This introduction diagnoses a moment of stark interest in interdependent relations of power, violence, and place. Transnational method, it argues, has welcomed this interest; as one of the sites in which scholars today are attempting to make sense with space, transnational scholarship is responding to contemporary crises of place. Unable to look away from the violence of the border, and as neoliberalism has extended the reaches of misery, work that refuses traditional spatial distinctions is “centering” the fact of violence. The introduction calls this new spatial imagining “dislocation,” and argues that work on the Americas has been particularly fertile in developing it. The essays in the volume it presents (the introduction contends) both dramatize fragments of a contemporary world that seems more mobile and fluid than ever, and sink back deeply into place. They describe profound mobility refracted into agonies of displacement. The concept of dislocation allows a redirection of transnational method to unwilling movement, to the pain border-crossing inflicts on bodies personal and politic. It also illuminates the relationships that displacement allows—articulation, survival, the “join.” Like disidentification and dystopia, dislocation can ground a politics of coalition.
Introduction: Dislocations across the Americas
Social Text (2010) 28 (3 (104)): 1-10.
September 01 2010
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