The following is a repost from October 2009.
On Wednesday up on UCSC, I heard Professor Soraya Murray read her newest musings in a paper for the Center for Cultural Studies Colloquium about Grand Theft Auto 4 and how it critiques Capitalism and Globalization. I find many of the ideas she presented still running around in my head. The title of her manuscript is Analytic Borderlands: Visualizations of Globality and the Body Becoming, investigating bodies under the duress of globalization and their representation in visual culture. Moving from Linda Nochlin’s consideration of the body in pieces as a metaphor for early modernity, it examines Homi Bhabha’s “becoming” and Saskia Sassen’s “analytic borderlands” as frameworks for understanding depictions of bodies—particularly women’s bodies—in the matrix of global flux.” The two last sentences come straight from the Center’s synopsis.
One of her ideas has me thinking about the affect of globalization on the body, specifically mine. My family immigrated to East Chicago when I was three months shy of three years old. Some may say that I was too young to really understand what was going on moving from Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Intellectually, I probably didn’t. Yet, I’m sure my body understood specifically by having to receive the trauma. Plus, I didn’t want to leave. I had the agency of a toddler, none. In fact, most of my life I wanted to go back, until the horrifying break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90s.
I also wonder how do we immigrants survive after leaving our families, homes, and cultures to the US’ melting pot assimilation? Do pieces of ourselves such as part of our identity stay? I use the word immigrant broadly especially in reference to US culture. Sometimes I feel I immigrated from the Midwest in this Californian land of fruits and nuts. There have been times in the deep South (even Bakersfield sometimes) where I feel as if I”m in a different country. The body(ies) react to the act of immigration expressing both an individually universally . I feel my body is still in duress. The question then becomes how do I express that and hopefully heal or let it go.
One final disclosure, I have gone full circle with Grand Theft Auto. You’ve heard the stories. I won’t repeat them here. I forbade the game from our home for years. Now, I want to play it, albeit with Soraya.