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I turn my attention to the state of frenetic mobility, crossing borders, crossing continents, crossing town, in Julie Doucet’s My New York Diary, for it holds the potential to complicate and enrich our understanding of Doucet’s concern with embodiment. Movement, particularly as it figures in the graphic memoir’s frequently depicted scenes of conflict and disorientation, creates moments of emplacement, in which Julie’s body and her changing environments intertwine and constitute each other. This combination of movement, bodies, and environments defuses the persistent threat to Julie of categorical impositions and understandings of place, body, and subjectivity. Extending this analysis to the extratextual, I also consider how Doucet’s narratives of her own career and its mobilities similarly resist attempts to categorize her artistic investments, influences, and belongings.
In conceiving of this role of mobility in notions of emplaced subjectivity, I am indebted to the work of cultural geographers and anthropologists who, over the last few decades, have shifted theoretical discussions of subjectivity from embodiment towards emplacement: that is, from a notion of a mindful body that collapses the age-old mind-body dichotomy to a placing of bodies in conversation with place and time, or what David Howes has called “the sensuous interrelationship of body-mind-environment.”