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In Reward of Experimental Workshops


The next is a two-part publish through which Lauren Guilmette and Ada Jaarsma mirror on their experiences with the Picture-Textual content and Experimental Writing Workshop hosted earlier this month at George Mason College as a part of the philoSOPHIA 2022 convention. Within the first half, Guilmette talks about her and her co-organizer Lynne Huffer’s inspiration for the convention and the generative impact of experimental practices. Partially two, Jaarsma discusses her expertise as a participant within the convention and the artwork practices of the session hosts.

Half I: Encouraging Generative Practices

by Lauren Guilmette

My Elon colleague Ann Cahill, along with her co-author Christine Hamel, lately wrote in regards to the classroom and the convention as pivotal and traditionally undervalued websites of philosophical meaning-making. In our current predominantly Euro-American tutorial ambiance, now we have been skilled to see the “actual” work as publications with quantifiable impression components. A few of this conventional valuation hinges on the “disciplinary privileging of the written phrase,” however it additionally follows from the Western tendency to imagine that concepts come from a solitary thoughts and never, as Cahill and Hamel put it, envoiced and intervocal beings. In making this declare, Cahill and Hamel usually are not a lot privileging listening to our bodies and speech as specializing in the sonorous qualities of voices. They observe it’s a flawed assumption of the listening to world that D/deaf people stay in a world absent of all experiences of this” (5-6). As Cahill writes in her single-authored chapter, “To attend a philosophy convention is to be promised a reasonably uncommon expertise in our each day lives” (170) – to be a part of a strategy of considering dynamically as it’s taking place. She particulars two moments on the 2019 assembly of FEAST through which feminist philosophers “challenged and disrupted dominant sonorous practices” of the keynote as an inherited format (173). First, the “Keynote Dialog” between Kristie Dotson and Brittney Cooper, “[n]both an interview nor a debate…[but] a uncommon alternative to witness two scholar-friends riff off, tease, problem, and affirm one another” (ibid); second, Talia Mae Bettcher spoke with out notes, transferring about with a handheld mic and “permitting the viewers to witness the voicing of her concepts, not as recitation of phrases on a static web page, however as sonorously emergent,” whereas additionally recurrently checking to make sure their entry (ibid, 175). Alongside these strains, to attend a philosophy workshop is all of the extra uncommon: an event through which all individuals share their concepts, the method of their unfolding, to all of the others.

In proposing the Picture-Textual content and Experimental Writing Workshop this June, adjoining to the philoSOPHIA 2022 convention, Lynne Huffer and I drew from experimental workshops in recent times, a few of which we’ve had the pleasure of attending collectively, such because the Philosophy With out Lecturers Residency in 2016 (the place Huffer shared from her work on fragments and Robert Leib and I experimented with pictures and collage), the Wynter-Foucault Workshop that Huffer organized with Taryn Jordan as a part of philoSOPHIA 2018 and 2019, the Feminist Foucault Workshop began by Dianna Taylor in 2018 and 2019, which I organized over Zoom in 2020 (that includes a panel on Huffer’s newest e book), and digital courses on transferring picture “pop-ups” and artist’s books led by Shawn Sheehy, which had been a saving grace throughout the pandemic.

Guilmette’s wall of photos at the moment on show on the Sawtooth Gallery in Winston-Salem, a part of the “baggage of sand” present. Picture credit score: Lauren Guilmette

Huffer has been doing boundary-pushing experimental work between philosophy, gender research, and artistic nonfiction for longer than the previous couple of years, effectively earlier than I used to be one in every of her Emory graduate college students a decade in the past, with essays in Wild Violet Literary Journal, Blue Lake Evaluate, and ten different literary journals, and a collaborative artist’s e book with Jennifer Yorke, Wading Pool (2019). Her trilogy of books partaking Foucault attend to the poetic discontinuities animating archival encounters. But it surely has been among the many highlights of my early profession to be in dialog with Lynne Huffer as we transfer collectively into this house of image-text and collage in our analysis and our pedagogy.

