EmVy Favorite Subjects: Interdisciplinarity and Justice

[Fragments of thoughts sending out a Call for Response]

It is no longer a question of judging the past in the name of a truth that only we can possess in the present; but risking the destruction of the subject who seeks knowledge in the endless deployment of the will to knowledge. [Michele Foucault, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” (1977)]

If there is always this notion of justice involved in translation and comparativist practice, are we not limiting ourselves in our conceptions of what a comparativist practice looks like? How does the notion of treating objects of knowledge with respect affect our practice of object-making? Respect or justice are not neutral terms that lead us to objectivity but, in themselves, are mechanisms of objectification, a mode of knowledge production that functions within limitations to understand an object that functions as disciplines do.

When Foucault speaks of cutting and descending along “faults and fissures” as a genealogy, as opposed to a linear and casual genealogy, that reveals the “heterogeneous layers that threaten the fragile interior from within or from underneath.” He turns our attention towards a blind field (that of descent) where terms like “justice” and “humanist” cease to exist; where, “genealogy does not map the destiny of people.”

Being just and noble, for Foucault, is impossible within a system that reproduces subjugation under the auspices of justice, as an ideology that is a condition of humanist practice that assumes a whole and universal identity as the starting place of human heritage and history. Being in the darkness of descent, “disturbs what was previously considered immobile; it fragments what was thought unified; it shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself (146-147).” Justice, respect, and value are a few of terms of consistency that emerge as heterogeneous in the descent.

Taking into account how context, epoch, and language color any writer, philosopher, or theorist, to what extent is a comparativist and/or interdisciplinary (are they the same?) approach deemed as such because of its process, the actual practice of bringing together disparate worlds or ways of knowing worlds; or, on the other hand, turned towards the question of process itself, questioning processes, as the practice of a comparativist? To relish always in the blind field, or to write always along fissures and margins that a “humanist heuristic” exists outside of (or where it does not exist at all)? What is the negotiation between anti-humanist realities, contexts and times continually erasing and re-creating worlds (reality as referring to the desire for an unchanging truth) and humanistic intentions that are locked in the borders of limited and sovereign ways of knowing?

[Nietzsche on the spell-check. What is this world coming to?]

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~ by Em on October 5, 2010.

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