Feminist Games

quo magis speculativa, magis practica

Tag: colonialism

parallaxe

it has never been the case
that there was nothing, and then
there was something.

there was always something
before colonialism intervened
in the social order somewhere.

there was always something
and then something else;
a both-and, a hybrid.

narratives of crisis
obscure the both-and and
reflect a nostalgia for
a something before something else;

narratives of crisis
are the something else
reaching back
to an impossible time of not-both.

narratives of colonialism
are something else.

colonialism
as a looking back
with the hybrid eyes,
gazing for the not-both
with the vision that brought about the crisis.

social order ordered by
the looking forward by looking back;
the looking back ordered by
the promise of living forward.

 

snakes

Harriet Tubman, according to Lydia Maria Child, once said:

“God won’t let Master Lincoln beat the South until he does right thing. Master Lincoln, he’s a great man, and I’m a poor Negro but this Negro can tell Master Lincoln how to save money and young men. He can do it by setting the Negroes free. Suppose there was an awful big snake down there on the floor. He bites you. Folks all scared, because you may die. You send for doctor to cut the bite; but the snake rolled up there, and while doctor is doing it, he bites you again. The doctor cuts out that bite; but while he’s doing it, the snake springs up and bites you again, and so he keeps doing it, till you kill him. That’s what Master Lincoln ought to know.”

In this analogy, we can imagine that Tubman thinks of slavery like a snake, or perhaps an enslaved creature as the snake itself. In either case, it is the conditions of slavery that motivate the biting. But neither slavery, nor people subject to it, operate like creatures, like the snake. Which is not to criticize the choice of creature that Tubman identifies, but simply to account for the reason the body and snake are in relation in the first place. This metaphor, while trying to punctuate the stakes of abolition, takes for granted the necessity of the body’s (the United States’) continued existence. It takes for granted the need, will, or want to live, and perhaps consequently, to reproduce. Such a premise is central to the colonization of the Americas, and it serves as a precondition for settlers to enslave anyone in the first place. It is through property relations that the politics of reproduction are brought to bear on the backs of black folk, and it explains a central premise in black liberation politics: the right to be included in the project of setter colonization. The fight between you and the snake, what characterizes your relationship to each other, is competition over the right to live and reproduce. So while the snake in Tubman’s metaphor might represent an oppressed person, we might also see its constitution – as locked into this competitive dynamic with a man – as representative of colonial politics or coloniality, writ large. If we do, we must be mindful of the ironic limitation to imagining settler colonialism in this way: if it were so simple to contain colonialism into a body, perhaps it might be slain. But colonialism is not a body; it is an act. It is a universe of possibilities and of laws, of priorities and values. And to really know colonialism is to be outside it; to be so completely alienated by it that your existence constantly teeters on the brink of violent erasure. In other words, to be so far removed from any power within the system, that the idea of ever living away from it is impossible for some people to ever accept.

note

Diversity is the fruit of a poisoned tree. [1] [2] [3]

epic footnote series

Academic institutions tend to reproduce colonial schemes and milieus that only legitimate discrete packages of knowledge; my readers should be aware of how incredibly uncomfortable I am in producing knowledge about Minecraft in this way. This discomfort comes from being both within the meshwork and outside the network that connects Minecraft-related objects, places, players, and logics together. My thesis is not concerned with those people who love Minecraft and derive great personal benefit to the way the game is currently designed; rather, my observations reflect a personal, ontological desire to decolonize a virtual world that does not value plurality and multiplicity. 

my decolonization project

what does it mean to value, appreciate, feel fulfilled in building of relationship between systems and yourself that is not about power, control, and domination?

gender and minecraft: console-ing passions 2014

Full disclosure, this presentation is an abbreviated analysis of a forthcoming book chapter on conventions of gender in Minecraft. This is also work that I am more comprehensively developing for my master’s thesis, provided the process of writing it doesn’t kill me over the next few weeks.

Console-ing Passions 2014

By way of some introduction to this paper, I’ll first describe how Minecraft presents itself and rhetorically defines gender and sexuality. I will then talk about how this this framework differs from sociological understandings of gender and the lived experiences of people who play the game. I’ll then walk through the ways in which labor facilitates the gendering of players and vice versa. To make sense of this epistemological framework I’m then going to explore the limitations of ontological possibility in the game. In many ways this conference presentation is about Minecraft, and in others it’s not. It’s about almost every game I have ever played in which I was forced to adopt a digital representation of myself.   Read the rest of this entry »