In Spring 2022, Huffer designed a Emory WGSS undergraduate seminar, “Experiments in Writing the Anthropocene.” She developed a collection of provocative workouts for these college students drawing from a workshop with Ellen Sheffield, known as “Generative Measures,” Lynda Barry’s Syllabus, Anne Carson’s research and translation of Sappho’s fragments, Laurie Wagner’s Wild Writing, Lorraine O’Grady’s counter-confessional poetry, and extra. We drew from these workouts in designing our inaugural workshop. We additionally drew on the sources I’ve gathered from co-teaching “Philosophy of Archives” with Elon archivist Libby Coyner on zine-making as an at-once activist and inventive observe of DIY publication. Coyner and I’ve invited a few of our zine and image-text heroes to converse just about to our Elon college students, reminiscent of Micah Bazant, Milo Miller, Amanda Bennett, Maureen Burdock, and the editors of the Austin-based Silk Membership, who biannually publish QUIET!, a zine that includes voices of Asian-American ladies, genderqueer and non-binary people. I’ve been blown away by the creativity of my college students as they take up these non-traditional media. Certainly, one in every of my college students, Billie Waller (’23), introduced at our workshop on a brand new zine undertaking regarding pronouns, how and after we disclose them, and the demand to take action. I solely hope that my collaborations with Billie will likely be anyplace close to as generative for them as collaborating with Lynne Huffer has been for me.

Provided that these practices have been so generative in our school rooms and in our personal considering, Huffer and I made a decision to arrange a workshop hooked up to the 2022 philoSOPHIA convention, hosted by Rachel Jones and Rachel Lewis at George Mason College. In our Name for Proposals, we noticed the rising curiosity in using non-textual expressive codecs in philosophical works, particularly amongst feminist, queer, disabled and different traditionally marginalized authors, e.g. Alison Bechdel, Claudia Rankine, and Nick Walker, and we sought out others who’re exploring and experimenting with type in their very own work. We requested, within the CFP:

If Plato’s dialogues and Aquinas’ arguments made sense as kinds to be copied by monks onto parchment, and the treatise and later the novel arose as merchandise of the printing press, what emergent kinds would possibly converse to this current age of print-on-demand and the hand-held display screen? Additional, whereas it’s definitely not the case that photos enhance entry for everybody, how would possibly photos welcome in some neurodivergent modes of expression? Conversely, what are a few of the communicative challenges launched by experimental kinds that work with opacity or resistance to legibility?

What we obtained, in response to this name, exceeded each expectation, as Ada Jaarsma particulars above. Search for our subsequent Name for Proposals in Fall 2022!

Half II: Partaking Philosophy and Group via Artistic Initiatives

by Ada Jaarsma

After I first learn a name by Lynne Huffer and Lauren Guilmette, inviting feminist continental philosophers to take part in an arts-based workshop on the philoSOPHIA convention at George Mason College on June 1 and a couple of, 2022, I used to be transfixed. I’d been creating philosophy-related portraits for a while however had by no means shared this work in a philosophy context.  

I’ve lengthy been envious of associations that make house throughout skilled conferences for the inventive work of “making.” The Society for the Social Research of Science hosts a “making and doing” program alongside their extra standard classes and keynote talks. This option to foreground inventive work as worthy of consideration acknowledges the creativity that any analysis program requires.

Amanda Bennett’s crochet weaving of Black Feminist Insights, photograph credit score: Amanda Bennett

After collaborating within the Picture-Textual content and Experimental Writing Workshop that Huffer and Guilmette co-organized at philoSOPHIA, I’m extra totally satisfied of the worth of explicitly together with inventive work in convention applications. I’m additionally struck by its worth for feminist philosophy particularly. I got here away from the workshop with a set of insights in regards to the how and the why of feminist philosophical work. 

One perception is captured by an announcement made by Qrescent Mali Mason throughout the workshop’s second day. As we sat round a big desk within the Maker’s Area on George Mason’s campus, Mason identified, “We’re philosophizing in neighborhood.” Certainly, Mason (Haverford School) exemplified this lesson throughout her personal presentation, spreading giant paper-based artworks across the room and throughout the desk. “Go forward, annotate one thing,” Mason urged, prompting us to interact with the artworks after which, in flip, to generate worksheets which may feed proper again into her rising undertaking.      

One other perception has to do with the somatic features of doing philosophy collectively. Whereas the affective tenor of our work will typically go unnoticed, artwork and art-making can assist tune us into its import. Once we acknowledge “affective portals,” as Taylor Rogers (Loyola College Chicago) put it, these portals can change into a part of our personal conceptual work. Throughout the workshop, Rogers, a musician and filmmaker, shared parts of NOA: A Music Movie, a collaboration with Lillian Walker and 7 Chicago-based motion artists; now, reflecting again on how deeply transferring this expertise was, I’m trying ahead to educating the movie, alongside Rogers’ personal philosophical account of artwork as a useful resource for shifting entrenched emotions or numbness.

