All _Essays

Reclaiming Possession

A Critique of the Discourse of Dispossession in Indigenous Studies

Indigeneity is more or less universally defined by claims concerning the experience of dispossession of land and culture, and indigenous critique is defined by a range of different claims concerning how this condition of dispossession can best be responded to, by indigenous peoples themselves, as well as by anyone concerned with the present plights of indigenous peoples. There are, of course, multiple differences between indigenous peoples, […]

Alterity — A Category of Practice and Analysis

Preliminary Remarks

“Media exist because there is alterity” — so reads the first sentence of an introduction to media theories. [1] We need media to ensure that the position of alterity (the different, the Other) can be articulated, because “[a]lterity means an ‘other’ that initially denies access, that requires a third party to guarantee its conveyance, symbolization, preservation, transfer or communication.” [2] At first, a position of alterity seems to resist being made accessible. […]

Undoing Ableism

Disability as a Category of Historical and Legal Analysis

There is a fundamental contradiction at the heart of disability politics. While Anglophone disability studies argue for the inherent politicity of disability as a legal and political issue, disability as a category of analysis remains largely absent from historical, political, and legal discourse. [2] To make matters even more complex, ‘disability’ has more than one meaning. There is the medical model of disability, […]

The Trouble With Emergence

I have grown suspicious of the word emergence and the concepts it designates. More often than not, the term seems to serve as a deus ex machina whenever other models or theories cannot account for a certain new aspect or object. Emergence is then used as though it were based on a concept or a theory, when all the term does is label something as complex, unpredictable, and only comprehensible after the fact. It is my contention that, particularly in the study of culture, we need to carefully scrutinize the ways in which we use […]