Sadness, Anger, and Self-Care in the Early Days of the Trump Era

From late October to the last days of December, I found it increasingly difficult to quiet my mind enough to fall asleep and stay asleep.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night sweaty, with my heart racing as if startled by a terrible nightmare. Sleeplessness left me on edge and exhausted throughout the day.  I had chest pains and a persistent cold and upset stomach and became fearful not only of these symptoms but of the world around me.  It became difficult to focus on work and to relax when I got home.

Then, on a cold and dusky evening December evening, I began to feel anxious on a crowded Metro platform on my way home.  Suddenly, the trains were too loud, and there were too many people around me.  A woman next to me kept complaining about her delayed train, and it took everything I had to respond to her cordially and commiserate with her.  But it was all too much.  I couldn’t figure out what was terrifying me, as I never had that kind of seemingly unprovoked reaction to crowds before.  I told myself to breathe, to count to ten, to force myself to control whatever was happening to me, and I couldn’t.

I was able to keep myself together all the way home, and I made sure that no one I met or worked with during those weeks knew what I was feeling.  But inside I felt out of control and powerless, especially at night, right before I went to sleep.  I never mentioned what I was going through to anyone, but one night, I called my mother, telling her the unease I felt when I woke up from sleep in the middle of the night and how that feeling haunted me on and off throughout the day.  My mother, amateur psychologist that she is, responded with her diagnosis matter-of-factly,

“It’s the election.”

According to her, Trump, President Trump, my fixation on the election, his victory, and the realities of his Presidency weighed on my mind so much that it was making me sick.

I laughed it off at first, explaining that other things were on my mind, but I slowly contemplated the idea that she was right.  And that was terrifying because I never thought that my feelings or my state of mind would have such a detrimental effect on my physical health or that politics would have such an effect on physical and emotional wellbeing.

I realized that I needed to take care of my emotional and physical health, because, in this case, they may have been interconnected.  The election left me completely bewildered and with an overwhelming feeling of loss, as it did for millions of people.  My addiction to news and social media during the last few months didn’t help.  While I had no desire to fight with strangers on twitter, I believed I was finding catharsis in hearing voices that expressed those feelings of fear and anger that I had.  However, sometimes those sentiments were coupled with apocalyptic declarations about life in the United States under President Trump, and all those worries and feelings of impending doom can lead to stress.  There will most likely be a surplus of political fights on the horizon that will leave me and others in a constant state of anger.  But if sustained rage supposedly leads to activism and resistance, what does that do to our health?

This acknowledgment of rage and need for self-care is addressed in this week’s Black-ish, “Good Dre Hunting,” which explores this issue of sustained outrage and its unsustainability and unproductivity.  But the episode also clearly affirms that sometimes righteous anger is absolutely necessary, and sometimes therapy can be absolutely essential.

The Atlantic‘s Julie Beck explores how some are looking to save themselves from election-related anger, stress or  what Jack Saul, director of the International Trauma Studies Program, calls collective trauma, “a shared experience of threat and anxiety in response to sudden or ongoing events that lead to some threat to a basic sense of belonging in society.” In order to relieve this stress or trauma, Saul and others advocate that people focus more on building connections to others to create a support system and community dedicated to volunteerism and activism than self-care, which, according to Saul, leads to isolation and vulnerability.

However, executive editor of Girls for Gender Equality Joanne Smith explains that self-care can involve deepening connections to other people:

“As a black woman organizer and movement leader, I will need to love me harder than I ever have before so that this toxic masculinity and white supremacy does not snatch my light or the light of my community. It also means that I must be vulnerable and connected to the people in cross movement spaces who love me and recognize my humanity the most.”

Numerous blogs, like Just Jasmineblackgirlmentalhealth.tumblr.com, and noirecare.com, are dedicated to addressing the importance of black women practicing self-care by themselves and within their communities because self-care is as important to social movements as collective protest.

Balancing self-care and social consciousness are not new concerns.  In “The Negro in American Culture,” in 1961, James Baldwin explains that “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. So that first problem is how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you.”

These last few weeks, I’ve focused on my own health and emotional quality of life so that I can be better equipped to helping others.  Sometimes that involves stepping away from social media more and more.  I will still keep myself aware of what’s going on since vigilance is essential, but so is abstaining from social media when righteous anger turns into feelings of fear and rage that are paralyzing and toxic and leave you feeling utterly powerless.

