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Postcolonial M/Othering: Poetics of Remembering and Writing as an Invitation to Rememory:

08 Jul 2021-Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies (SAGE PublicationsSage CA: Los Angeles, CA)-Vol. 21, Iss: 5, pp 401-409

AbstractTo open up possibilities in inquiry, the authors write in a manner that extends a lens of postcolonial m/Othering through poetic autoethnography. They draw on the conceptualization of rememory to w...

Topics: Poetics (50%)

Summary (2 min read)

Introduction

  • The authors write, in this moment, in this manner, with heavy hearts.
  • It is unknown how the authors will get through and carry on their lives with families and loved ones, some of whom already lost their battle to COVID-19 or are waging a cruel fight against the disease.
  • In these politically shifting times, the heightened vitriol of/through White supremacy as displayed on January 6, 2021 is another example of normalized expressions of violence in what historically has been performed in the name of freedom and patriotism.
  • Most importantly, the authors write for their daughters.

Intertwined : Coming Together

  • What the authors share here is a poetic autoethnography, which emerged from a post qualitative inquiry course co-generated by us.
  • Nubians in the early 20th century were forced into the KAR and were instrumental in the colonial operations of the Imperial British East African Company and the realization of the protectorate’s colonial projects (Mohammed, 2019).
  • The extraction of both human and material resources left a nation in the hands of external forces.
  • Waves of immigration and movement within states helped to sustain an agricultural economy in places like California that led to the creation of Filipina/o American communities shaped by colonial subjectivities and the racialization of Filipina/os as Brown people in the U.S. (Bohulano Mabalon, 2013).

Here : There

  • And as women of color, the authors are connected through shared global histories and struggles.
  • Colonial legacies influence (the un/making of) their identities and complicate how the authors are perceived in different spaces.
  • Mariam and Korina alternate, left and right, respectively.
  • Of brisk air Sea-salt skin Bare hands Fishing in the sun I dream Of hammocks Swaying Coral luggage Glorious old age ***.

Why Us? : Why Now?

  • That something may not be readily visible, but it is felt.
  • Rememory is fluid with the past, present, and future.
  • Leigh Patel (2016) reminds us of the relational aspects of research and their responsibility to note their “ontological entry-points and impacts as researchers” in what the authors do.
  • Contemporary examples include Barack Obama’s (2010) Of Thee I Sing: Love Letter to My Daughters.
  • As McKittrick (2021) prods us about livingness, “Telling, sharing, listening to, and hearing stories are relational and interdisciplinary acts that are animated by all sorts of people, places, narrative devices, theoretical queries, plots” (p. 6).

Evocation : Invitation

  • Poetics uncovers expressive relatedness to/with the other and serves as an opening to inquiry (Glissant, 1997).
  • Such relatedness is important to sustain invention and wonder.
  • Similarly, poetic autoethnography as a methodological approach to inquiry affords us the space and place to utilize both theory and method through one another.
  • Along with that, as Faulkner (2018) notes, poetry has served as a unique research tool that on one hand can be fun and on another political and lyrical.
  • It has been an invitation to create a space for nourishing ourselves while also cultivating opportunities for learning how to engage (in) stories or storying that can open up possibilities for doing inquiry (McKittrick, 202).

Notes

  • Kibra means forest in the Nubi language.
  • Kibra was once an expansive forested area surrounded by the cool flowing waters of the Nairobi River and the Ngong Hills.
  • The area is now popularly known as Kibera Slums, the world’s infamous slum/informal settlement in East and Central Africa, where over 500 Western NGOs come to “save” the “poor” Africans within 2.5 square kilometers of land.

Author Biographies

  • Mariam’s research draws attention to gendered and racialized policies, practicesand pedagogies of refugee resettlement.
  • Her work reveals how refugee resettlement policies might function to ‘other’ and reinforce inequalities among newly resettled African refugees.
  • Her teaching and research interests include critical methodologies, race and ethnic studies pedagogies, youth cultural studies, and new media literacies.
  • She is the author of Youth Poets and Youth Media Matters and other scholarly works, including poems and experimental media.

