Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush

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Research Interests

I am interested in the intersection of identity formation, nationalism and memory, particularly as as realized through nativist and social movement discourse. Central to this concern however is the use of the mimetic function to access "originality". The performative impulse then in embodying and reifying constructing an original "we" becomes imperative in activating discursive formations. In this process it seems there is a residue of an original people/culture and its maintenance through effigies (Taussig) that cannibalize from myth and history. In this sense then the mimetic function serves to both instantiate as well as exceed normative identity politics.

Alongside and counter to more nationalistic identity formations we find narratives in tension with the histo-mythical narrative underwriting nationalistic discourse through identity negotiation. Here mimesis serves to act as a kind of resistance by allowing for a broader understanding of subjectivity through role playing. In order to better access individual narratives produced through and against the master narrative of nationalism, it is necessary analyze such formations. Formations that are both intentional and unintentional. Transgressing identities and re-distributing discipline of the body under these new paradigms subverts nationalistic ideologies by performing/enacting non-normative identities.

My work seeks to understand the gap between nationalistic and transgressive identities and how they work to re-imagine the state and belonging. Understanding how memory works through and against these identity formations gestures toward a new understanding of the correlation between "originality" and belonging. My interests in identity, memory and language arise out of the current cultural and political situation in Switzerland regarding immigration and the increasing right wing backlash against both immigration populations as well as against Swiss-born "non Swiss". It is my hope to identify key strategies employed by citizens in their day-to-day experiences that exist at the frontier of Swiss exceptionalism and transform or exceed narratives of citizenship.