Focusing on my quality of life involves allowing myself to pursue what I enjoy in life, dancing, painting, being optimistic, eating delicious food and planning good things for the future because all of these things are necessary for emotional and spiritual survival as well.

And improving my quality of life has also meant getting involved in issues that are important to me: going to a local rally on saving the Affordable Care Act, attending the Women’s March on Washington, and exploring ways to get involved in my community, possibly through my local Democratic Committee or other groups and organizations.

The first step for me was in admitting that I was feeling powerless and angry and that I was surrounding myself online voices that were preoccupied with everything horrible that can and might happen and that I believed remained beyond my control.  It’s possible that a lot of people feel this way, and in identifying these feelings, I began to feel better.

Control freak that I am, I’m not ready to give up what little power I do have.  If you feel powerless and overwhelmed by your own anger, think about how that is affecting your daily life and your health.  Know that taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do so that you can help others who will need you these next four years.  It’s not selfish or delusional to find some joy in your life; it’s absolutely necessary so that you can give that joy to others who will need it.  And I hope to remind myself of this when that feeling of powerlessness and defeat creep up on me again, leaving me terrified in the middle of the night.  I’ll have to remind myself that it’s possible to get a good night’s sleep and still be woke.

Sources:

Beck, Julie. “How to Cope with Post-Election Stress.” 10 Nov. 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/11/how-to-cope-with-post-election-stress/507296/. Accessed 20 Jan. 2016.
Blay, Zeba. “11 Ways Black People Can Practice Self-Care in the Wake of Trump.” The Huffington Post. 11 Nov. 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/11-ways-black-people-can-practice-self-care-in-the-wake-of-trumps-win_us_5824a420e4b07751c390db8a. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.
Zinzi, Janna A. “Surviving Trump: Black Woman Strengthen Coalitions, Practice Revolutionary Self-Care.” The Root, 16 Dec. 2016, http://www.theroot.com/surviving-trump-black-women-strengthen-coalitions-pra-1790858050. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Representation and Madness in Mad Max Fury Road and Zone One

“In the new reckoning, a hundred percent of the world was mad” – Mark Spitz in Colson Whitehead, Zone One

“If you can’t fix what’s broken, you’ll go insane” – Mad Max in Mad Max Fury Road

For the last few semesters I’ve been teaching Colson Whitehead’s zombie novel Zone One in my Introduction to American Literature classes.  The novel is often a bit frustrating for students to read because the plot is virtually nonexistent until the last third or quarter of the the novel.  However, Whitehead’s depiction of this post-apocalyptic world is beautiful and breathtaking, especially as he describes a human race that’s denying its own fall into madness as they try in vain to return to a time before zombies, called “stragglers” and “skels” in this novel, came to reclaim this world.

The world has ended and the novel starts during the days of its reconstruction.  Mark Spitz, the novel’s protagonist who works in Zone One with other teams to sweep resettled parts of Manhattan for remaining skels and stragglers, muses on how, “big groups were in again: the elite antsy to drop their pawns, and the pawns hungry for purpose after so long without instructions…” (88).  Although seemingly well-protected settlements survive to reestablish a society that mirrors the culture, politics, and capitalism that we once knew, humanity is devouring itself outside of those barricades.  And within, the survivors struggle to keep their PASD (Post-Apocalyptic Survivor Dysfunction) at bay.

Despite the clear differences in the setting and the conditions between Zone One and the 2015 Mad Max reboot Mad Max Fury Road, there are fascinating similarities in the stories they tell about the madness that rises, who survives, and what institutions remain and are toppled after the apocalypse.  Max, like Whitehead’s protagonist Mark Spitz, is surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, except he cannot kept his madness away.  It helps him survive.  Visions of the dead haunt and protect him against the uncontrolled villainy of the War Boys who serve King Immortan Joe, a tyrant who has his people clamoring for every drip of water he deigns to give them. Like Mark Spitz, Mad Max reflects that “As the world fell it was hard to know who was more crazy.  Me…or everyone else.”

Notably, despite the chaos that these worlds have fallen into and the new orders that arise, both Mad Max Fury Road and Zone One contemplate the survival of the status quo, specifically class, gender, and racial inequality as well, all of which are pose just as much threat as zombies and Immortan Joe and the War Boys.