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University of Massachuses Amherst
From the SelectedWorks of Korina Jocson
September, 2021
Postcolonial M/Othering: Poetics of
Remembering and Writing as an Invitation to
Rememory
Mariam Rashid
Korina Jocson
Available at: h+ps://works.bepress.com/korina_jocson/23/

https://doi.org/10.1177/15327086211028675
Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies
2021, Vol. 21(5) 401 –409
© 2021 SAGE Publications
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/15327086211028675
journals.sagepub.com/home/csc
Article
We write, in this moment, in this manner, with heavy
hearts. We formulate these thoughts as racial and viral
pandemics ravage the planet and the end of a mutating
coronavirus is nowhere in sight. The number of deaths on
the global scale is still rising; it is particularly alarming in
countries with dwindling resources and exhausted medi-
cal systems. Portions of the world’s population have
received vaccinations, while many more of our kin in
Other Countries are left waiting. It is unknown how we
will get through and carry on our lives with families and
loved ones, some of whom already lost their battle to
COVID-19 or are waging a cruel fight against the disease.
It is also unknown how current U.S. racial politics and the
pervasiveness of racism will shape the depths of racial
injustice to come. In these politically shifting times, the
heightened vitriol of/through White supremacy as dis-
played on January 6, 2021 is another example of normal-
ized expressions of violence in what historically has been
performed in the name of freedom and patriotism. Not to
mention heteropatriarchy. Mass killings of targeted
groups and anti-Asian violence included. We are two
women of color who write because we must. To bespeak
what is in our hearts. To name the haunting in this present
moment. To remember as to not forget. We write as edu-
cators. We write as daughters. We write as mothers. Most
importantly, we write for our daughters.
Borrowing from Cynthia Dillard’s (2000, 2008) endark-
ened feminist epistemology, we shine a light on the power
of (re)membering to claim ourselves—and our daugh-
ters—in the terrains of diaspora. We take the difference
that difference makes (Wright, 2003) to do more than just
pass on knowledge. We open up possibilities and extend a
lens of postcolonial m/Othering such that haunting, the
presence of absence (Gordon, 2008), can also point to a
kind of world-making that we may or may not see in our
lifetime. In this world-making, we draw on Jeong-eun
Rhee’s (2021) conceptualization of rememory, which is
remembering and forgetting at the same time, not neces-
sarily with memories and lessons from our mothers, but
instead working with/through memories of our own as
mothers for the sake of our daughters. The questions
that Rhee is asking about rememory of/with mothers are
also questions that we are asking about rememory of
m/Othering, for our daughters, for all daughters. We write
in a format that forefronts postcolonial m/Othering, to
allow us to speak with and back to each other, to tease
apart un/common grounds on which we stand. First, it is
important to note the beginnings of this inspired writing
and how it is a part of doing inquiry, always becoming,
always in conversation.
1028675CSC
XXX10.1177/15327086211028675Cultural Studies <span class="symbol" cstyle="symbol">↔</span> Critical MethodologiesRashid and Jocson
research-article2021
1
University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Corresponding Author:
Mariam Rashid, University of Massachusetts Amherst,
MA 01003, USA.
Email: mrashid@umass.edu
Postcolonial M/Othering: Poetics
of Remembering and Writing as
an Invitation to Rememory
Mariam Rashid
1
and Korina M. Jocson
1
Abstract
To open up possibilities in inquiry, the authors write in a manner that extends a lens of postcolonial m/Othering through
poetic autoethnography. They draw on the conceptualization of rememory to work with/through memories of their
own as mothers for the sake of daughters. Building on poetics of remembering, the authors braid their experiences
from Kenya and the Philippines, within remnants of colonialism and its tentacles, inviting the reader on a telling-sharing
dialogic-rhythmic-groove that is personal and political and haunting at the same time. The possibilities for transdisciplinary
methodologies unfold in the telling-sharing and point to the in-between curiosities of knowing and unknowing. This
collaborative and creative (re)membering is an invitation to rememory, to rework the past-present-future, a chance at
world-making.
Keywords
poetics, colonialism, rememory, m/Othering, feminist epistemologies

