Transnationalism and the Human Experience — What the Heck????

Good evening people! I hope that it is not too late and that I am able to tap into the minds of those Whitmaniacs out there (both sleeping and awake!)

Our topic for this week is transnationalism…when I first heard the term, the first thing that ran across my mind was Transylvania ( the setting of the novel Dracula). I know that is extremely far-fetched, but let’s just say that term is rather unfamiliar to my vocabulary. As a full-time student and mother, I have found the internet to become increasingly more useful to my many curiosities, for I am one to always end with a question. More so, I arrived to class late which facilitated the topic and discussion of transnationalism to be completely lost upon me. Entering the classs with a look of embarrassment and leaving with a look of confusion are a very odd combination and often causes your fellow classmates to worry for you and respond with a more ackward facial expression, so….The moral of the story is DON’T BE LATE TO CLASS because it makes you look stupid and your classmates worry about you. Ok, enough about that.

So, I was forced to go to the library to read about transnationalism and how it could be linked to our analysis of Whitman and his followers. While reading I found an interesting article on the life experience of a transnational, chicana, U.S. citizen. The article, entitled Adopting Transnationalism Theory and Discourse: making space for a transnational chicana, was introduced by the author telling of her experience as a chicana child, born in the U.S. but raised “binationally”. Throughout the first portion of the essay she attempts to refute the boundaries placed upon her identity by concepts of racism and binationalism by adopting a less restrictive, yet more openly definitive idea of transnationalism. For Sanchez, the author of the article:

Transnationalism unbinds binationalism, through a more complex understanding of global economic, cultural, and political processes…Transnationalism opens up a space for Chicanas who have experienced lives dialectically and physically with their or their family’s countries of origin. As transnationals, we have not led lives wholly similar to our Latina sisters in diaspora; we have access to our and our family’s homeland. This physical back-and-forth movement, captured as (dis)continuities, is different from the daily political and psychological borders encountered by women of colour each day in the US.

Transnationalism breaks through the confinement of “identifiers” whether it is social, political, whatever and permits the lived experiences of those considered “transnational” to better define how they have experienced life, I’m assuming, as a (fill in the blank).  I really hate to use the word define here because the concept of transnationalism to me seems to be conveyed as a theory that refutes restrictive definitions, ideas and practices for a more universal relativity between things, places and most importantly people.

I could be a little off, because as I said, I was late to class and thus forced into a world of confusion for approximately 40 minutes. SO what do you think? Am I on the right track?
P.S.> Here’s the link to the article.

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One Response to Transnationalism and the Human Experience — What the Heck????

  1. AVZ says:

    I think you’re right on here — and thanks for doing the leg work at the library! In class, we really focused on how there’s this sense that for authors such as Hughes and Neruda–who spent so much time and wrote so much of their crucial work outside the country of birth–thinking of them in a limited “national” tradition obscures more than it clarifies.

    And Whitman himself, though he was no world-traveler, had a globe-trotting, world-spanning vision that explodes any restrictive sense of him as the “Quintessentially American Poet.” In this class, we’re trying to trace poetic transnationalism largely through Whitman’s influence. One final note: the “transnational” isn’t “postnational.” It holds the ideas of nationality, and understands it importance in the world today. It simply tries to stretch beyond those boundaries rather than live within their limitations.

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