In the face of all this, representation and agency become important in how these stories are told.  Whitehead reveals towards the end of Zone One that the protagonist and narrator of the story is black, making his madness and ability to survive, his suspicions about the institutions that will return, and his place in this new world take on a different meaning.  He begins to identify with the zombies coming to reclaim “the broken city” and to feel that for the first time in his life, this broken world is finally his for the taking…if he can continue to live.

Mad Max Fury Road is a film that’s just as much about the madness of Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa as it about Max’s own mental instability in a world where everyone has lost their minds.  Her madness and those of the Immortan Joe’s five wives, whom she smuggles out of his tyrannical desert compound, calls them to action and to fight every insurmountable challenge to the death.  In her wake, Max escapes his own captivity from one of the War Boys, Nicolas Holt’s Nux, and both he and Nux are inspired to help Furiosa and her fellow female road warriors fight Immortan Joe’s economic and patriarchal tyranny.  Faced with the insanity of the wasteland that surrounds them Furiosa tells Max, “You never gonna have a better chance [at] redemption.”

It seems that there’s always a ongoing, unending conversation about the threat of racialized bodies and female bodies and how to regulate, punish, and legislate those bodies to keep society safe.  In Mark Spitz, the zombies, Furiosa and her road warriors, those black and female bodies are allowed to go mad with power in these texts.  They fight, they rage, they go crazy and they kill to take back their land and liberate themselves.  They don’t destroy the world, but they try to make new places for themselves and others to own and in which they can live freely.  What a time to be alive.

The Poetics and Politics of Race and Space: A Few Thoughts on Ferguson and Fictional Representations of Missouri

A few weeks ago, I concluded my last post with some questions I had about Ferguson, Michael Brown and the dialogue surrounding his death, law enforcement in that region, and fear as the possible root cause of this kind of violence.  Last week I had the opportunity to write a blog post, “Framing Ferguson: A Time for Mourning and Action,” for George Washington University’s American Literature and Culture Organization (ALCO) in response to a panel the university held that brought students and faculty together to discuss a variety of topics ranging from racial and economical tensions and inequalities to policing and public policy.

The panel also proceeded my course’s reading of Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894). Last week, the students in my Introduction to American Literature course started reading Mark Twain’s novel set in the fictional, slave-holding small town of Dawson’s Landing which Twain locates “on the Missouri side of the Mississippi, half a day’s journey, per steamboat, to St. Louis” (Twain 3). Twain places Missouri as a site of “historical contradictions” (Gillman 448). These contradictions involve the actions and identities of the characters in the town as well as the laws by which they live and customs they value. As Susan Gillman explains in “‘Sure Identifiers’: Race, Science, and the Law in Pudd’nhead Wilson,” “the novel detects a central ambiguity suppressed in law, if not custom, by slave society” leaving us to ask ourselves, “How do we know…who is to be held accountable under the law and who is not? …How do we know what we know is true?” (449).

These questions feel eerily relevant today. I’m left with questions about what fictions exist about Missouri, its pivotal role as a border state in shaping United States’ history of slavery and race, and how those fictions compare, if at all, with the realities that we might know about that state today. I look forward to discussing and exploring some of these comparisons and aforementioned contradictions in a more in depth way in the future.

Works Cited:

Twain, Mark. Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins: Authoritative Texts, Textual Introd. and Tables of Variants, Criticism. Ed. Sidney E. Berger. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2005. Print.

Gillman, Susan. “‘Sure Identifiers’: Race, Science, and the Law in Pudd’nhead Wilson.” Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins: Authoritative Texts, Textual Introd. and Tables of Variants, Criticism. Ed. Sidney E. Berger. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2005. Print.

Updates on New Postings for September

It’s that time of year again.  The semester starts next week for me, and during the fall, I’ll be trying to balance teaching with dissertation writing and research.  In the spirit of keeping myself on task when it comes to this blog, there are at least two posts I’m planning to make during the month of September. One will be in response to the film Belle (2013), which I mentioned in my last post, and the second will be a brief discussion on Juan Francisco Manzano (1797-1854) and his The Autobiography of a Slave/Autobiografia de un Escalvo.