402 Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies 21(5)
Intertwined : Coming Together
What we share here is a poetic autoethnography, which
emerged from a post qualitative inquiry course co-generated
by us. This independent study course had attracted a group
of students who had previously taken another course on crit-
ical methodologies with Korina as the instructor. These
courses, as one student had described it, became a space to
pivot, pause, and reimagine how we as scholars doing
inquiry with/for minoritized and marginalized groups per-
form and present our research (Carter, forthcoming). The
enlivened space through these courses served as an under-
commons (Harney & Moten, 2013); it provided a specific
learning environment for engaging in an intellectual practice
that mostly consisted of students and faculty of color. We not
only began to rethink how to do the work that mattered to us,
but we also worked to “stretch our brains” and refashion
new ways of producing knowledge (McKittrick, 2021) away
from the normative approaches to which we had been accus-
tomed. We conceived what we believed to be a non-regu-
lated space where we could trial our ideas and writing, in a
manner that Harney and Moten (2013) would describe as
“not simply the left-over space that limns real and regulated
zones of polite society; rather, it was [is] a wild place that
produced[s] its own unregulated wildness” (p. 7). In this
non-regulated space, Mariam conceptualized a thought
piece—a paper that she had put together in the form of poetic
autoethnography—using a methodological approach that at
the time was new to her. She was also going against the ritual
of presenting and organizing ideas in the traditional sense
and felt that, in order to express herself differently as a post-
colonial subject, state-less and non-native Other, she needed
to work through some form of performative arts-based writ-
ing. Her thought piece yielded what is now presented here.
In reading the thought piece, Korina embraced the per-
formative as an opportunity for inspired writing, to be
moved and to enter planes with sights yet unseen. She real-
ized that the constraints embedded in academic writing,
even in the construction of a thought piece, may have been
limiting in the process of engaging postcolonial subjectivi-
ties. What occurred for her (albeit, surprising within
moments of reading the paper) was a haunting past, present,
and future, an ongoing conversation with self and also with
Mariam about postcolonial m/Othering. She, too, had simi-
lar memories of childhood that had formed the basis of vari-
ous poems separately etched in notebook pages. Taking pen
to paper was an act of recounting self-knowledge, history,
ancestry, movement, place, land, and belonging. With per-
mission from Mariam, what follows below stemmed out of
an opportunity to extend the original performative writing
in the thought piece (poems by Mariam), to demonstrate a
parallel conversation that had occurred (poems by Korina),
a conversation in-between, and to enable us both to insert
ways to speak back to one another as educators, as Others,
as mothers, as daughters. It is an invitation to write our-
selves in story, to rewrite our story, and to also invite m/
Others in nourishing ways. We do so as rememory, which in
this moment is a chance for world-making to offer to y/our
daughters.
Mariam identifies as a Kenyan Nubian and immigrated
to the U.S. as an adult. Oral traditions, stories, and riddles
passed down to her suggest that, prior to rupture of colo-
nial dis/placement, Nubians (including Mariam’s paternal
great grandfather) were uprooted from their homes in
Equatoria North Africa, a province of Sudan that had
been cut off from Egypt during the Mahdist Revolt in
1883 (Mohammed, 2019). The Nubians were later (re)
settled in parts of the “East African British Protectorate”—
in Kenya and Uganda. Unlike the majority (if not all) of
other Kenyan ethnic communities, Nubians are found in
“little pockets” of Kenya—colonizers’ geographies within
the midst of other ethnic communities. Mariam received
her formative education in a small Nubian community,
the remnants of a British Imperial project, along the
Nairobi-Kisumu Railway line as it nears Nam Lolwe.
1
From conversations with Mariam’s relatives, it is believed
that her great grandfather was a recruit in the King’s
African Rifle (KAR). Nubians in the early 20th century
were forced into the KAR and were instrumental in the
colonial operations of the Imperial British East African
Company and the realization of the protectorate’s colo-
nial projects (Mohammed, 2019). Yet Nubians were con-
sidered as aliens by the colonial government and later as
state-less, non-natives and non-citizens in post-colonial
Kenya. The divide-and-conquer strategy pitted Nubians
against Kenyan “natives.” This strategy served the inter-
ests of the protectorate, which later worked to Other and
disenfranchise the Nubians, and created a discourse of
non-nativity.
Within the White-settler colonial logic, “technologies of
alienation, separation, conversion of land into property con-
tinue to mutate. Black bodies become squatters, become
subjects of the Crown, then of the colonial state, and now of
the State of Kenya” (la paperson, 2017, p. 2). Haunting
Mariam, it was not until after high school that she learned
her family was “squatting” on land that had belonged to the
colonial government and was later transferred to the Kenyan
state. As an educator, scholar, and m/Other in the postcolo-
nial diaspora, Mariam (re)engages with her historical past
and that of those who came before her—a sacred space to
(re)search, (re)member, and question the colonial legacies
shaping desires for freedom (Dillard, 2021).
Korina was born in the Philippines and identifies as
Pinay (Filipinx American). She immigrated to the U.S. with
her family. It had been a time of economic and political tur-
moil under a dictatorship that further deepened the ghostly
wounds of colonialism. The Philippines survived Spanish
rule (1521–1898) only to be followed by U.S. imperialism

