Intersectionality theorists also make clear … distinctions between oppression and difference. For them, not all differences are axes of structural social oppression. For example, both intersectionality theorists and poststructuralists speak of “marginalized” peoples. Yet the former [intersectional theorists] anchor this concept in hierarchically structured, group-based inequalities, while poststructuralists often are referring to people whose behaviors lie outside of or transgress social norms. This latter conception of “margins” includes a much broader swath of people where the normative structure rather than structural relations of oppression is determinate.
Indeed, not all countercultural lifestyles and politics reflect the historical, institutionalized oppressions highlighted by intersectionality theorists; even groups such as the Michigan militia or the Ku Klux Klan are marginalized groups in terms of transgressing norms. This is why Collins argues that, when scholars took the postmodern turn, “conceptions of power shifted—talk of tops and bottoms, long associated with hierarchy, were recast as flattened geographies of centers and margins” that “rob the term of oppression of its critical and oppositional importance” (Collins 1998, 129 and 136). Similarly, Kimberlé Crenshaw suggests that such “flattening” of intersectionality results from the absence of a structural and political critique (quoted in Berger and Guidroz 2009, 70)."
Resting, that is what these old books appear to be doing. And they deserve it. The volumes date from the 17th and 18th centuries and have been on these shelves for several hundreds of years. They are part of York Cathedral Library and occupy a packed room (Pic 5) just adjacent to a larger reading room. When I visited the place, last week, I found myself whispering and walking slowly, so as not to wake them. These images transmit, I hope, some of the magic that hangs in the air: the red and green shine of leather bindings mixed with the distinct musky smell of old books.
Pics (my own): York Minster Library, established precisely 600 years ago this year. More about the library here.
"…we know nothing about Sappho. Or worse: everything we know is wrong. Even the most basic “facts” are simply not so, or in need of a stringent critical reexamination. A single example. We are told over and over again that Sappho “was married to Kerkylas of Andros, who is never mentioned in any of the extant fragments of her poetry” (Snyder 1989:3). Not surprising, since it’s a joke name: he’s Dick Allcock from the Isle of MAN. It’s been over 139 years since William Mure pointed this out… yet one finds this piece of information repeated without question from book to book, usually omitting the dubious source, usually omitting any reference at all."
"Paris: Seasonal Perfection", Harper’s Bazaar US, April 1990
Photographer : Phillip Dixon
Model : Naomi Campbell
Funny medieval doodles
With their wild hair and frantic gaze, these doodled men look like fools. They are waving as if to seek contact with the reader. The thing is, the reader is busy singing and listening to a sermon. That is because these 800-year-old images are found in a Missal, a book used during Holy Mass. What a shock it must have been for the serious user of the book, to flip the page and suddenly find yourself face to face with these funny creatures. And what a great contrast: a serious book with silly drawings.
Pic: Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, MS 95 (Missal, 12th century). More about the manuscript here.