Finally, for the past couple of weeks, my thoughts have also been on Michael Brown, his family, the Ferguson community, and the handling and media coverage of protests about Ferguson.  It’s a topic I have a lot of opinions about both in terms of my research on race, interiority and personhood as well as how it continues to shape my personal experience and understanding of race and citizenship as a black woman in the United States.  While I do believe in waiting to hear all of the facts surrounding the killing of Michael Brown, his death feels too closely linked to a tradition in the U.S. where lethal force is used against black citizens who may seem threatening, even if they are unarmed.

What was the threat in this situation and what was this officer Darren Wilson fearful of?  When and why does it appear that fear itself is justification enough killing someone else?  Fear is at the root of these very broad questions, but I start with fear because it is that emotion that allows us to determine how and to what lengths we protect ourselves and who we believe is worth protecting, especially within our national borders or local communities.

 

 

Belle, The Woman of Colour, and Ourika: On Authorship, Race, and Writing Interiority

I recently completed Paula Byrne’s Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice (2014), a companion piece to the 2013 film Belle that’s part biography of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lord Mansfield and part historical analysis of slavery in the British Empire. Dido Elizabeth Belle was the mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay, nephew of William Murray, the Earl of Mansfield who served as Lord Chief Justice during the late eighteenth century. Lindsay had a child with a female slave named Maria Belle, and although Dido Belle was born into slavery, she was raised by William Murray (Lord Mansfield) and his wife.

Both the film and the book focus on how Dido’s relationship with Murray might have very well influenced his stance on slavery, particularly in his ruling on the Somerset case of 1772. Charles Stewart brought his slave James Somerset to England in 1769. Somerset later escaped in 1771 but was captured and imprisoned on a ship bound for the West Indies.  Although he was supposed to be sold to a plantation in Jamaica, Somerset and his godparents applied for a writ of Habeas Corpus to determine if his imprisonment was legal since, as Somerset’s council argued, English common law did not support slavery.

While Mansfield’s ruling, which freed Somerset, was seen as a sign that slavery had no place on English soil, Dana Rabin asserts in “Slavery, Villeinage and the Making of Whiteness” that, “Mansfield resolved only the question of Habeas Corpus writ. He declared illegal the coerced transportation of slaves from England and remained silent on the general question of slavery in England and throughout the empire” (6). Lord Mansfield’s stance on slavery remained ambiguous. As Paula Byrne notes, “Mansfield was ruminating anxiously on the consequences of his ruling if it went wholly in favour of Somerset, and as a result every slave in Britain was freed, he judged the loss to the proprietors as being more than 70,000 pounds” (142-3).

Dido’s presence in Lord Mansfield’s life ameliorates questions of his ambivalence in Byrne’s interpretation of their relationship, and his affection for her humanizes his struggles while also positioning Dido as an important historical figure in England and as part of African Diaspora. As L.A. Times journalist Mark Olsen writes, “Her presence serves as a catalyst for her great-uncle, the lord chief justice, to make a series of legal decisions that begin to erode the economic basis of the slave trade.”

While reading about Dido Belle, I found a few articles discussing not only the historical background of the story but also current controversies about who wrote the screenplay for the movie Belle and who, consequently, gets credit for bringing her story to a wider audience. In LA Times’ “Writing Dispute for Film ‘Belle’ Bubbles Up Again,” Mark Olsen summarizes the ongoing public struggle between director Amma Asante and screenwriter Misan Sangay, which was settled in court but still goes on in the press.  Both women claim to be inspired by the portrait shown below, and they both assert they breathed life and interiority into Dido’s image.

Dido Elizabeth Belle” by Attributed to Johann Zoffanyhttps://poeticsofinteriority.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/d1c47-didoandeliza3.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Sagay saw this 1779 painting, which features Dido Elizabeth Belle (right) with her cousin Elizabeth Mary Murray, hanging in Scone Palace in Scotland. Asante claims she received a postcard of the painting, and she used that as her inspiration. The questions around Dido’s life story, the attempts to write her voice for a larger audience, and the controversies about Belle’s screenplay remind me of similar conversations about authorship in texts like The Woman of Colour (1808) and Ourika (1823), which may both be compared comparisons to Belle.

