Sunday, December 27, 2009


Kissing Cousins: A New Kinship Bestiary

Frances Bartkowski

“At a time when walls and fences and barriers are being erected in bricks and mortar and electronic circuitry, we might rather ask what the world would look like if we opened the borders of our selves to the others—-those others whom we resemble though we may be inclined to insist that we do not recognize them as our coevals, our co-evils” (3).

Weaving together such works as John Sayles’ film Lone Star, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, Cai Hau’s A Society Without Fathers or Husbands with studies about pigs as organ donors, and stories from primatological research and evolutionary science, Bartkowski suggests kintimacy as the trope for the killing/kissing worlds we have inherited.

“If we could think and live this kissing-killing knot with empathy as the starting point, we might be able to move forward into our mixed and mingled futures with forms of radical hope fashioned out of old histories of despair" (139).

a book various folks are talking about. should it begin our explorations?

Kara Keeling's The witch's flight: the cinematic, the Black femme, and the image of common sense is an ambitious work that is thick enough with layers of intention, apparatus, new beginnings, and trans media to be both daunting and seductive. Perhaps it could be a beginning node to a network of readings opening out into transdisciplinary movements across neuroscience, queer affect, trans media analysis, and the posthumanities of animal studies and digital worlds.

Katie taught the book this term and created two posts for students on blogger, with embedded media that Keeling couldn't afford to include in the book but uses to attempt to enlarge both readerships and sensory cognitions.

on cliché as a training ground for survival: trans media & circulating images
on the L Word and Blacksploitation: a genderqueer black femme?

Katie's context for thinking about Keeling's book has to do with her own curiosities about cognitive sensation and how the nineties generated ways of hooking up cognitive apparatus and media across knowledge worlds. Here is a bit of her thinking on these issues:

on trans media, sensory apparatus and TV and Web: deployments of race, gender and dna

Katie also finds this not-so-new essay of Bruno Latour's very useful (from his website):
(89) «Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern» Critical Inquiry (Vol 30 n° 2) pp. 25-248 (Winter 2004).


Katie was wondering about having a first meeting in Second Life at the Sea Turtle Island Zendo. I will post a SLURL here as we collect a few folks and discover a good time to meet. Remember SL time is Pacific Coast USA time. Please communicate by adding comments to this post. If you are not yet in Second Life but would like to participate and to have some mentoring about getting into SL let us know here too and we will set up a way to come inworld as easily and quickly as possible. The Quick Start Guide is linked online here.