Rashid and Jocson 403
(1898–1934); the latter persisted with patriarchal relations
through an American colonial policy of benevolent assimi-
lation (Constantino, 1970). Such policies included educa-
tion and English becoming the formal language of
instruction. The extraction of both human and material
resources left a nation in the hands of external forces. In the
meantime, the maintenance of U.S. naval bases kept mili-
tary investments intact as a strategic gateway to Asia, while
enabling the U.S. government to recruit Filipinos to serve
and fight its wars. Such colonial history is further com-
pounded by immigration acts, first, to increase cheap labor
(mostly men) for plantations in Hawai’i in the early 1900s
and subsequently in California and Washington and,
decades later, the “brain drain” or the recruitment of profes-
sionals including nurses and teachers (many of whom were
women).
2
The Immigration Act of 1964 led to much more
movement of individuals forming or reuniting their families
or seeking economic opportunities in the U.S. Waves of
immigration and movement within states helped to sustain
an agricultural economy in places like California that led to
the creation of Filipina/o American communities shaped by
colonial subjectivities and the racialization of Filipina/os
as Brown people in the U.S. (Bohulano Mabalon, 2013).
Notwithstanding the recorded arrival of Filipinos in the
continental United States as early as 1587. The signifi-
cance of rememory through oral histories, photographs,
personal archives, and “kuwentos” or stories (Jocson,
2008) provides an opening for puzzling together an
endarkened history of Filipina/o diaspora. It is a history
full of tensions and contradictions. It is a history of empire
(Baldoz, 2011), or that which offers an analytic to under-
score the importance of indigeneity in/and education
(Sintos Coloma, 2013). Indigenous tribes in the Philippines
were left to fend for themselves, outnumbered, displaced.
How does one explain to a child? How does one gather in
memory the many untold stories and human experiences
of sacrifice, compromise, erasure, and survival? The space
between remembering and forgetting (Rhee, 2021) can
point to some possibilities.
Here : There
We are descendants of colonization. And as women of color,
we are connected through shared global histories and strug-
gles. Colonial legacies influence (the un/making of) our
identities and complicate how we are perceived in different
spaces. Because identities are far from static. They do not
hold fixed meanings regardless of tendencies to do so. By
reorienting our coming together in poetic autoethnography,
we honor ourselves and the human experiences that have
shaped our paths. We share them in a performative praxis
below. Mariam and Korina alternate, left and right, respec-
tively. In staccato. The format supposes a kind of proximity
and distance, yet also staying in the middle to enable us to
play with spatial cuts, to write and read in-between and
beyond the lines. The poems can stand alone. But as we
have asked ourselves to propel this writing, what happens
when these spatial cuts and line breaks speak through one
another?
***
Born in Kenya
To “native” Kenyan mother “alien” Nubian father
Nubian kin
Soldiers forced into King’s African Rifle
Fought in world wars
Used
To protect and repel dissidents
In the protectorate
***
***
I dream
Of a place
An archipelago
Where turquoise
Waters reign
I dream
Of brisk air
Sea-salt skin
Bare hands
Fishing in the sun
I dream
Of hammocks
Swaying
Coral luggage
Glorious old age
***
In-Betweener : Indigeneity
As in-betweeners, we negotiate geographic relationships
across divergent cultures and diasporic communities. We
often find ourselves in a place of tension to uncover possi-
bilities, to remember and forget. In proclaiming the multi-
plicities from complex histories, we expose our
vulnerabilities, in body and spirit; these are risks we take
writing within the academy. As m/Others, we also extend
ourselves so our daughters can one day share in our racial-
ized and gendered lives to navigate their future worlds. The
(un)disciplined curiosity, thought, and rawness of the in-
between offer us opportunities to learn and unlearn across
many sites, thereby “coming to know, generously, varying
and shifting worlds and ideas” (McKittrick, 2021, p. 5). In
coming to know, we question what tools are available to us
to navigate the colonial and the postcolonial worlds—the
worlds that have created the Us and Them discourse. We

