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Polemiche ‘post-orientaliste’

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Presentazione sul tema: "Polemiche ‘post-orientaliste’"— Transcript della presentazione:

1 Polemiche ‘post-orientaliste’
Una delle critiche rivolte ad Orientalismo di Said è che esso trascuri il fattore capitalista e le logiche di sfruttamento economiche. Said è criticato per la sua posizione di intellettuale alto-borghese residente negli Stati Uniti. Non avrebbe reso sufficientemente complesse le realtà da lui analizzate, limitandosi ai ‘testi’ (soprattutto letterari). Replica di Said (postfazione all’edizione di Orientalism del 1994): “What I called for in Orientalism was a new way of conceiving the separations and conflicts that had stimulated generations of hostility, war and imperial control. And indeed, one of the most interesting developments in post-colonial studies was a re-reading of the canonical cultural works, not to demote or somehow dish dirt on them, but to re-investigate some of their assumptions, going beyond the stifling hold on them of some of the master-slave binary dialectic” (Said, Orientalism, 350-1, ed. 1994)

2 Questioni di genere: Said e Leila Ahmed
Altra polemica importante su Orientalism: la retorica nazionalista Araba e la questione di genere. Leila Ahmed, professore di Women’s Studies in Religion alla Harvard Divinity School scrive: “...the burden of my own history layered my experience of this text [Orientalism] with a degree of unease. Most difficult of all probably was Orientalism’s profound resonance to my ears with the perspectives and rhetoric of Arab nationalism [...] which represented imperialism as uniformly and comprehensively negative. I knew from my own life that, for all real injustices of imperialism, its legacy had also meant that I had had choices where my mother [...] had had none” (L. Ahmed, A Border Passage, 240)

3 La polemica sulla questione di genere: Lamia Ben Youssef Zayzafoon e la “donna musulmana”
Zayzafoon propone di riaprire l’analisi di Said per introdurre la nozione di ‘costruzione culturale’ della ‘donna musulmana’. Per Z., la “donna musulmana”, piuttosto che l’Oriente, è la categoria prodotta dal discorso orientalista. Essa resta fissa e immutabile, nell’analisi fatta da Said, in un discorso di potere che si articola in due immagini fondamentali: “In the first set, the Muslim woman appears as a licentious sexual creature. [...] In the second type, the “Muslim woman” epitomizes the exotic essence of the Orient, which the European male traveler covets and tries to possess” (Zayzafoon, Muslim Woman, 3-4) Per Z., l’impianto teorico di Said è tipicamente freudiano, dunque occidentale. La donna musulmana appare come una specie di “Io europeo nascosto o surrogato”, bisognosa dell’intervento civilizzatore della missione europea. Ma Z. va oltre, discutendo la possibilità stessa della rappresentazione, e non la giustezza o meno di essa. Analizza la posizione culturale, etnica, razziale, sociale e di genere che permette di assumere l’autorità di parlare ‘per conto’ della donna musulmana, e di costruirla come soggetto e oggetto al tempo stesso (diritto che si arrogherebbe Said come pure le femministe bianche occidentali). (in Marta Cariello, Corpi migranti tra le sponde delle lingue, 19-21)

4 Dialogo sull’Islam: Said e Leila Ahmed
Una critica di stampo marxista alla modernità occidentale, potrebbe rivalutare l’Islam come tradizione alternativa al progresso imperialista. Said: All’interno dell’Islam, donne ed uomini combattono una battaglia contro la tradizione soffocante per esprimere il loro diritto alla modernità come diritto all’espressione. “There is a school of writers , poets, essaysts, and intellectuals, who are fighting a battle for the right to be modern, because our history is governed by the turath, or heritage. But the question is, who designates what the heritage is. That is the problem. For us, the crisis of ‘modernism’ and ‘modernity’ is a crisis over authority, and the right of the individual , and the writer, the thinker, to express himself, or herself, for it is also the battle over women’s rights.”

5 Leila Ahmed A Border Passage from CAIRO to AMERICA - A WOMAN’S JOURNEY 1999

6 Ahmed e l’Islam delle donne: una questione di interiorità
“The women had, too, I now believe, their own understanding of Islam, an understanding that was different from men’s Islam, “official” Islam. […] For all the women of the house, religion was an essential part of how they made sense of their lives. It was through religion that one pondered the things that happened, and why they happened and what one should make of them, how one should take them. Islam, as I got it from them, was a gentle, generous, pacifist, inclusive, somewhat-mystical religion - just as they themselves were. […] Being Muslim - as I believe also being Christian or Jewish in the multi-religious community in which I grew up - was about believing in a world in which life was meaningful and in which all events and happenings were permeated, although not always transparently to us, with meaning. Religion was above all about inner things. The outer signs of religiousness such as prayer and fasting and so on, might be signs of true religiousness, but on the other hand, equally might not. In our family […] what was important was […] how you were in your heart.

