Reading Braidotti’s The Posthuman was a fascinating look into the world of theory both past and present that revolved around or questioned “the idea of the ‘Human'” as “the basic unit of reference for the knowing subject” (143). Through Braidotti’s work, Braidotti explored many of the issues that we’ve discussed this semester. The work of DH intersected again and again with Braidotti’s “crisis of Humanism”. This included questioning the “purity” of science, the human as the center, and the work of various movements to de-center or question normalized modes of producing knowledge. From Braidotti’s work, along with what we’ve covered with Harraway, it appears that both scholars recommend a localized and diverse analytic approach to culture, society, and science as path forward for scholars in the Humanities. This would appear to be an inclusive approach, one that tries to de-link itself from “a hierarchical scale of decreasing worth” where subjects are defined by their exclusion (143).
This de-linking, or localized focus, mirrors Samir Amin’s world systems theory that also mentions de-linking from dominant hierarchical forces. Much like Braidotti’s “Others”, periphery countries are marginalized by hegemonic forces of the self-aggrandizing Western humanist center. Both periphery countries and Braidotti’s “Others” are marginalized by the globalized, capitalist and Eurocentric system that normalizes and enforces ideologies in order to “dehumanize” people for the “accumulation of wealth” (7). From both posthuman and world system theories, humans appear to be inextricably trapped in recapitulating and circular systems of commodification and violence by oppressive powers (7). Yet the idea of de-linking, or removing oneself from Humanist ideologies, seems to present itself as the possibility for future movement for various groups. Inclusion and diversification is presented a solution, but how does one become a part of this process?
In our class, we’ve discussed our own intimidation and marginalized in DH work. How do we, as students of the humanities include ourselves in discussions? Braidotti seems to suggest that we are in the middle of a process that has already started: “the crisis of Humanism means that the structural Others of the modern humanistic subject re-emerge with a vengeance in postmodernity” (37). However, we’ve read and seen dismissive theories that paint women and minorities into corners, or theories that don’t acknowledge the structural systems in place that would still exclude “alternative modes of subjectivity” (38). How do we localize the issues of fluency to ourselves so that we may access humanities computing or digital humanities work? Braidotti states that it is in the modern movements, or the “the women’s rights movement, the anti-racism, and de-colonization movements, the anti-nuclear, and pro-environment movements” that voices have been created and heard as the “structural Others of modernity” (37). This seems to imply a need for proactive work, where the “Others” also work to pave various paths for diversity or inclusion and this seems to be focused on furthering or creating movements to address exclusion.
After last week’s demonstration and listening to the feedback of “anyone can do it”, I wondered to myself if perhaps the only way out would be by pushing through? Again I returned to issues of “the master’s tools” and the dangers of working through exclusionary systems. How then, are localized or diverse spaces maintained or created? How can tools be created or manipulated to be intuitive or accessible? In my own final project, I’ve found the need to start researching the “how-to’s” of programming before even fathoming how to write or propose a new language. I hope that by the end of the project I may have more answers than questions, but occasionally I feel like my own project may end up as a spectacular failure. Yet the process will be well worth it, as it will teach me more about processes that have been abstract, obscure, or difficult to access. Like Braidotti’s work, I see the importance to exploring, understanding and questioning how systems of exclusion or access pierce and intrude into avenues of life, from the humanities and sciences, up to globalization and systems of power. How do we de-link from exclusion? How do we turn back the tides of marginalization?
Amin, Samir. Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World. Zed Books, 1990. Print.
Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013. Print.