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Pérez, Laura. Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities
2007, Duke University Press
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Added by: Adriana Clavel-Vázquez
Publisher’s Note: This book examines the work of Chicana artists, feminist Mexican-Americans who aim at interrogating their identity through art. In this chapter, Pérez examines what she regards as “the general intellectual vindication of Indigenous epistemologies that characterized much of the thought and art of the Chicana/o movement”. She argues that, in opposition to the male Chicano perspective that characterized the early movement, Chicana artists embrace their Indigenousness in a way that aims not simply at antagonizing Eurocentric culture, but that aims at “a genuinely more decolonizing struggle at the epistemological level”. The chapter focuses on writers Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Ana Castillo, and Sandra Cisneros, and on artists Frances Salomé España, Yreina Cervántez, and Esther Hernández.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Pérez’s analysis is interesting for the aims of the blueprint for three reasons. First, it is interesting to see the role she grants to spirituality in the fight for social justice, particularly when it comes to gender, race, and ethnicity in the U.S. Second, it is interesting to see whether the emphasis on the connection between aesthetic practices and spirituality might help avoid mestiza aesthetics falling into appropriative practices. Finally, it is important to analyse mestiza culture in the U.S. to see whether it might offer any lessons for mestizo cultures in Latin America.

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Radzins, Inese. Simone Weil on Labor and Spirit
2017, Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (2):291-308
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Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas

This essay argues that Simone Weil appropriates Marx's notion of labor as life activity in order to reposition work as the site of spirituality. Rather than locating spirituality in a religious tradition, doctrine, profession of faith, or in personal piety, Weil places it in the capacity to work. Spirit arises in the activity of living, and more specifically in laboring—in one's engagement with materiality. Utilizing Marx's distinction between living and dead labor, I show how Weil develops a critique of capital as a “force” that disrupts the individual's relation to her own work by reducing it to the mere activity of calculable “production.” Capital reduces labor to an abstraction and thereby uproots human subjectivity, on a systemic scale, from its connection to living praxis, or what Weil calls spirituality. Life itself is exchanged for a simulacrum of life. In positioning living labor as spiritual, Weil's work offers a corrective to these deadening practices.

Comment: This text provides an in-depth analysis of Simone Weil's account of and philosophy on work and labor, through the theological lens of spirituality. It therefore offers a unique take on Weil's attempt to situate work and labor as activities of central import in human life. The text might be an interesting supplement to any upper-level undergraduate or graduate level courses explore the concept and value of work, or the historical treatment of the concept in western philosophy. It would also be useful as a companion or supplemental text in courses focused on exploring Simone Weil's philosophy and thought.

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