This perception extends to the somatic adventures of analysis itself, one other facet of feminist philosophy that deserves full consideration. (Colgate College) captivated the room by studying aloud a passage from a brand new manuscript about soul, soul meals, and family tree. Jordan’s story alongside a cookbook that Jordan found in an archive and their very own transdisciplinary work in Black Research forged in compelling, first-person prose whetted our appetites for extra. Jordan’s writing makes me mirror on how attractive glimpsing somebody’s personal singular craft—just like the skillful writing of narrative—will be.

Amanda Bennett (Duke College) introduced this magnificence to life in her presentation. Bennett’s creations—which included crocheted mandalas, with colours representing totally different writers, and a Black feminist oracle deck—make tangible the methods through which Bennett’s analysis entails the creation of latest aesthetic and literary strategies. Extra of Bennett’s work, as founder and Director of Artistic Imaginative and prescient of Outline & Empower, will be discovered right here.

The generosity of bringing others into an rising undertaking was on show. Along with studying poems aloud to us, Ali Beheler (Hastings School) drew us into open-ended questions on how her poetry and her undertaking extra broadly intersect with passages from canonical thinkers like Nietzsche. Not solely does Beheler’s poetry beckon us into rereading philosophy, it additionally extends the boundaries of philosophy into the fantastically readable terrain of inventive writing.

Within the foreground to the fitting, Amanda Bennett and Ada Jaarsma share fun. Left to proper: Ali Beheler, Taylor Rogers, Taryn Jordan, Qrescent Mason and Travis Holloway each trying away, photograph credit score: Lauren Guilmette

Sharing work whereas it’s nonetheless rising is beneficiant and generative, given how inventive processes themselves yield concepts for others. Lynne Huffer (Emory College) launched us to and, in flip, modelled a extremely generative art-practice of collage and dealing with visible and textual fragments. Naming this observe as considering via juxtaposition, Huffer underscored one other lesson of the workshop: how significant it’s to mirror on type.

Travis Holloway  (SUNY Farmingdale), who’s an award-winning poet in addition to a professor posed a question that drew us into such reflections, immediately: “Is the shape performing the content material for us?” What I respect about this question is how gently it asks us, as creators in addition to thinkers, to attempt to reckon with how we’re selecting to specific ourselves. We will discover so many kinds, like juxtaposition or like writing strains “the size of a breath,” in Holloway’s phrases, as a part of “doing” philosophy. Later this summer season, I will likely be studying Holloway’s new e book Reside on the Finish of the World: Idea, Artwork, and Politics for the Anthropocene as I hold reflecting on this lesson.

I need to shut with whole-hearted assist for extra experimental workshops as a part of philosophy occasions. Previously, I’ve associated to workshops as a method to generate new work; for instance, a workshop that I co-led a number of years in the past become a co-edited assortment, Dissonant Strategies: Undoing Self-discipline within the Humanities Classroom. I’m realizing now that there are such a lot of extra kinds that workshops can take—and that extra open-ended experimental approaches may be precisely what many people in feminist philosophy are eager for and needing, particularly those that work on the edges or margins of the self-discipline.

Whereas the tone of our conversations was typically elegiac—partially as a result of the theme of many shows concerned grief and grieving—there was additionally such pleasure and pleasure in sharing and bearing witness to the creativity of latest philosophical work.  

The Girls in Philosophy collection publishes posts on ladies within the historical past of philosophy, posts on problems with concern to ladies within the subject of philosophy, and posts that put philosophy to work to handle problems with concern to ladies within the wider world. If you’re focused on writing for the collection, please contact the Collection Editor Adriel M. Trott or the Affiliate Editor Alida Liberman.




Ada Jaarsma

Ada Jaarsma is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Royal College, in Calgary Canada the place she teaches continental philosophy, vital principle, philosophy of science, and feminist philosophy. Her publications embrace a co-edited assortment Dissonant Strategies: Undoing Self-discipline within the Humanities Classroom (College of Alberta Press, 2020) and Kierkegaard after the Genome: Science, Existence, and Perception in This World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). She is an affiliate editor of Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy



Lauren Guilmette

Lauren Guilmette is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elon College. She has articles on Teresa Brennan forthcoming in philoSOPHIA, variations, and The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. She is grateful to Pembroke Archivist Mary Murphy and to Brennan’s literary executors, Woden Teachout and Steve Brennan, for his or her assist of her analysis.



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