Coloniality and gender

I seem to have very little time these days, as the Omicron surge winds down, and as our congregation opens up again (or maybe re-opens up? β€” or is it re-re-opens up?). Nevertheless, I’m slowly making my way through some essays by Maria Lugones, and I’m currently reading “The Coloniality of Gender.” In this essay, she critiques Anibal Quijano’s theoretical work on global capitalism for his “complicity with the gender system.” In other words, many males who write about colonialism ignore how women are dominated.

But Lugones is also laying out another way to analyze gender, a model which she calls “the modern colonial/gender system”:

β€œIn Quijano’s model of global capitalist Eurocentered power, ‘capitalism’ refers to the ‘structural articulation of all historically known forms of control of labor or exploitation, slavery, servitude, small independent mercantile production, wage labor, and reciprocity under the hegemony of the capital-wage labor relation.’ (‘Colonialidad del Poder y Clasificacion Social,’ Festschrift for Immanuel Wallerstein, part I, Journal of World Systems Research, V. xi, #2, summer/fall 2000). In this sense, the structuring of the disputes over control of labor are discontinuous: not all labor relations under global, Eurocentered capitalism fall under the capital/wage relation model, though this is the hegemonic model. It is important in beginning to see the reach of the coloniality of power that wage labor has been reserved almost exclusively for white Europeans. The division of labor is thoroughly ‘racialized’ as well as geographically differentiated. Here we see the coloniality of labor as a thorough meshing of labor and ‘race.’”

Lugones connects colonialism, capitalism, gender, and race. This has some interesting implications for the way we Unitarian Universalists think about anti-oppression work.

Noted without comment

“…[there are] levels in what counts as political. As you dare to witness police arresting people, or dare to ask a woman who is saying ‘no’ to a man’s hold whether she’s all right, whether she wants to leave, you notice that it is quite different to do that than to organize a demonstration against Anglo takeover of land and water in the U.S. Southwest. It is all beyond the pale, but the latter is more easily understood as political — it is afforded a kind of sociality — that the others may lack. So, there are levels of disruption, levels of resistant, in terms of the political sense that the act makes. Foundations that fund political projects often look for political activity that makes a particular kind of ‘within-bounds’ sense. It is important to take stock of the ease of acceptance, since there is a need to try to roam more deeply into the social to understand who’s paying for one’s acceptability.”

— Maria Lugones, Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes: Theorizing Coalition Against Multiple Oppressions (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), p. 2.