Thursday, April 23, 2015

Articulating Culture

Homi Bhabha’s Location of Culture describes the time and place at which the ideas of cultures are created. One culture’s identity and community is formed when it comes in contact with another culture. The definition of each culture is redefined with every cultural/ethnic boundary. Social differences are constructed by the represented members of cultures. These differences are things that are “articulated.” This articulation of difference, as Bhabha says, is “a complex, on-going negotiation.” There is not a single and steadfast definition for each constructed culture. It is constantly changing based on its surroundings and its contact with others. 

I chose this picture of artwork on a chalkboard to represent some of Bhabha’s ideas. I think the chalkboard is important, because Bhabha points to the poststructural nature of cultural articulation and cultural differences. Because it is poststructural, the meaning that each culture or each representer/member of culture holds is defined by the surrounding cultures and the communication between the two. Therefore, it seems that cultures could be like art drawn on a chalkboard: intricate, detailed, and multifaceted, but able to be altered and erased by any hand that wishes to communicate with it. 
Also, the artwork can be seen as depicting the contact between cultures. If each kid in the drawing is a representer of culture, then their dance would be a negotiation that defines each of them. Without the context of their surroundings, they wouldn't have cultural identity.

Image:"Waldorf Chalkboard Drawing" Flickr Image by Xeaza


  1. ooo.... I like the chalkboard thing at the end there; that's where the post really takes off for me. Great metaphor-- remind me to talk about it in class today!

  2. I like how your image itself is not only a metaphor for Bhabha's theories, but also the medium with which the image is created. I also think the idea of being able to erase and change the way culture is being presented here. I wonder if "the hand" that could change the chalkboard could be just any hand? Or would it have to be a hand of someone who is seen as being part of a dominant cultural identity? Just a thought...