7 Un’eredità orale, profonda ma evanescente. Un problema di tracce.
“What it was to be Muslim was passed on by these women, for the most part, not, of course, wordlessly, but without elaborate sets of injunctions, threats, decrees or dictates as to what we should do and be and believe. What was passed on, besides the very general basic beliefs and moral ethos of Islam, which are also those of its sister monotheisms, was a way of being in the world […] in relation to God, to existence, to other human beings. This the women passed on to us most of all through how […] they were in the world, conveying their beliefs, ways, thoughts and how we should be in the world by a touch, a glance, a word […] And all of these ways of passing on attitudes, morals, beliefs, knowledge – trough touch and the body and in words spoken in the living moment – are by their very nature subtle and evanescent […] they do not leave a record in the way that someone writing a text about how to live or what to believe leaves a record. […]” “So, there two quite different Islams, an Islam that is in some sense a women’s Islam, and an official, textual Islam, a “men’s” Islam.” Parola / soffio vs. Testo scritto

8 Il qui ed ora del senso: l’incontro del soffio e del segno
La prospettiva proposta da Ahmed per una rilettura delle categorie di ‘modernità’ e ‘tradizione’: un Islam “orale” e “donna”, iscritto nella voce e sul corpo, fatto di gesti, suoni e silenzi, di ‘soffio’ animante e non di Logos divino proibitivo e normativo. Il qui ed ora della parola che si fa senso se ‘respirata’. “Originally the Quran was an aural, and only an aural, text recited to the community by the Prophet Muhammad. […] In Arabic (and also Hebrew) script, no vowels are set down, only consonants. A set of consonants can have several meanings and only acquires final, specific, fixed meaning when given vocalized or silent utterance (unlike words in European script, which have the appearance, anyway, of being fixed in meaning). Until life is literally breathed into them, Arabic and Hebrew words on the page have no particular meaning. Indeed, until then they are not words but only potential words, a chaotic babble and possibility of meanings. […] these two languages seem to announce the primacy of the spoken, literally living word, and to announce that meaning can only be here and now. Here and now in this body, this breath (nafas) this self (nafs) encountering the word, giving it life. Word that without that encounter, has no life, no meaning. Meaning always only here and now, in this body, this person. Truth only here and now, for this body, this person. Not something transcendent, overarching, larger, bigger, more important than life - but here and now and in this body and in this small and ordinary life.” (127-8)

9 La necessità della traccia: uscire dal silenzio
“If the day won’t come when the monuments of institutionalized religion are in ruin ...then my beloved, then we are really in trouble (Rumi, poeta Sufi, in Ahmed, 130) “All of this is true. But the fact is that, however genuinely humane and gentle and pacifist my mother's and grandmother's Islam was, it left them and the women among whom they lived wholly accepting of the ways of their society in relation to women, even when those ways were profoundly destructive. They bowed their heads and acquiesced to them even when the people being crushed were their nearest and dearest. […] when things went wrong, the women were powerless and acquiescent in a silence that seemed to me when I was young awfully like a guilty averting of the eyes, awfully like a kind of connivance.” (Ahmed, 131) “'To refuse to veil one's voice and to start “shouting,” that was really indecent, real dissidence. For the silence of all the others suddenly lost its charm and revealed itself for what it was: a prison without reprieve. . .‘” (Assia Djebar, “Fantasia”, in Ahmed, A Border.. 133)

10 Scrivere la propria storia
Scrittura della memoria, del memoir: Non è necessariamente l’eccesso o l’abuso della memoria, la costruzione fittizia o arrogante di un’identità [vedi Adriana Cavarero, Tu che mi guardi, tu che mi racconti (1999, Feltrinelli)]. L’autobiografia postcoloniale come modo di raccontare il viaggio, un transito transculturale. E’ la rinegoziazione di un’identità plurima. Necessità del riconoscimento come ricomposizione del sé nella situazione ‘postcoloniale’? Recupero identitario del sé migrante, postcoloniale, in esilio fisico o intellettuale. Ricostruzione di una storia a partire dal ‘personale’ o dal ‘politico’ e dal sociale, per intrecciarli. Re-member: ricordare / rimembrare La storia non è solo la Storia delle nazioni, delle loro interazioni e dei grandi capitali: anche il percorso tracciato da un corpo migrante può scrivere una storia. La ‘Storia’ può essere scardinata, frammentata e resa anche essa plurima e migrante da altri tipi di narrazioni. Una scrittura fatta anche di silenzi, soffi, interruzioni e fluidità, come l’oralità.

