For many years, scholars have strived to develop analytical modalities, which identify and engineer analytical thoughts, aimed to compare racial formations in relation to race scholarship. Unlike racial formation construct that identifies and groups communities based on prior modalities, race scholarship approach focuses on the universality and historical similarities of different communities in the world. In essence, racial scholarship approach holds the view that there exist commonalities among communities of color across different cultures; that is premised on racial and ethnic solidarity coupled with homogeneity and historical similarity of the people. Although prior modalities provide an insight of the dynamism in nationalism coupled with change in social structures, there is need to develop new modalities, which integrate changes in the racial and nation configuration that have emerged because of decolonization coupled with eruption of social movements in the mid twentieth century. The modern modalities refute the assumption placed forth by prior modalities that collectivism only existed in nationalists communities, because it has been established that the concept of identity based collectivism does exists and is being expressed in minority and cultural-based nationalists (Kimberlé, 2002). Based on this assertion, it remains imperative for scholars to develop new comparative and analytical modalities, which would articulate emerged nationalists, women of color feminism, and intellectual tradition constructs; what is termed as, “queer of color critique,” by Roderick Ferguson. In line with the concept of queer of color coupled with women of color feminism, is the theory of intersectionality-that has been herald as one of the indispensible components, which contributes in feminist inquiry, multiple identifies, and subordination. The paper explores the works of Norman Alarcon, Judith Butler, and Roberick Ferguson on multiple voiced subjectivities, reiterability, and queer of color critique respectively, and more importantly, authors’ articulation on the theory of intersectionality
As one of neo-classical theorists who addressed, adopted, and subscribed to the concept of “women of color,” political ideology, Norman Alarcon perceives and idealized women subjects as being autonomous, self-defined, and refined, self-determined, unified and collective feminists’ subjects who are organized differently from male subjects based on gender variance. Norman asserts that subject consciousness in women emanate from logical identification of a woman with other women, and counter identification with men. In other words, women subjects learn, inculcate, and adopt values, norms, and values of the society through associating with other women, and evaluating their values against those of men (Alarco, 1990). Using binary model, Norman asserts that subject formation is determined by identification and counter identification concepts, but this modal does not account that a feminist subject may become opposite of other women subjects in asymmetric racial and ethnic community. Refuting her previous predisposition, Norman embraces a postmodernism feminist orientation approach to explain that the “self” is produced through multiple discourses.
In her analysis, Norman argues that women of color are regarded irrational and deluded in an attempt to express their grievances as they are subjected to multiple and contradictory cross-cultural ideologies thus leading to discourse. In most cases, women of color are subject of discourse and named as postmodern decentered subjects because they are cross-cultural positioned that way in the society. Norman understands that the variance in contradictory discourse has an impact on the identity of the women color and chicana subjects. Norman affirms that no women of color can claim identity and become coherent subjects because of the contradictory discourse existing in the community. In her argument, Norman refers women of color as subjects in process-take up as they cannot form coherent identity and be unified without eliciting contradictions in the community. In her submission, Norman asserts that women of color pose multiple subjectivities because multiple discourse convey her as a subject, but the woman cannot have identify because she lacks subject consciousness that promotes identity. Notably, subject consciousness remains a contingent of culture, norms, and values, which are observed by different communities thus affirms that women of color without subject consciousness lack identity. In an attempt to support her predisposition, Norman borrows heavily from intersectional theory and integrates it with multiple subjectivities. The fact that women of color face numerous oppressions because of racial, ethnic, and social discourse, they need to form social movements to provide them with identity-based collectivism. Based on these assertions, Norman considers women of color as decentered subjects who should form social movements to enable them address their oppression and marginalization in the society.
