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Translocations


I am not so convinced, however, by your argument that the "discovery of our roots is also a discovery of our nomadic inheritances." While it may well be the case that the tendrils of our roots may spread to touch the roots of others, these discoveries are seldom invited with recognition of commonalities but rather with anxieties about differences. This anxiety to articulate one's difference from some other, as soon as you discover the common roots, seems often to result not from an unwillingness to affirm our nomadic inheritances but from an anxiety to maintain legitimate claims over the inheritances that constitute our present state. Thus a recognition of one's nomadic inheritances does not necessarily lead toward or reflect one's will to globality, though I am willing to accept that it sometimes does just that.

I agree with and have very often noted the "asymmetry of ignorance" you mention with reference to the knowl-edges of the global reflected by the peripheries vis--vis centers. I am unsure, however, how one is to go about thinking of the core and the periphery with reference to global space. If the global is a sense of one's being "in" on what has been "provisionally constructed as global space," then how does one articulate within this imagined space cores and peripheries? What does it mean to be at the core, to be more into and inflected by the global? What is periphery when one participates in the global, as you suggest, by "our abilities to imagine ourselves as global subjects"?

I especially enjoyed the way you recolonized the semantics of nodes by etymologically renovating the possibilities for articulating nomadic (dis)positions as nodes. I do think that the notion of nodes, especially in its resonances with ubiquity, is extremely useful in thinking about the translocal as well as in understanding the operations of the global.

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From: Raqs Media Collective <raqs@sarai.net>
Date: Thu Mar 14, 2002 1:08am
Subject: Re: nomadism and routes


Dear translocators,

Expanding on Yukiko's point about info-geography, we must consider, as she has urged us to, whether it is at all necessary to collapse "territoriality" of physical cartography onto the making of the map of new cultural practices. This also ties in with Guna's very salient criticism of our deployment of the metaphors of center and periphery when conceptualizing a global space.

We have been struck, ever since Guna's last posting, by the inadequacy of the terms center and periphery as tools with which to think through translocality.

In fact, the notion of a center assumes that there is one globality, though we ourselves have been arguing for alternate global imaginaries. The moment one desires, or admits to, disparate, intersecting, chaotic wills to glob-ality, the notion of a center, and with it of peripheries, loses any meaning. So, we stand humbly corrected on that score.

We would take this further to say that it is also time to resurrect, critically examine, and where necessary, celebrate every form of global or translocal cultural practice from all our histories.

A model of globality need not be in any one direction. Japan or Korea is as far as England or France from Northern India, and there are high mountains, deserts, and seas in between--yet ideas and codes did persist in traveling. The world of global culture seems at the moment to be skewed in one direction only, and this bias needs to be corrected for us to understand what it might mean to embrace local wills to globality.

And further, we need to consider an archaeology of translocality, to construct and complicate stories of root-edness that make it difficult to narrativize the other in terms of hostility alone, that make it possible to integrate in any image of the self and its practices all its inheritances, sedentary as well as nomadic. We agree that