can also be a form of what James Clifford calls "self-fashioning," in which the ethnographer comes to represent himself as a fiction, inscribing a doubleness within the ethnographic text: The imperial eye looking back on itself is also a subject in history.
The oxymoronic label "autoethnography" announces a total breakdown of the colonialist precepts of ethnography, and indeed the critical enthusiasm for its various forms situates it as a kind of ideal form of antidocumentary.
Diary filmmaking, autobiographical filmmaking, and personal videos can all be subsumed within what Michael Renov has described as the "essayistic" impulse in recent film and video. The essay is a useful category because it incorporates the "I" of the writer into a commentary on the world that makes no grand scientific or totalizing claims but is uncertain, tentative and speculative.
This is, however, only one of three levels on which a film- or videomaker can inscribe themselves, the other two being at the origin of the gaze, and as body image.
The multiple possible permutations of these three "voices" — speaker, seer, and seen — are what generate the richness and diversity of autobiographical filmmaking. In addition to the discursive possibilities of these three voices is another form of identity, which is that of the avant-garde filmmaker as collagist and editor.
By inscribing themselves on the level of "metadiscourse," film and videomakers also identify with their technologies of representation, with a culture of independent filmmaking, alongside their other discursive identities. Much of the new autobiography emanates from queer culture, from film- and videomakers whose personal histories unfold within a specifically public sphere.
Themes of displacement, immigration, exile, and transnationality are prominent in this mode of filmmaking. Family histories and political histories unfold as difficult processes of remembering and struggle.
Specific, resonant images echo across distances of time and space. Documentary truth is freely mixed with storytelling and performances. The many film- and videomakers who have made and continue to make autoethnographies find "themselves" in diverse image cultures, images, and discourses.
Many are concerned with transforming image culture through the production of new voices and new subjectivities. The difference between generations is written across the filmmaker's own inscription in technology, and thus it is precisely an ethnographic distance between the modern and the premodern that is dramatized in the encounter — through interview or archival memory or both.
One often gets the sense that the filmmaker has no memory and is salvaging his or her own past through the recording of family memory. The testimonial, confessional character of autoethnography often assumes a site of authenticity and veracity, originating in the filmmaker's experience.Mar 09, · woman, native, other: writing postcoloniality & feminism 9, March, in Books, feminism I have begun the reading of Minh-ha’s text, and is the first book by Minh-ha that I have read.
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