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04 May 2011

Homi Bhabha and Nature/Culture

I'm working on a paper now for my Theories of the Past class which explores golf courses as representative of the modern relationship to the natural world.  What I'm doing with the paper is applying Homi Bhabha's concepts of the Third Space, hybridity, and translation to the nature/culture relationship.  The argument is that nature and culture form hybrids in the spaces where they meet (i.e. golf courses), that these hybridities are new forms and generate new possibilities for articulation.  Furthermore, it's in these hybridities where a new - potentially more sustainable - relationship can emerge.

Why can't I find anyone who has already done this?  It seems to make sense, and Bhabha's theories accord well with nature/culture theorists such as Latour, Haraway, Whatmore, and others.  I can't be the first to have seen the relevance and similarities here - I know I'm not that original.  Maybe I'm just not looking in the right place?  Maybe the whole project is completely misguided?  Any thoughts or suggestions?


Kai said...

I would think that actually Bhabha is doing something quite different, for he imagines two relatively pure entities coming together to form hybrids, while Latour, Haraway, etc. make the point that there are only ever hybrids - nature and culture never existed as distinct entities! So yes, golf courses would be seen as hybrid entities insofar as they are both nature/culture, but so are wilderness areas, pencils, Israel, your left arm, etc. Nonetheless, Whatmore cites Bhabha a couple of times if I remember correctly.

Jeremy Trombley said...

I see what you mean, and I think you're correct to an extent. Bhabha definitely focuses on the combination of different forms, but he does also acknowledge that cultures are always hybrid to begin with. I think the two approaches are not the same, but they share certain qualities that might be useful to explore. I think Haraway's approach is more solid and more widely applicable than Bhabha's.
Whatmore's references to Bhabha seem only to acknowledge his use of the term and not to explore the relevance to her project.

Beta said...

Hi Jeremy, I arrived at the same question and wonder if you meanwhile found some further concepts or authors who link Bhabha and Latour or Haraway? Many thx, Beta

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