- Editorial Introduction
Writing gets interrupted. But the difficulty of finishing this introduction was markedly different than confronting the everyday hassles of the grind. I began drafting this piece on one side of José Estebán Muñoz’s sudden death (4 December 2013) and have been struggling to finish it on the other side.1 Like many of Muñoz’s friends and followers, that is how I have been measuring and marking time since that terrible first week of December. But I also know that because Muñoz gave us so much powerful work before his death, there is no static “other side” of him. His lovingly reparative and disidentificatory work on depression, excess, loss, abjection, shame, and injury—work that always carries Eve Sedgwick’s traces of generosity—will live on, continuing to make it less painful and isolating to slip through the endless cracks created by prescriptiveness, boundaries, and certainties. Muñoz imagined that to slip through could mean landing in brownness, landing in a brown commons constituted not by “identitarian modes of relationality” (2006, 677), but by a shared sense of injury and abjection. And he intimately and affectively worked at creating that commons through desiring, enacting, and analyzing disidentificatory aesthetic practices, which he proposed could “be a world-making project in which the limits of the here and now are traversed and transgressed” (2009, 169).
Feminist Formations seeks to promote precisely that quality of world-making ambition driven by the feeling that “this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing” (2009, 1). And, that ambition is also one of the reasons why we call upon visual artists and poets. For, the audacious building of socially just worlds presses us to draw from every resource we can find. Indeed, one of the most rewarding and pleasurable aspects of producing Feminist Formations involves the editorial team’s collective discussions about poetry and visual art. Our conversations center around finding creative works that propose new ways of seeing, understanding, and feeling—ones that might electrify the experiences of our readers. Since beginning the practice of featuring art and poetry in our issues, our covers have been enlivened by the provocative art of Jesse Aguirre, Edouard Duval Carrié, Rio Yañez, Nana Osei-Kofi, John Jennings, and Favianna Rodriguez.2 And our Poesía section has come to life with the words of Niki Herd, Natalie Diaz, Cathy Arellano, Evie Shockley, and TC Tolbert.3 We have much gratitude to all of these cultural workers for lending their work to Feminist Formations.
Our featured artist for the current issue is Brooke Lober, an activist-scholarartist and doctoral candidate here in the Department of Gender & Women’s [End Page vii] Studies at the University of Arizona. Lober’s contributions to the culture of GWS cannot be overstated. From her tireless efforts to make the department a meaningful site for coalitional work with local Tucson communities to her passionate, grounded research for her dissertation, “Acts of Revision: A Queer and Feminist Genealogy of Jewish Opposition to Zionism,” Lober works steadily and generously to help foster a progressive, anti-racist feminist praxis. When people walk through the (rather beige) hallways and courtyard of the building that houses GWS, they see Brooke’s exhilarating political art taped to the front of our office doors. Whether designed for a symposium on the importance of Ethnic Studies in Arizona or for an event on understanding and opposing rape culture, her art gathers us. And because the flyers and posters she designs are too powerful to throw away after the events have passed, her art also serves as a public history of local happenings. Even though she never takes individual ownership over her art by making it known that she was the designer/artist (such is her politics), her mixed-media montage style of fusing important pieces of text (say, Audre Lorde’s “Your silence will not protect you”) with forceful visuals (such as a crude cartoon of a blindfolded figure speaking into a microphone, which Lober took from a poster that was made during the May 1968 events in Paris) has become immediately recognizable to us.
For all of these...