My translocal, transglobal body

All of my experiences in life up until the workship have produced and are producing a discursive and material body for me to bring on the boat. In fact, material and physical processes, which happened in various places and times, such as reproduction and the creation of neural pathways as well as social processes are always working together to create my body (admitting it isn’t wholly mine).

In thinking about the body, I want to acknowledge that my object is inextricably discursive and material because as Stacy Alaimo (2008) suggests, “predominant paradigms do not deny the material existence of the body, of course, but they do tend to focus exclusively on how various bodies have been discursively produced, which casts the body as passive, plastic matter” (p. 237). As non-plastic, agential matter, during the workship, my body reminded me of its materiality. I noticed while walking around and contorting my body to videotape at different angles, a pain in the top of my foot. I was non-materially transported to Malaysia by the materiality of my mind’s neural networks, where I had been in a motorcycle accident and broken my left foot. I am still able to feel it if I move my foot a certain way or if the weather is just so. I, as a tourist, rented a motorcycle (not a scooter) to ride around the island of Langkawi. The accelerator became stuck on my way back to return the bike. We (the moto and I) hit an earthen embankment, which was the only way I was able to stop and the bike landed partially on my foot. My then partner and I headed to seek medical attention whereupon the doctor at the only clinic on the island diagnosed my foot as broken, but could only offer an ace bandage to wrap it. My body affected by and affecting more-than-human entities in a translocal and transnational environment of Malaysia, was present on the workship. The past was made present through the materiality of my body and its relationships to networks both within it and outside of it.

Alaimo (2008) also notes “by emphasizing the movement across bodies, trans-corporeality reveals the interchanges and interconnections between human corporeality and the more-than-human” (p. 238). Another important point when discussing the human body-as-object requires that we acknowledge its simultaneous stability and instability because as Alaimo (2008) notes, “the human body is never static because its interactions with other bodies always alter it” (p. 255). In other words, the stability of the human body is reflected in the ability to reference it as “it” and its instability is reflected in its intra-actions with “itself” in addition to its interactions with other bodies.

My body is always becoming and unbecoming part of this flow or that node (See Latour, 2005). As Deborah Gambs suggests (2007) “The body is a site of movement, sensation, and thus transformation challenges notions of positionality, stasis, identity” (p. 112). Gambs (2007) also suggests, “An ontology of becoming is evidenced here—if a thing ‘is’ when it isn’t doing, then a body in motion never ‘is’, and a body is always in motion” (p. 112). Thus bodies become and unbecome translocal and transnational through various processes such as the shedding of skin cells, travel[1], DNA, genealogy, markings—scars, tattoos, piercings—listening, microbes (can’t be human without them), consumption, ridding and the imagination.

Figure 1. Transnational, translocal travel map of my body-in-motion.

Alaimo, S., & Hekman, S. J. (2008). Material feminisms. Indiana University Press.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford University Press.

Gambs, D. (2007). Myocellular Transduction: When My Cells Trained My Body-Mind in Clough, P. T., & Halley, J. O. (2007). The affective turn: theorizing the social. (pp. 119-150). Duke University Press.

[1] See Figure 1, the travel map of my body on page 3 .


1 Comment

Filed under Geography 870

One response to “My translocal, transglobal body

  1. I tend not to comment, however I read a few of
    the responses on My translocal, transglobal body | gentryhanks.

    I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you do not mind.
    Could it be just me or does it appear like a few of the responses appear
    like they are written by brain dead individuals? 😛 And,
    if you are posting at additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of every one of your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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