Mirene Arsanios, “Motherless Tongues”

Mirene Arsanios, “Motherless Tongues”

This video is part one of the duo presentation in which authors Mirene Arsanios and Simone White draw parallels to their respective texts “E autobiography di un idioma” and “or, on being the other woman”—both of which appeared in the recent e-flux journal #92, part one of a double issue on feminism(s).

See part two with Simone White, "on being the other woman," here.

Mirene Arsanios, “Motherless Tongues”
“My father had at last died and he died not knowing me, not ever speaking to me in a language in which I could have faith, a language in which I could believe the things he said.”—Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother, 1996

“Motherless Tongues” is a series of notes, reflections, and speculations on mother tongues—how the reproductive bond has been instrumentalized in the service of the nation-state, relying on the mother to perform the labor of cultural and ideological transmission. Imagining mother tongues outside biologically sanctioned bonds, beyond the labor of reproduction—languages that exist in troubled ecosystems where lacks and disconnections aren’t exclusive of repair— this presentation will rely on biographical material as it reflects on the negotiation of selfhood to find a language from which to emerge and in which to believe.

Mirene Arsanios is the author of the short story collection, The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan, 2015). She has contributed essays and short stories to Vida, e-flux journal, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, and The Outpost among other places. Arsanios co-founded the collective 98weeks Research Project in Beirut and is the founding editor of Makhzin, a bilingual English/Arabic magazine for innovative writing. She teaches at Pratt Institute and holds an MFA in Writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. On Friday nights you can find her at the Poetry Project where she coordinates the Friday Night reading series with Rachel Valinsky.

Language & Linguistics
Translation, Motherhood and Reproduction
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