The 2nd Year Begins/Terminology “Confluences”

My second year of grad school has begun. I’m taking four classes this semester:

Contemporary Queer Writers of Color
Fiction Workshop
20th & 21st Century Poets of Color
Queer Poetics

So there’s a lot of reading, a lot of literature and a lot of theory. In addition two of my classes require me to blog once a week. So yes my dreams of blogging regularly again seem to be coming true just not the way I thought. All of this is in addition to being co-fiction editor of the literary journal 580 Split and running a school sponsored reading series.

In conclusion I may be insane, the good part is that a lot of my reading are awesome folks I would read anyway if not quite so quickly. I’m also reading a lot more stuff by Women, GLBTQ folks and People of Color – which was one of my goals for this semester.  So for my first week I read Langston Hughes, Barbara Smith & Gloria Anzaldua.

On top of this I’m researching various PhD programs in the Bay Area. So far the most promising ones seem to be Literature @ UC Santa Cruz, Modern Thought & Lit. @ Stanford and Rhetoric @ UC Berkeley.

*Terminology:  Confluences

Last week in my class I was introduced to the word confluences as opposed to intersections and I’m doing my best to replace the terms in my vocabulary. Not that intersectional is now “out” or anything like that it was just the more I thought about the reasoning the professor put forward, the more I agree with it. Intersectionality implies static connections, the the places and situations in which our identities meet and influence each other happens the same way every time in the same way at the same time. The truth of the matter is that our various identities shift and change depending on the situation.

The imagery I’ve been using to thing of confluences is wind currents. A separate current representing each identity, two or three or more may merge into bigger systems depending on the situation, or one current itself can interact on it’s own and even if some of your other identities do not feed directly into the confluence those other winds are still present shifting the focus and perceptions of the larger storm system co-existing.

Haven’t worked out the whole metaphor or interactions yet but overall really liking the terminology of confluences of identity as opposed to intersections of identity a whole lot right now.

2 responses to “The 2nd Year Begins/Terminology “Confluences”

  1. Actually, I really like that re: intersection and confluence.

    I wrote a post for tor.com on identity and characterization last week (or so ago). Not quite the same thing, tho – I was talking more about how sometimes writers ascribe a narrow, singular identity to a character based on how the writer views an specific “trait” or identity rather than how the character might view themselves as a person of multiple identities.

  2. Interesting! I am especially curious about the intersectionality vs. confluence thing – can’t wait to talk to friends who are in grad school now about whether this is a term that is becoming more common usage…

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