and Global Democracy:
Defending Social, Cultural,
and Ecological Diversity
A retreat organized by
The Future of Minority Studies National Research Project
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
12th – 17th May 2003
ST = Realist Theory of Identity and Social Thought
LA = Identity, Realism, and Literary Analysis
IP = Identity and Pedagogy
Note: All our meetings will be held in the main conference room
of Cornell’s Biodiversity Lab, which is close to the Punta
Cana Resort and Club (where we will be staying).
Most participants will be arriving in Punta Cana today.
2:00-3:00 pm Lecture by Eloy Rodriguez
Topic: The biodiversity of Punta Cana and the surrounding region.
Eloy Rodriguez is the Perkins Professor of Plant Biology at Cornell
3:00-5:00 pm ST-1
General topic: Methodology
Recap post-positivist realism in the context of the larger project
of the Future of Minority Studies; discuss the microfoundations approach
to social analysis developed by Dan Little in his chapters “Microfoundations
of Marxism” and “Marxism and Popular Politics.”
7:30-9:00 pm ST-2
General topic: Identity
Continue with discussion of microfoundations approach and its application
to identity politics. Discuss Dan's chapter “Identity Politics” and
also discuss the essay by Ian Hacking, “Making Up People.”
9:00-11:30 am ST-3
General Topic: Truth
Discuss “Comparison, History, Truth” by Charles Taylor
and “Language, Truth and Reason” by Ian Hacking.
3:30-5:30 pm IP-1
General Topic: Identities in the Classroom
Discuss Amie’s and Susan’s introduction to Twenty-First-Century
Feminist Classrooms, focusing on their concept of communities of
meaning, and thinking carefully about how realist feminist pedagogy
enables the objectives of progressive educators.
7:30-9:00 pm Reception at Mr. Kheel’s house
This reception is being hosted by Mr. Kheel. His generous grant has
helped make this retreat possible.
Featured event: readings by Helena Maria Viramontes and Roberta
9:00-11:00 am IP-2
General Topic: Literature and Feminist Pedagogy
Discussion of “Drown,” by Junot Diaz, focusing on the
text’s social critique of the social construction of masculinity.
3:30-5:30 pm LA-1
Topic: Junot Diaz, Drown; Toni Morrison, “Recitatif”
Note: The following five questions will frame the discussion for
all three LA sessions.
1. What are the consequences for reading of the postposivist realist
assumption that literature references a notion of social reality?
2. Are there notable emphases in postposivist realist vs. poststructuralist
3. Given that we want to remain flexible, are there, however, any
principles that we might accept as methodological?
4. Certain notions, such as identity, race, gender, sex, etc., seem
crucial to contemporary modes of reading. In what ways does postposivist
realism resemble or differ from these other modes? In what ways might
postposivist realism contribute to these other modes?
5. What relationships are there between historical narratives and
the interpretation of literary texts? How do we decide which historical
narratives to invoke in the process of interpreting a text?
8:00-10:00 pm Paper Presentations*
Format: informal presentations followed by small group discussions
Ulka Shapiro Anjaria, “Ecological subjectivity and the consciousness
of continuity: A reading of Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms”
Roberta Hill, “Poetics of Place”
Ernesto J. Martínez, “Risking Disorder in Baldwin’s
Satya P. Mohanty, “How Do Texts Reflect Reality? Some Theses
on Literary Reference”
John Riofrio, “The Theoretical Possibilities of the Internal
Colonial Paradigm: A Brief Reconsideration”
Paul Sawyer, “Identity as Calling: Martin Luther King on War”
John Su, “Fantasies of (Re)collection: Collecting and Social
Imagination in A. S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance”
Sean Teuton, “Is ‘Poor’ an Identity? Indian Poverty
in Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues”
Kay Yandell, “Transcending Hybridity in the Autobiography
of Pretty Shield”
* Papers will have been previously circulated.
Morning and Afternoon: Day trip to a nearby town.
8:00-10:00 pm LA-2
Topic: James Baldwin, Another Country
9:00-11:00 am LA-3
Topic: Linda Hogan, Solar Storms
3:30-5:30 pm Concluding Discussion
Most people leave in the morning or after lunch.
Program and Communications
Sessions on Realist Theory of Identity and Social Thought
Linda Martín Alcoff and Daniel Little
Sessions on Identity, Realism, and Literary Analysis
Michael Hames-García, Tobin Siebers, and Craig Werner
Sessions on Identity and Pedagogy
Amie Macdonald and Susan Sánchez-Casal
Papers Presentation Session
Satya Mohanty, Cornell University
Tobin Siebers, University of Michigan
Paula Moya, Stanford University
Sean Teuton and Craig Werner, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Special thanks are due to Mr. Kheel, Eloy Rodriguez, and Helena
Maria Viramontes for making this retreat possible.