The link on materiality of the body and performativity of gender remains the main underlying concept addressed by Judith Butler. In her analysis, Judith focuses on establishing the category and role of sex in a relationship premised on materiality of body and performativity. Judith asserts that sex difference is grounded on material difference, but this does not mean that sex difference is a function of material difference. Notably, Judith refutes the presumption that sex difference remains indissociable with discursive demarcations does hold the same meaning as claiming that discourse contribute in sex difference. In essence, sex is considered a normative construct and “regulatory idea” as echoed by Foucault. In other words, sex not only functions as a normative norm, but also an effective regulatory practice, upon which power is exerted to control the body (Butler, 1997). Judith articulates that sex acts as a regulatory ideal, whose materialization remain enforced and compelled for a given period. This infers that force should be exerted to facilitate materialization of sex because it is not an automatic or reflex condition of the body. In her elaborate analysis, Judith argues that is through forcible reiteration of norms that materialization takes place. This symbolize the fact that reiteration is not an easy process, but it is because of instabilities and chances that pave way for materialization to take place. However, the concept of performativity has influence in promoting materialization. In her argument, Judith asserts that performativity is not an intentional/deliberate act, but instead, a reiterative and citational aspect, upon, which discourse elicits the intended effect. Integrating intersectionality theory, Judith asserts that structural constraints remain the foundation of performativity idea in the sense that they determine reiteration of norms, which are reiterable. However, the idea that social structures derive their power from their renovocation coupled with lacunas between the discursive commands, contributes in system failure. A result of these fissures and gaps creates constitutive instability that renders the meaning of the norm meaningless, and elicit productive crisis. Based on these assertions, it remains clear that the author interlinks ideas derived from intersectionality theory to support her argument in connection with reiterability concept.
Roderick A. Ferguson remains one of the renowned author and scholar who have contributed in the discipline of gender and women and sociology. In his famous book titled,
In Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique, Roderick A. Ferguson defines the concept of queer of color critique as incorporation of social formation that interlinks gender, race, class, and sexuality, and the way these formations rhyme with or divert from the predispositions and assertions associated with nationalist practices. In his analysis, Ferguson elaborates the idea of liberal ideology coupled with its normative, using a national identity approach. In essence, Ferguson argues that citizenship is not the only component that articulates national identity, but also suppression of “women” based on sex, gender, race, and class. Ferguson use the word colonized man and worker to articulate other means of oppression leveled against subjects based on race, gender, sexuality, and class. One imperative aspect with these prior modalities is that they reveal social and political coherence of liberal ideologies and articulation of national identity.
In the analysis, the author further elaborate on the way labor movements, feminist movements, and native power have failed to explain how differences and multiple discourses influence their subjects’ specificities; an idea that has normalized and fuelled oppression of subaltern gender and culture, claim in sexual identifies, and ethnic and racial constructs in nationalists cultures. In most cases, when the political feminists obscure minority communities and women of color, the later forms and adapt identify formation approaches, which target to negative the nationalist modalities adopted by hegemonic feminist in the community. Borrowing from the work of Gladys Munazo and embedding intersectionality theory, Ferguson asserts that women of color feminism perceive the idea of national identity as a space of departure and a place where contradictions are addressed effectively. The assumption is because gendered and sexual norms, values, and regulations have shown that women of color coupled with lesbian of color do not derive their comfort from presumed nationalism regulations (Ferguson, 2004). In the contemporary society, women of color in unison with lesbian of color refute modern globalization because it creates avenue for oppression by positing and creating an imaginative and heterogeneous nation rather than establishing objective, integrated, and homogenous nation. Based on these assertions, it is evident that Roderick A. Ferguson provides an elaborative reiteration analysis on the way race; sexuality, class, and gender contribute in the concept of subjectivities and identity in the contemporary society.
Alarco, N. (1990). “The Theoretical Subject(s) of This Bridge Called My Back and Anglo-American Feminism,” in Gloria Anzaldúa, ed., Making Face, Making Soul: HaciendoCaras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Foundation Books.
Butler, J. (1997). Excerpt from Introduction to Bodies that Matter,” in Roger N. Lancaster & Michaela di Leonardo, eds., The Gender Sexuality Reader . New York: Routledge.
Ferguson, R. (2004). Something Else to Be: Sula, The Moynihan Report , and the Negations of Black Lesbian Feminism” in Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique. Minneapolis:. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Kimberlé, C. (2002). Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Anti-discrimination Doctrine. New York: Nova Science Publishers