11 Il soggetto subalterno (la donna, il colonizzato, il migrante clandestino, etc.) da oggetto descritto diventa soggetto parlante, assume l’ ‘Io’ narrativo su di sé. Una scrittura dove l’Io c’è, ma c’è molto altro dal ‘me’ (altro dal narcisismo, e dalla rigidità di un’identità fissa) Assunta la responsabilità di parlare per sé, si apre la questione della possibilità di parlare davvero per sé: il mezzo per parlare resta sempre quello stabilito e fondato dal sistema egemonico (anche la letteratura, l’arte, il sistema di divulgazione della cultura, la lingua stessa che si sceglie). Anche il soggetto ‘postcoloniale’ che scrive di sé è inserito nel ‘discorso’(Foucault). Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak: Can the subaltern speak?

12 L’appropriazione da parte di soggetti subalterni delle pratiche culturali del colonizzatore e dell’ ‘Io’ culturalmente dominante può trasformare i paradigmi narrativi, per esempio, della scrittura autobiografica. Soprattutto, si può leggere la scrittura autobiografica dei soggetti subalterni prestando ascolto alla multivocalità del soggetto narrante: pensare al testo (qualsiasi testo) non come presenza evidente di un testo primario e presenza sommersa di un sottotesto, ma sempre come insieme dialogico di segni e di voci. In questo modo, decade anche l’autorità e universalità dell’ ‘Io’ narrante e della sua ‘Verità’.

13 To hear the song of the reed Everything you have ever known
Leila Ahmed, A Border Passage, from CAIRO to AMERICA – A WOMAN’S JOURNEY To hear the song of the reed Everything you have ever known must be left behind. (Jalaluddin Rumi, poeta persiano, mistico Sufi, del XIII°sec. d.C.): Il suono dello strumento è il suono della memoria. Dimenticare tutto ciò che si conosce significa qui dimenticare l’autorità delle pratiche discorsive che hanno formato il soggetto, e che gli hanno permesso di conoscere solo ciò che gli è dato conoscere. Il viaggio della memoria – familiare, personale, nazionale, sul confine – richiede di ripercorrere le tappe formative della soggettività per lasciarle andare. Dimenticare se stessi per divenire se stessi nel ‘qui e ora’, in transito.

14 Memoir come posizionamento all’interno di una geografia fuori dalle vecchie mappe.
Le mappe dei percorsi postcoloniali, spesso invertiti rispetto alle rotte coloniali, sono imprevedibili. Il posizionamneto della soggettività che vive nel presente dell’incontro, ed è consapevole, senza restare legata, dell’eredità della sua storia, permette l’avanzare del nuovo, dà una possibilità al futuro, rinunciando al ‘monolite identitario’, alla totalizzazione del discorso.

15 Il posizionamento (positioning) è ciò di cui parla Said (da Gramsci) quando definisce il sé come “le frasi che ci compongono”, sottolineando l’imprescindibilità del vissuto personale dalla pratica critica. posizionamento è soprattutto e prima di tutto una pratica appartenente al femminismo e alla critica femminista: Situated knowledges (D. Haraway): posizionarsi nel produrre sapere: da dove produco il mio sapere? Mi relaziono all’oggetto del mio sapere, che quindi perde lo status di oggetto per diventare a sua volta agente.

16 Memoir come cura di sé? La memoria autobiografica può essere, pertanto, luogo di ‘teoria’, in quanto modalità di scoprirsi posizionati all’interno della propria produzione di sapere; si può scoprire, narrando il contesto, quali sono i condizionamenti epistemologici che ci informano (cura di sé in senso foucaultiano) : nel caso di Ahmed, riscoprire, analizzare la questione della donna e del genere nell’Islam, il rapporto fra oralità / voci plurali e incarnate in soggettività femminili vs. Logos/ scrittura immutabile, il rapporto Inghilterra / Egitto). Ritornare alla storia coloniale e post-coloniale per scoprire i vincoli storici dell’agire e del sentire personale. Il romamanzo-memoir di Ahmed è insieme narrativo, lirico e teorico. E’ un tentativo di dis-appropriazione e ri-appropriazione del sé (decolonializzazione della mente, recupero di ricordi e sensazioni in altra luce)

17 Melaconia dell’esilio: identità interrotte
L’identità della narratrice, metonimia della condizione umana, è franta, incompleta, composta di molte voci: gli affetti familiari – i genitori, le altre donne di famiglia -, le influenze inglesi, i suoni e colori dell’Egitto, l’Islam, etc. L’incompletezza non può essere colmata, è anzi fonte di nuove possibilità, non solo teoriche. Permette innanzitutto il ricordo e la scrittura, e la liberazione da categorie fisse. “Years later I'd discover that in Sufi poetry this music of the reed is the quintessential music of loss and I'd feel, learning this, that I'd always known it to be so. In the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, the classic master-poet of Sufism, the song of the reed is the metaphor for our human condition, haunted as we so often are by a vague sense of longing and of nostalgia, but nostalgia for we know not quite what. Cut from its bed and fashioned into a pipe, the reed forever laments the living earth that it once knew, crying out, whenever life is breathed into it, its ache and its yearning and loss. We too live our lives haunted by loss, we too, says Rumi, remember a condition of completeness that we once knew but have forgotten that we ever knew. The song of the reed and the music that haunts our lives is the music of loss, of loss and of remembrance.” (5)

