Movement (HUM415)

Warsan Shire

One of the things to note in relation to the materials covered in today’s class is the way that each of them addresses pressing social and political issues.

The Ted Cruz ad produces a kind of cinematic fantasy of unregulated immigration to make a rhetorical point. As someone suggested, this bit of campaign marketing differs from the Trump ad in several ways: it has a lighter tone, it’s visually less dense, and it actually formulates an argument.

The Trump ad is more alarming perhaps because it’s so chaotic in terms of its formal choices (ex. layering of multiple images) and its content (ex. jarring breaks between different topics: we’ll take their oil, we’ll build a wall and they’ll pay for it, etc.).

The poem by Warsan Shire also addresses human mobility across political boundaries (i.e., migration) though from the perspective of those who have traveled that road themselves. The power of her poem, I think, part of it anyway, lies in the images she chooses to communicate just how desperate you need to be to leave home.

“i want to go home,/ but home is the mouth of a shark/ home is the barrel of the gun/ and no one would leave home/ unless home chased you to the shore”

As someone pointed out, such language flips the conventional meaning of ‘home,’ turning it into something like its opposite: a weapon, a threat, a predator.

Finally, the essay by Slavoj Zizek attempts to address the complexity of the refugee crisis from a radical perspective, one that locates the origins of these events in the various forms of violence unleashed by global capitalism.

Thursday we’ll hit up “After Neoliberalism: Analysing the Present” and the other assigned readings. We’ll also do some in-class work. This will be your second graded assignment. (Your first was the questionnaire. If you turn it in by Thursday then you get 100%!)



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