cj (1 & 2)

01/18, 01/25

Berger, John. G. Bloomsbury Publishing, 1972.

Bissett, Bill. Incorrect Thots. Talon Books, 1992.

Grosz, Elizabeth (1995). ‘Bodies and Knowledges: Feminism and the Crisis of Reason’. In S pace, T ime and P erversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies, 25–44. New York: Routledge. 

Grosz discusses theories that work as tools to oppress women, as well as complicated methodologies and theories (and their limitations) available to feminists. While Grosz critiques essentialism, she admits feminism’s inability to escape from and utilize the concept. Essentialism determines a fixed female essence, which restricts women to non-competitive, nurturing, emotional, and helping behaviours. Within the framework of essentialism exists biologism, in which female capacities become defined by biological causes such as childbearing and assumption that women lack physical strength compared to men. Naturalism also branches from essentialism and postulates a fixed nature for women asserting itself on theological or ontological grounds rather than biological; examples of naturalism include the idea of God-given attributes and psychoanalytically assumed female behaviours. These classifications “confuse social relations with fixed attributes” (Grosz 49). While the essentialism of women problematically supposes shared characteristics of all women in all historical and social contexts, feminists must fight with this categorical structure to justify their status as an oppressed sex. Without assessing the similarities of women as a group, Grosz asks what stands behind the claim of feminism at its root.

Nelson, Maggie. Bluets. Wave Books, 2009.

This is an indexical reflection on the author’s falling in love with the colour blue. A total of 240 entries written from 2003–2006 detail an introspective inquiry into Nelson’s own fascination, as well as blue’s apparent hold on people throughout time. Without linear narrative, the colour blue remains the only basis moving the text forward. Drawing from personal memories, philosophy, science, history, and art, Bluets meditates on the complexities of a colour and parallels the complexities of life. References to poets such as Mallarmé and Stein coincide with deep theoretical inquiry, curse words, and sexual references. Nelson moves from the humour and vulnerability of self-reflexive micro observations to calculated and carefully researched macro observations, making the collection a model of human experience. Nelson laughs at a colour’s ridiculous allure, but fashions blue as a strong enough force to inspire spectrums of withdrawal, devotion, and lightheartedness in a sometimes bleak world.