18 Il percorso della memoria e della scrittura
[...] as I sit here now, in these halls, in this house of memory, it is not in those days and those moments that my story begins. Rather, it begins for me with the disruption of that world and the desolation that for a time overtook our lives. For it was only then that I'd begin to follow the path that would bring me—exactly here. Vita e politica/politiche     And so it is with those years and their upheaval [sconvolgimenti radicali] and with the politics that framed our lives that I must begin.

19 I grew up in the last days of the British Empire
I grew up in the last days of the British Empire. My childhood fell in that era when the words "imperialism" and "the West" had not yet acquired the connotations they have today—they had not yet become, that is, mere synonyms for "racism," "oppression," and "exploitation."… “By the early twenties Egypt had won partial independence from Britain, established itself as a constitutional monarchy, and installed its first democratically elected government. The new government believed that education was key to ensuring Egypt's stability as a democracy and began at once to open more free schools, for girls as well as boys. By the late twenties Egypt's first modern university opened its doors.”     “For three decades the country was a democracy. Then came the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which drove the old governing classes out of power and put an end to their dreams. Democracy was abolished and Egypt was declared a socialist state, drawing its political inspiration now not from the democracies of the West but from the Soviet Union. The revolution had inaugurated a new and fiercer type of anti-imperialist, anti-Western rhetoric, which would become the dominant rhetoric of the postrevolutionary age.”

20 In Search of Identity Eventually I began to see the constructed nature of our Arab identity as it was formed and re-formed to serve the political interests of the day. [...] Of course, the issue of identity, a profoundly ambiguous matter for Egypt, was inescapably and deeply political. Sadat, who published his autobiography during his presidency, actually called his book In Search of Identity.     If the president of Egypt himself, no less, was searching for his identity, no wonder that I, crossing the threshold into my teenage years in that era of revolution, would find myself profoundly confused and conflicted and, forever after, haunted by feelings of deep uncertainty and a mysteriously guilt-ridden [n.d.r.:dominato dal senso di colpa] sense of ambiguity. Identity was not simply a matter of rhetoric and politics but something that directly touched my own life in personal if unarticulated ways.

21 Undoing identity: decolonializzare la mente dal colonialismo interiorizzato
“Father admired Mothers voice enormously and would say that she could have been a professional singer. “But mother was not a professional anything!” I find myself involuntarily thinking [...] The fact that Mother loved Arabic music and sang in Arabic, and even the fact that we nearly always spoke to her in Arabic, undoubtely marked her, too, in some way silently, silently in my child’s mind, as inferior.[...] When I began to look in my academic work at issues of colonialism and began to unmask the colonialist perspectives and racism embedded in texts on Arabs and on the colonized, steeping myself in writings on internalized colonialism, I began to realize that it was not only in texts that these hidden messages were inscribed but that they were there, too, in my own childhood and in the very roots of my counsciousness. I had grown up in a world where people had not merely admired European civilization but had probably internalized the colonial beliefs about the superiority of European civilization.” [...]

22 Il soggetto molteplice
[...] Now I no longer struggle with this. I have been through many revolutions in my understanding of my father, my mother, and my own counsciousness [...] For the truth is, I think that we are always plural. Not either this or that, but this and that. And we always embody in our multiple shifting consciousness a convergence of traditions, cultures, histories coming together in this time and this place and moving like rivers through us.

23 Intervista a Leila Ahmed
“... my coming to understand this—that our identity as Arabs was not just "objective fact" but politically constructed—was so fundamentally transformative. In fact I think I might never have finished the book if I hadn't figured this out—I came to a dead stop in the midst of writing ... I had no idea what the problem was—except that I did know of course that I felt an enormous sense of guilt about my feelings about being Arab and I simply couldn't imagine how I could ever write openly about such things.Looking back now I believe I was extremely lucky that my memory of the scene between myself and the Arabic teacher was as vivid as it was to me. Turning it over in my mind led me to realize that in order to make sense of both the scene and of my own feelings I needed to understand the history I'd lived through rather than simply examining and reexamining my own purely personal inner feeling and memories. And so I guess it did change the focus in the sense that I had set out intending to write simply of my own memories and not at all of history or politics—and found that I couldn't understand my own experiences without these.”

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