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Be sure to include word count (excluding quotations) at the end of your post.

by | Sep 21, 2022 | American Literature


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Welcome to week four! This week’s readings and discussion focus on another foundational concept in womanist spiritual activism: a metaphysics of interconnectedness. A “metaphysics of radical interconnectedness” is a worldview in which everything [human and nonhuman] is completely interconnected with everything else. (“Metaphysics” is a philosophical term with lots of definitions; for our purposes, you may think of it as “complex foundational worldview that goes beyond physical reality”).
In case it’s useful, let’s break down the definitions a little bit more:
Indigenous philosophies: worldviews, theories, ideas, and beliefs developed and lived by Indigenous peoples (people native to specific regions–in the US we refer to Indigenous peoples as Native Americans, American Indians, and by the many specific tribal nations–but Indigenous peoples span the globe; Indigenous peoples are the wisdom keepers, those before colonialism who have survived, regardless.) Indigenous philosophies are developed over time, through dialogue and living closely with the land; they are passed down through oral traditions (which includes storytelling). Typically, Indigenous philosophies are relational, holistic, and participatory, as illustrated in this week’s readings. Indigenous philosophies often posit forms of animism–a worldview and philosophy in which everything is spirit-infused and alive. In animist worldviews, all living beings have consciousness of various types.
Western philosophies: worldviews, theories, ideas, and beliefs developed in Europe from the 1500s onward, by people like Renee Descartes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, etc. Western philosophies are now the dominating philosophies in many nations. If you were educated in the United States or another westernized country, chances are very good that you were trained in this western thinking. Western philosophies tend to emphasize the individual over the group; divide things into parts (like taking a machine apart or dissecting an insect to see how it works); create rigid categories and then insist that items must go into only one category (like conventional gender: man or woman); favor either/or thinking (either you’re a man or you’re a woman); value hierarchy (boss over employers); and insist on monoliths: one way to think, one way to be right, one Truth, one answer, one God, and so on (I call this mono-thinking). (Important Reminder: Philosophies are not innate: In other words, no one is born with a philosophy; we are educated into them; we develop them over time; we sort through them; and so on. Philosophies can be imposed on us, but we can resist; we can develop our own; etc. Gloria Anzaldúa’s work illustrates this point.)
Metaphysics of Interconnectedness: In a nutshell (and to oversimplify), “metaphysics” refers to reality (metaphysics are philosophies about ultimate reality–what really exists). A metaphysics of interconnectedness posits that interconnectedness really exists, that we are all interrelated with each other. (By “all” I mean human and beyond the human.) In the quotation at the front of our syllabus, Gloria Anzaldúa’s statement represents one version of a metaphysics of interconnectedness: “With awe and wonder you look around, recognizing the preciousness of the earth, the sanctity of every human being on the planet, the ultimate unity and interdependence of all beings–somos todos un paíz. Love swells in your chest and shoots out of your heart chakra, linking you to everyone/everything–the aboriginal in Australia, the crow in the forest, the vast Pacific ocean. You share a category of identity wider than any social position or racial label.” Another example can be found in this week’s assignment, in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s essay (especially in her discussion of animacy).
Extra Credit Opportunity: After you post, in a “p.s.,” tell us your favorite quotation from this week’s readings and why you like it; be sure to also indicate word count (your words, not including the quotation) (Worth up to 5 points)
Womanist spiritual activism is based on a metaphysics of radical interconnectedness that draws from Indigenous philosophies, such as those expressed by Paula Gunn Allen and Robin Wall Kimmerer in this week’s readings. While Indigenous philosophies have some similarities with mainstream western worldviews, there are also striking differences between Indigenous and mainstream western philosophies.
Discuss one difference that stood out for you, and use one quotation for support.
Be sure to explain why you focused on this particular distinction. (Note: Please see this week’s announcement for definitions of these terms and additional information about the readings.) Be sure to include word count (excluding quotations) at the end of your post.
Organization could be stronger, and be sure to cite your sources. For instance, where in this week’s readings and Be sure to indicate quoted material with quotation marks.


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