Pedagogies of Crossing

Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred

Pedagogies of Crossing

Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

More about this series

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: Published: January 2006

Activism, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Sex and Sexuality

M. Jacqui Alexander is one of the most important theorists of transnational feminism working today. Pedagogies of Crossing brings together essays she has written over the past decade, uniting her incisive critiques, which have had such a profound impact on feminist, queer, and critical race theories, with some of her more recent work. In this landmark interdisciplinary volume, Alexander points to a number of critical imperatives made all the more urgent by contemporary manifestations of neoimperialism and neocolonialism. Among these are the need for North American feminism and queer studies to take up transnational frameworks that foreground questions of colonialism, political economy, and racial formation; for a thorough re-conceptualization of modernity to account for the heteronormative regulatory practices of modern state formations; and for feminists to wrestle with the spiritual dimensions of experience and the meaning of sacred subjectivity.

In these meditations, Alexander deftly unites large, often contradictory, historical processes across time and space. She focuses on the criminalization of queer communities in both the United States and the Caribbean in ways that prompt us to rethink how modernity invents its own traditions; she juxtaposes the political organizing and consciousness of women workers in global factories in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada with the pressing need for those in the academic factory to teach for social justice; she reflects on the limits and failures of liberal pluralism; and she presents original and compelling arguments that show how and why transgenerational memory is an indispensable spiritual practice within differently constituted women-of-color communities as it operates as a powerful antidote to oppression. In this multifaceted, visionary book, Alexander maps the terrain of alternative histories and offers new forms of knowledge with which to mold alternative futures.


“[I]t is important to inhabit and theorise experience within the realm of the spiritual, especially as Alexander holds this as a promise of collective engagement for social justice.” — Goldie Osuri, Australian Feminist Studies

Pedagogies of Crossing is a wonderful read, playful yet deadly serious, local and global, dark and distressing, while at the same time offering a map of hope for a brighter future. It contains essays that mark a new kind of feminism, one that expands beyond the boundaries of white academic feminism to capture and rewrite new stories from all corners of theory and the world.” — Kathy Rudy, Theology and Sexuality

“[A] comprehensive, extensive exploration of Alexander’s journey through migration stories (including her own), through academe, the academy and teaching, and through African and Caribbean colonized identities and sexualized politics. Her collection contributes a great deal to the feminist examination of the need to remember, to communicate the experiences of women of colour, including the spiritual survival of women of colour by finding room for the inclusion the Sacred and sacred experiences, as she steps away from the secularized view of experience and power that post-modernism has brought about.” — Laure E. Lafrance, Atlantis

“[Alexander’s] compelling analysis aligning heteronormativity and whitening with the project of modernity is accompanied by another set of concerns that address the problems that arise within communities of women of colour.” — Ayesha Hameed, TOPIA

“Alexander presents us with a provocative history of the present in which sovereignty is waged in the domain of sexuality and sexual regulation and asymmetrically on the backs of racialized queer immigrant bodies. . . . Alexander offers bold ways to reimagine and rethink the intersectional and interdisciplinary relationships among queer studies, area studies, diaspora studies, postcoloniality, transnational feminism, ethnic studies, Marxism, and globalization.” — David Eng, GLQ

“In calling for politics by other names and means than those captured by empire, [Alexander] offers new/old pathways for transnational feminist thought and political theorizing.” — Anne Sisson Runyan, Journal of Women Politics and Policy

“In her capacious embrace of the problem of power, manifested in relationships among epistemology, regimes of rule, and cross-cultural encounters, M. Jacqui Alexander has produced a moving contribution to diaspora studies, feminist studies, and activist scholarship.” — Aisha Khan, New Dawn

“M. Jacqui Alexander’s collection of essays assembles the important work, written over the last ten years, of this transnational feminist theorist. Pedagogies confirms Alexander’s status as one of the most rigorous and innovative thinkers in the field. . . .” — Ilya Parkins, Canadian Woman Studies

“This is a remarkable collection of essays, making a substantial contribution to postcolonial and transnational feminist theory.” — Jan Jindy Pettman, International Feminist Journal of Politics

"In deft prose, the author addresses a poetical cacophony of topics. . . . [A] take-no prisoners assault on interconnected systems of power and gender hierarchy. . . . [O]ffers spiritual solutions to international dilemmas. [Alexander] illustrates a fluid facility with language, subject, and genre." — Tara Lake, Girlfriends

Pedagogies of Crossing is a tour de force. M. Jacqui Alexander addresses the conditions that make multiculturalism possible and powerfully shows us that those conditions are ultimately ethical and spiritual. Beautifully written and deeply moving, this book shows us how we need an ethic of translation if we are to be able to engage in classroom teaching so that both students and teachers can grapple with the politics of our complex, globalized world. Pedagogies of Crossing is a must read for anyone in women’s studies, anthropology, political science, English, comparative literature, or sociology.” — Drucilla Cornell, author of Defending Ideals: War, Democracy, and Political Struggles

“In Pedagogies of Crossing, M. Jacqui Alexander ventures an archaeology of the heart to cross over to the ‘other side’ of knowing, returning the sacred to the classroom. Here the ‘altar of the secular gods of postmodernity’ is finally dismantled and we are urged the freedom to think before and beyond them. I am indebted to this sister-scholar-in-arms.” — Cherríe Moraga, coeditor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

M. Jacqui Alexander is Professor of Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. She is a coeditor of Sing, Whisper, Shout, Pray! Feminist Visions for a Just World and Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part I: Transnational Erotics: State, Capital, and the Decolonization of Desire

1. Erotic Autonomy as a Politics of Decolonization: Feminism, Tourism, and the State in the Bahamas 21

2. Imperial Desire/Sexual Utopias: White Gay Capital and Transnational Tourism 66

Part II: Maps of Empire, Old and New

3. Whose New World Order? Teaching for Justice 91

4. Anatomy of a Mobilization 117

5. Transnationalism, Sexuality, and the State: Modernity's Traditions at the Height of Empire 181

Part III. Dangerous Memory: Secular Acts, Sacred Possession

6. Remembering This Bridge Called My Back, Remembering Ourselves 725

7. Pedagogies of the Sacred: Making the Invisible Tangible 287

Notes 333

Bibliography 373

Index 395
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3645-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3607-5
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