January 29, 2012


In my Experimental Women Writers course on Thursday, we discussed Alice Jardine's text on Gynesis, which puts “woman” into discourse beyond subject, representation, and man’s “truth”; facilitates “woman” to enter the chain of signification as metaphor for writing and reading in the poststructuralist sense; and creates a process that disrupts the Western symbolic structures and logics.

If the master narrative (or grand narrative) essentializes the narrative/event/experience, then it does not take into account individual experiences and how those affect the narrative (they are not included; they are not woven into the fabric). However, within the master narrative, there is a space where the narrative loses control. This space is coded feminine (not tied to female/woman), which Jardine calls gynesis: The narrative produced by this process is a horizon, which is never stable and without identity.

Our experiment this week is to write that horizon, toward that horizon--keeping in mind that we can approach the horizon, but never reach it. We can approach a kind of meaning, but never achieve it. Thus, we focus on the slippages in language, on using words in new contexts, on the clinamen, where the expectation of a word swerves. 

What is a subject--the real--identity--meaning?