Ourika, written by Claire de Duras, is based on the life of a young Senegalese girl purchased by the Chevalier de Buffons in the late 1780s and given as a gift to the Duchess of Orleans.  The Duchess raised Ourika until she died at the age of sixteen. Ourika was then adopted, in a more figurative sense, by Duras for her novella about the tragic life of a young black woman out of place in Parisian aristocracy during the French Revolution. It’s interesting to note that Ourika was the “first serious attempt by a white novelist to enter a black mind,” according to John Fowles, translator for the French novella (Fowles xxxii).

Making a contrast with Ourika, Lyndon Dominic, editor of The Woman of Colour, believes that this anonymously written epistolary novel “provides a missing link in the narrative history of black heroines from Imonida to Ourika” (18).  Unlike Duras’ novella, “it seems plausible to propose that a woman of colour wrote The Woman of Colour” and that a book like this, possibly based on the real life experiences of Afro-British woman in the long nineteenth century, allows us to see this work as “source material that represents her interiority” (17).

Several questions arise from these topics.  Who gets to take credit for creating a voice out of a perceived voicelessness of Dido Belle’s existence?  How is the interiority of a character linked to how we perceive our own histories and our potential futures? Who gets to claim the voices of these previously unrepresented women who may re-conceptualize how we view black presences in the West?  The movie Belle is still in some theaters and will be available online soon, and I hope viewing this film will in some way elucidate some of the answers to these questions.

Works Cited

Belle. Dir. Amma Asante. Perf. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2013. Film.

Byrne, Paula. Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice. New York: Harper Perennial, 2014. Print.

Dominique, Lyndon Janson. The Woman of Colour: A Tale. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2008. Print.

Duras, Claire De Durfort, and John Fowles. Ourika: An English Translation. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1994. Print.

Olsen, Mark. “Writing Dispute for Film ‘Belle’ Bubbles up Again.” LA Times. N.p., 29 July 2014. Web. 29 July 2014.

Rabin, D. “‘In a Country of Liberty?’: Slavery, Villeinage and the Making of Whiteness in the Somerset Case (1772).” History Workshop Journal 72.1 (2011): 5-29. Web.

Race, Space and Standing Your Ground: Interiority and the George Zimmerman Trial and Trayvon Martin Case

A few days ago, I ended my last post with a link to Defining the Question of Interiority, which discussed interiority, partially in terms of architecture but also in terms of blurring the lines between interiority and exteriority. This link quotes from another interesting source, The Body Within: Art, Medicine and Visualization (2009), which talks about the problematic nature of the interior and imagining one’s interiority as both material and invisible and intangible

Interiority is always based on something exterior, something with extension, something that cannot be internalized or appropriated. Things with extension are spatial (119).

In trying to resolve this relationship between interiority and exteriority, the inner self and the actual flesh and blood that surrounds, Jenny Slatman writes in Chapter 6 of The Body Within, “Transparent Bodies: Revealing the Myth of Interiority,” that “At first glance, we might be inclined to say that interiority is the space beneath the skin” (108). What is this “space”? Is it psychological? Is this interior traceable by brain activity? Seen by x-ray? Perhaps it’s at least a spatial and psychological concept and both visible and invisible. Visible because we do have an interior beneath the skin: our flesh, bones, internal organs, but also visible in psychological terms as well through actions and the motivations that seem to be behind one’s behavior. If, as Slatman continues, “Psychological and spatial interiority converge in this so-called phenomenon of bodily subjectivity,” then interiority is based on both one’s bodily experience and also one’s individual perspective and experiences in relationship to how one’s body interacts with cultural and national spaces (110).

I was thinking about these themes after finishing Suspicion Nation last week, Lisa Bloom’s analysis of the 2013 George Zimmerman trial. She brings up some of these themes implicitly in her critique of the legal argument the prosecutors presented to the jury and in her concerns about the cultural baggage and biases that led to Zimmerman’s acquittal and that continue to lead to a general suspicion of black men and racial others in the United States. How we understand or make assumptions about a person’s inner thoughts must be put in context of how we view his or her relationship to his or her body and the outer world. If interiority is the space beneath the skin or product of experiencing bodily subjectivity, then skin, or one’s skin color and the ethnic/racial meaning that skin connotes, influences how we understand a person’s inner thoughts, desires, fears, and motivations. Interiority is relevant to how we view a person’s relationship to the world and his or her right to protect and own space and have a place in this world.

