As I finished Jodi A. Byrd’s introduction, similar thoughts and feelings arose from when the first time I read it back in the Spring semester of 2013. This time I rushed through the last part and forgot most of the first half. However, I got a good understanding of what Byrd is getting across and I consider much of her research as reflecting my contemporary academic epistemological world view. Maybe because my professor Dr. Myla Vicenti-Carpio is a big influence and she introduced me to the Transit of Empire. This time the introduction touched a different part of my mind. Maybe due to the paradigm shift that took place back in 2013, because I do remember how excited and moved I was by her work and the other scholars I was reading around that time in grad school.
Now, I found myself looking more in depth and raising questions from her book. She mentioned liberal humanism and it struck me because it questions the values/ goals/ needs a human strives for (p. xxiv). Among western civilization there is a need to be FREE, that is why the U.S. Empire pushes for militarization. Freedom is contested through the binaries of that of which is free and unfree and the cacophonies (unnecessary noise) keeping freedom from being achieved by everyone, thus furthering the agenda of globalization in a unquestioned post-colonial world. Globalization’s main lobbyist is Western Civilization and the birth of this mentality was initiated by the genocide of the indigenous people of Turtle Island. Western mainstream mentality is rooted in greed, competition, measurement, individualism, and discovery. And yet all over the world rebelling against the system is a righteous thing to do. From Hunger Games to Divergent, all the way to social movements, and police brutality, these events are articulating what freedom is, who should contest it, who should experience it, and how will it be achieved. A part of Byrd’s argument is that indigenous stories need to be included in post-colonial studies and that AIS/NAS needs to be more inclusive in the conversations happening around post-colonial theory. We need to make connections and tell our stories.
Byrd mentions this story among the Choctaw that tell of the Upper and Lower worlds colliding with the between world and when that happens chaos happens, both negative and positive (p. xxvii). I am starting to think a renaissance is about to happen, where scholars and artist are able to better articulate the world around us. This articulation will bring up important topics of coming together and learning to live together differently; environmental protection and the concept of being a good relative; defining roles for genders and ages and understanding identity on a global scale.