Manual Agency and Embodiment

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She has also published articles exploring the interface between literature and philosophy. Her research interests comprise gender criticism, queer criticism and feminist literary theory. In her doctoral thesis she considers different kinds of metaphors used in gender discourse as it has functioned in literary studies in Poland since He is currently working on his doctoral thesis devoted to the performative turn in literary theory. His research interests include performance studies, the philosophy of the body, ecocriticism, and the politics of literature.

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Register Log in My Order 0 Wishlist 0. You have no items in your order. Book Description Literature, Performance, and Somaesthetics views textual and extra-textual worlds as intimately connected, as forming a continuum, in fact.

Agency and Embodiment: Groups, Human–Machine Interactions, and Virtual Realities

View Extract. ISBN ISBN X. Asma Mansoor. Najeeba Arif. Although these terms have been taken from the First world feminist discourses, we aim to highlight how these three terms were not merely reflected in the contemporary poetry of Pakistani women, but rather were used to express their own modalities and associations as they countered the patriarchal system within which they were embedded.

Our study does not simply apply these terms on selected poems by Kishwar Naheed , Fehmeeda Riaz and Azra Abbas , but it also explores how these terms undergo a discursive diffraction as the Pakistani woman is no longer seen as a subaltern entity with a silenced subjectivity. This is to show that while these terms were theorised by Western feminists, contemporary Pakistani women writers have, over the last few decades, been enacting these terms in ways which deny the stereotypical projection of the Third world woman in the Western gender discourses.

For these women writers, writing enacts embodiment through articulation and thus agentively counters the objectifying gaze of the patriarchal order. Asiatic, Vol. In order to conduct our analysis, we have investigated some poems in Urdu by three contemporary Pakistani female poets — Kishwar Naheed , Fehmeeda Riaz and Azra Abbas — which we translated ourselves, owing to the subject expertise of the co-author of this paper in the domains of both English and Urdu literatures.

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We have delimited our analysis to the genre of poetry alone because the poetry of the selected poets offers a cornucopia of thematic paradigms that are relevant to our study. This diversity in themes is of pivotal importance in our theoretical exploration of the three key terms that govern our analysis. One factor that needs to be kept in mind here is that these women are empowered, educated Pakistani women who have access to better financial and social resources of advancement.

It is true that the generalisations that we have deduced here are not applicable to all Pakistani women; however, this in turn further destabilises the essentialising tendency of a number of First world feminist discourses. As a matter of fact, as Pakistani women focusing on Pakistani women writers writing in their local language, our exploration basically aims at challenging the Western feminist centre and also at presenting our peripheral position as an agentive space. Hence, both the Urdu language and our peripheral positionality are taken as empowering rather than disempowering factors that contest the stereotypical depiction of Third world women in general, and Pakistani women in particular, as passive subaltern women.

It is through the engagement of the terminology of Western feminist discourses, and specifically of French Feminist discourses, that we have worked on the diffraction these terms undergo when placed in an altered socio-political context. On the first tier, we will elucidate the act of writing poetry by Pakistani women in relation to their local patriarchal system.

On the second level, our analysis will focus on the act of writing, specifically in Urdu, as an agentive act which does not aim at addressing the West, and therefore, lies outside a Western epistemic paradigm.

It concludes with situating her alterity within the realm of the Urdu language so that both her action and her language negate the Western feminist inferences regarding her subaltern position. With language taken as a habitat, the Urdu language becomes not only an agentive mechanism but also a space within which a Pakistani female poet contours her subjectivity in terms of both articulation and embodiment.

However, this Derridean notion of language as an abode has not been borrowed uncritically. In engaging this notion, we have also taken into consideration the Lacanian idea that language is the framing mechanism of the phallocratic symbolic order which prescribes all ideologies as well as gender- Asiatic, Vol.

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Since Urdu is the spatiality of their enactment, it is necessary for us to engage the tenets of postcolonial Feminist theorists such as Gayatri Spivak and Sara Suleri within the framework of our analysis. A subaltern is so named precisely because it cannot speak the language of the colonial master. This hegemonic and discursive muteness has traditionally confined Third world women to a position of an inscrutable, and resultantly misinterpreted, alterity.

