CONQUERING THE SLASHES [/] FOR DIFFERENCE
When I speak of conquering the slashes for difference I refer to attempts at removing the divide that has historically barred people of color, radical academics and people of differences from doing what most have come to call cultural work. These slash obstruct, separate, divide, subjugate and question the authenticity of nonacademic work and operate as a knowledge-power machinery to maintain the status quo. The existing discourse about language, writing, power structures, history and representation intensified within the postmodern era, while attempts were being made to reduce the tension between what is considered as objective truth as against cultural literary work.
Postmodernism helped to blur the lines between binary positions male/female, fact/fiction, objective/subjective, science/art and called into the question the power relations and social structures that stood as slashes policing the divide. Postmodernism encourages multiplicity, diversity and if I dare say difference. Most importantly though, or at least to this paper, postmodernism as Gordon puts it, has caused “a fracture in the epistemological regime of modernity which has lead to the understanding that the practices of writing, analysis, and investigation, both social and cultural is less of a scientifically positive project and more of a cultural practice of storytelling told by situated investigators” (Gordon 2008: 10). This essay will highlight a few of the authors who have attempted to challenge some of these dualisms and the traditions of social science epistemologies in their textual work. I will then discuss the power structures that work to create and maintain this politics of knowledge within the ‘nervous system’ called academia and finally end with a discussion about what is at stake with either the inclusion or exclusion of these alternatives.
Gordon (2008), Cho (2008), West (1993), Min-ha (1989), Lorde (1980), have all challenged the dualisms fact/fiction, theory/poetry, history/story, consciousness/unconscious, science/art, identity/difference in one form or another. Each of these authors will be discussed from this point and where there are overlaps in their productions this will be discussed as well. These texts have posed powerful objections against white-male-European epistemological dictation, which question heterodox approaches to knowledge production, forcing any such attempts to the margins of academic work. These texts you could say is an embodiment of the new ‘Cultural Politics of Difference’ which West (1993) so profoundly explains as refusing “the monolithic and homogeneous in the name of diversity, multiplicity, and heterogeneity; to reject the abstract, general, and universal in light of the concrete, specific, and particular and to historicize, contextualize, and pluralize by highlighting the contingent, provisional, variable, tentative, shifting, and changing’ (West 1993: 204). Championing the cause...