Bloom mentions Stand Your Ground Laws, though not explicitly part of Zimmerman’s defense, to explain U.S. preoccupations with crime, race, and space. These laws “expanded traditional self-defense doctrine to allow those who felt threatened in virtually any location to use deadly force even if they could have escaped without violence” (Bloom 12). Such a belief in one’s right to claim space and protect one’s turf by any means necessary shaped Zimmerman’s defense and belief that he was reasonable in his fears of Trayvon Martin. Bloom argues that while Zimmerman was deemed reasonable in his fear and eventual killing of Trayvon Martin, neither the defense nor more importantly the prosecution gave a voice to Trayvon Martin’s inner feelings the night he died or gave any value to who he was as a human being, all of which influenced how the jury viewed these two men and what motivated their actions. 

And much of that comes back to how we view interiority and what we believe lies beneath the skin. George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin as suspicious because of a combination of factors dealing with his anxieties about race, space, interiority as they figure in the “black-as-criminal image” that according to Bloom “has been with us at least since the nineteenth century, when explicit racism portrayed African-American slaves’ essential nature as ignorant and savage and in need of the ‘civilizing’ influence of the white man” (232). Zimmerman was allowed to feel afraid for his life, to defend his body and his turf. Acknowledgement of these inner feelings and respect for his bodily subjectivity allowed him to claim physical space and do so with lethal force. His innermost feelings or more accurately, his race-based paranoia, had a voice. His feelings, his anxieties, his desire to feel safe in his gated community were privileged above Travyon’s interiority and bodily subjectivity in court of law.

Charles Taylor writes in Sources of the Self that, based on a tradition in the West of respecting human dignity and one’s individual rights, “we [in the West] believe it would be utterly wrong and unfounded to draw the boundaries any narrower than around the whole human race” (6-7).   But boundaries are drawn among members of the human race depending on whether or not we recognize one’s interiority. To have the law and society recognize these interior experiences as well as protect one’s bodily subjectivity allows one to claim rights and protect one’s space as sacred, untouchable. How do such rights emerge from this recognition of bodily integrity and subjectivity? How does it correspond to how we engage in our society and nation at large? These are questions I hope to touch upon in my next post.

 

 

Possible Digital Humanities Projects about Race, Space and Interiority

It’s been two months and six days since my last confession…I mean my last post. It has been awhile since I’ve written and I hope to rectify this, at least for my own sake, by posting more often this summer.  In the time that’s passed, I have continued learning to code through codecademy.com.  I’ve finished HTML and am slowly working my way through CSS.  I must confess that I never knew coding could be fun, but it is and I hope to finish those lessons by September.

I began this blog not only to keep track of my progress in acquiring new skills but also as part of a desire to link a burgeoning curiosity in digital humanities to my academic research interests. Since my interests and even the title of this blog are dedicated to topic of race, space and interiority, I hope in future posts to discuss interiority, subjectivity and selfhood and how we articulate and aestheticize these concepts.

While I connect “interiority” to words like “subjectivity or “selfhood” in the paragraph above, “interiority” in particular interests me because it links selfhood and subjectivity to a location. In the simplest definition(s) of the word, “interiority” refers to being within or inside something, a house or a room or some inhabitable space. It might also refer to somewhere inland from the coast or border or something that pertains to domestic, national issues.  The Department of the Interior may have been named with such a focus on territorial and U.S. internal/domestic issues. Finally, interiority can also indicate something’s inner nature or someone’s internal spiritual and psychological disposition.

So, what happens when we view ourselves as having an interior or an inner self that is private and hidden by its very nature of being internal while also being important to how we deal with the world outside of that internal self? What are the implications of understanding subjectivity and selfhood as founded upon a spatial existence within the body? How does this reflect how we understand ourselves and others in relationship to the spaces we can and cannot inhabit? How do we represent and discuss this interiorized self in novels, TV and film?  How do we reveal and even confess these interiorized selves and why do we do this? What rights does interiority grant us and what rights and/or privileges are denied when this sense of interiority isn’t recognized culturally or legally?

In the next weeks and months I hope to discuss ways these questions are answered and post such findings here.

I end this week’s entry with a link to a post I stumbled upon recently that discusses interiority and space as it relates to architecture, culture and identity and how we define our interior and exterior spaces. Defining The Question of Interiority brings up interesting questions I hope to discuss next week.