404 Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies 21(5)
seek to understand the decolonial project that we live
within. Rinaldo Walcott (2020) asserts that a “decolonial
project attempts to unmoor the silences that condition our
contemporary moment by risking identity in favor of a poli-
tics of thought” (p. 355). A politics of thought, Walcott
argues, allows us to recognize how the tools and machiner-
ies of coloniality function “at the level of what it means to
know and how knowing places some bodies out of place”
(p. 355). So, here we are. Un/masking a sense of place. The
decolonial project affords us the opportunity to rethink and
refashion how forms of colonialism have reproduced us.
***
They tell me I am not native
My mother is native Luo
I don’t look Luo
I speak fluent Luo
I write Luo
In public buses
I hear
Something about me
I wait tilthey finish
I smile
I speak Luo
They look and ask
“But you don’t look like us
Who are you?”
***
***
GET OUT!
GET OUT!
GET OUT!
These words
Pierce through peasant hearts
Residents of Hacienda Looc
Generations of ancestral blood
Sore backs maimed legs
Blistered hands discolored skin
Acres of land
Rice banana guava papaya
Sold unlike Lapu-Lapu
2,000 stern bodies
Forced to abandon
Those sacred and dear
***
***
Today I turn eighteen an identity card I desire
To vote and apply for college
Not native I am told
Proof you must produce
Or else we must vet you
We need to bring in the elders
Elders (I ask?)
My grandfather was an elder
I have his documents
(I say)
To prove that I belong
Here
(I offer) my grandfather’s certificate of service
To British colonial Kenya
***
***
GET OUT!!
GET OUT!!
GET OUT!!
These words
Bullhorned by men
In suits Ray-Ban
Sunglasses hard hats
Spew blood to the grave
Turn green plantation
Into Green profit
Villas checkered pants
Iron clubs spiked shoes
Displaced 2,000 bodies
Residents of Hacienda Looc
***
***
And I add
My mother is Luo
She is native, one of you
I was born here, she was born here (I switch and speak Luo)
They look at me and smile
Say I know too much
Know my late grandfather
Tell me
“He was a good man”
“In ‘Nyakwar X’?” (You are the granddaughter of X?)
“We will process your documents”
***
***
GET OUT!!!
GET OUT!!!
GET OUT!!!
These words
Explode like bombs
Threat of AKs
Bulldozed huts
Still
No is the answer
Machetes and bolos join arms

Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This book begins with the creation of the colony of the Philippines in 1898 and ends with national independence in 1946. However, the book does not center upon either; instead, it focuses on the economic, political, and legal struggles of Filipino immigrants in the United States. The book is organized chronologically, although there is some overlap of periods across chapters. The first chapter deals with the racial politics of empire and the establishment of the Philippines as a colony of the United States. This lays the groundwork for the analysis of the political economy of Filipino immigration (1900s–1920s) in the second chapter. The next chapter deals more specifically with social and legal barriers that Filipinos confronted during the first three decades of the century. Chapter Four is a study of violence directed against Filipinos in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Finally, last two chapters deal with the political negotiations for independence, the participation of Filipinos in the Second World War, and the consequences for immigrants in the United States. The colonization of the Philippines resulted in the creation of a new legal category: the U.S. national, that is, those persons owing allegiance to the United States because they were at the same time citizens of one of its colonies. However ‘‘nationals’’ were not full-fledged citizens of the United States, and this initially led to considerable confusion about their rights to entry and to work. This ambiguous political status set the stage for the immigration of Filipinos who came to work in agri-business, first in Hawaii and then to the western and southwestern states. Later, Filipinos would also find work in service and industrial sectors. The first generation of Filipino immigrants struggled for and soon (in 1906) attained the right, as U.S. nationals, to unlimited entry into the United States. The author skillfully shows how Filipinos were clearly agents, and not merely victims, in this process: they were active in both class struggles, to obtain better wages and conditions, and legal battles, to achieve right of entry into the United States. Even though they gained the right to unrestricted immigration, Filipinos confronted other legal barriers regarding interracial marriage, property rights, and naturalization as U.S. citizens. In addition, local governments also attempted to police the color line by passing laws enforcing social segregation. In general, the legal issues were complicated by two principal factors. First, the laws were not always created with Filipinos in mind and the existing racial categories did not easily apply. Indeed, part of the strategy of Filipinos was to argue that they were outside of the laws that were erected explicitly against Afro-Americans, Mexicans, and ‘‘Asiatics,’’ namely, Chinese and Japanese. Second, the interests of local ‘‘nativists’’ often conflicted with those in agribusiness or the federal government. On the one hand, the nativists sought to preserve white privilege, dominance, and the color line; they opposed Filipino immigration. On the other hand, agricultural enterprises were in favor of Filipino workers, although they also sought ways to divide and conquer them whenever workers organized and pressed for better working conditions. In addition, the federal government was obliged to concede some degree of legal and naturalization rights to Filipinos. In the international sphere, it was not good politics to simply exclude them as ‘‘aliens’’ in U.S. society. Especially interesting is the analysis of the diverse and often contradictory positions of the local nativists in towns, counties, and states, the economic interests of agribusiness in the region, and the laws and policies of the federal government. In addition, the full range of actions and strategies of Filipinos on different fronts is fully explained.

7 citations



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"Postcolonial M/Othering: Poetics of..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Performance and autoethnographic poetry (Davis, 2007; Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Diversi & Moreira, 2018; Furman, 2003; Madison, 1999), poetic inquiry (Prendergast, 2009), and investigative poetry (Hartnett, 2003), among other forms of arts-based inquiry, push us to share our work in ways that…...

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    [...]

  • ...The writing fuses remembering and forgetting (Rhee, 2021); it marks the haunting that is there (Gordon, 2008) and also the ability of time to unravel a future-present-past toward possibility....

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533 citations


"Postcolonial M/Othering: Poetics of..." refers background in this paper

  • ...We conceived what we believed to be a non-regulated space where we could trial our ideas and writing, in a manner that Harney and Moten (2013) would describe as “not simply the left-over space that limns real and regulated zones of polite society; rather, it was [is] a wild place that produced[s]…...

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  • ...The enlivened space through these courses served as an undercommons (Harney & Moten, 2013); it provided a specific learning environment for engaging in an intellectual practice that mostly consisted of students and faculty of color....

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Frequently Asked Questions (1)
Q1. What contributions have the authors mentioned in the paper "Postcolonial m/othering: poetics of remembering and writing as an invitation to rememory" ?

To open up possibilities in inquiry, the authors write in a manner that extends a lens of postcolonial m/Othering through poetic autoethnography. Building on poetics of remembering, the authors braid their experiences from Kenya and the Philippines, within remnants of colonialism and its tentacles, inviting the reader on a telling-sharing dialogic-rhythmic-groove that is personal and political and haunting at the same time. This collaborative and creative ( re ) membering is an invitation to rememory, to rework the past-present-future, a chance at world-making.