Our argument is that this exile of the so-called subaltern from the discourse of the master does not necessarily relegate him or her to a position of passivity. In our study, we have theoretically re-constituted the Urdu language as an empowering space pushed to the periphery by the British colonial master whose language of power was English. With language and subjectivity being co-constitutive Schroeder xx , it needs to be kept in mind that not only does the structure and order of language frame the unconscious structure of individuality, but the positionality of their language also governs both the positionality and enactment of their respective subjectivities.

That is why if Urdu is also to be re-thought as an agentive space and action in comparison Asiatic, Vol.

Writing, Feminine Alterity and a Pakistani Woman As mentioned earlier, writing remains a patriarchal means of creating reality. It becomes the discursive space prescribing and reifying feminine embodiment through a masculine speculum that aims at consolidating only itself as the transcendental signified.

In Lacanian terms, the symbolic order is also the order of language and of the father Lacan Hence, masculinity and language stand conflated. Neither English nor Urdu are exceptions to this rule.

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Even in the Subcontinent, Urdu Literature has been primarily a masculine domain within which women had to intervene. Her ipseity, like that of the colonised subject, thus becomes inarticulable in itself, requiring the binaristic Asiatic, Vol. In the Western feminist discourse, a woman also has one language and it is not hers.

This language was spoken by women within harems or by high-end courtesans. However, this trend faded due to moralistic judgements imposed upon it and is no longer utilised by contemporary Pakistani women writers. Hence, a detailed discussion on the Begumati zaban lies outside the ambit of this paper. Moreover, in the current Urdu register, there is only one language which is used by both the men and women of the Indian Subcontinent. This does not mean that being phallocentric, a woman remains exiled from it and that whatever she says co- opts her voice within a patriarchal code.

This aspect needs to be seen from an angle provided by Deleuze and Guattari. According to them, when a minor language, or the language of those who are hierarchally weak, interacts with a major language, the minor language is not co-opted by the major language. Thus, when women intervene within the patriarchal language, they are making it minor by modulating it from the inside.

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However, in defining a Third world woman as an essentialist, mute and passive subject, the speculum of First world feminism also functions in a similar patriarchal paradigm. She is homogenised in terms of an Other — all that we are not — only necessary in terms of how she constitutes and consolidates the superiority of the One, i.

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This sublation of coloured Third world women belonging to different regions and ethnicities remains a crucial point of debate within global and transnational Feminist discourses. The major problem lying within this constructed image of an average Third world woman is that it is either based upon a false assumption of commonality or an equally spurious image of polar opposition, through which, invariably, the construct of a First world woman consolidates itself.

By placing the coloured woman, in terms of both her language and embodiment, within an alterity that is extremely reductive, the First world feminist discourse sends a Third world woman within a discursive exile in a manner similar to which a First world masculine episteme discursively extradites a First world woman. So how does a Third world woman reclaim her language and body within this exilic state of alterity and function within a language and discursive framework that is not hers?

In the context of a Third world woman, the space- action dualism of writing gains an added complexity.

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For a Third world woman, this space of enactment is always-already prescribed both by her local patriarchal order and also by the First world feminist discourse. To re-engage the aforementioned notions of French Feminism, it appears as if a Third world woman is cathected within the tropes generated by the Third world patriarchal and First world feminist discourses. However, what needs to be foregrounded here is that it is not only women who are irrevocably embedded within the symbolic order and shaped by it; men are also constructed by the operations of the same symbolic order.

Yet, being upholders of the law through their proprietary command over language, men assume a centrality within the global gender discourse. This gender discourse, therefore, becomes the semiotic, coding mechanism through which both the masculine Asiatic, Vol. With men appropriating and modulating language as a tool for articulating themselves, language becomes a mise-en-abyme that endlessly replicates the masculine One.

So the question arises: how is articulation possible for a woman in a language that merely sees her as a reflective surface for the One? We, on the other hand, object to this argument as we re-view mimicry as an agentive act that may be used to reflect back to the One the image of all its grotesqueness.

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Continuing with this analogy, if writing is a mirror, then we agree with Cixous that Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies — for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Woman must put herself into the text — as into the world and into history — by her own movement…. Moreover, in inveigling into language, a woman becomes agentive since she initiates that re- constitution without denying her need for man.