Faire Matrimoine – English version
What follows is therefore not strictly speaking a « translation » but rather two different versions of the same reflection, both made possible and circumscribed by what each of the two languages harbors in terms of connotation, poetry, rhythm, and intellectual and symbolic history.
- How can we tell history in such a way that the past can unfold its endless powers in unexpected ways ?
- How can we tell history in a way that doesn’t close off (this is what happened, this is what you need to remember) but leaves open ? For the past holds so much more than we’ll ever be able to tell; the stories we tell are fragments, transformed by our imagination.
- How can we tell the history of women without being trapped in victimhood, all while honoring the endless victims?
- How do we say « this happened » and mourn and act for change but without allowing it to swallow up our joy and life force? For if this project doesn’t nourish our life force, what is its purpose?
- How can this project be emancipatory and not trap us in the past and in anger? How do we balance light and darkness, joy and pain?
- How can the history of trauma become a source of strength? How is collective trauma transformed?
- How can we acknowledge, on the one hand, pain and oppression, and on the other, joy, support from unexpected places, allies and friends?
- How can we honor the endless, inexpressible complexity of the past? How does this awareness inform our archival research ?
- How can we tell history, and especially a person’s life, and at the same time remember that we don’t know? Is this lack of certainty not at the core of feminist historical research? If so, in which form do we repeat « I don’t know » to ourselves, how is it inscribed in our telling of history?
- How can we tell a history that is almost entirely devoid of sources ?
- How do we honor our ancestors spiritually? What is our connection to them? What do we have to offer them, what are we asking for in our relation to them? How do they nourish us, support us, sustain us already? How are our lives their cherished future? How can we offer them, in the way we live, a future they love?
- How can we not over-romanticize the women of the past? How can we speak to them, honor them, in spite of their racism, homophobia, classism, their meanness, their limitations, their humanness?
- How can we criticize patriarchy without being trapped in that discourse (we are victims fighting a beast, a totality, a structure) ? How do we keep in mind that it is a simplified term for an infinite array of phenomena, ideas, behaviors, traumas? It seems to me that if we believe too much in the term « patriarchy », we end up imprisoning ourselves (we feel like we can’t move, the beast is too big, too total) in an illusion (it is a simplification).
- How do we remember that what we call « patriarchy » is not outside ourselves, as we are part and parcel of the interrelational weaving we’re describing?
- How do we tell these stories in a way that is not dualistic, that recognizes both interdependence and oppression? Is that even possible? For instance, we recognize that the language we speak is patriarchal, as it serves and has served the interests of men. But that same language is also nourished and haunted by the thousands of ways in which it has enabled resistance, including ours.
- How can we reflect on the memory of the oppressed together with that of the Earth, as the latter also belongs to the oppressed?
- Memory is a vital issue because it determines how we present ourselves to the world and to the future. How we produce our memory, how much dualism or freedom we put into it, largely determines how we understand our present. Therefore, how can we cultivate interdependence, courage and freedom within ourselves so that what we see from the past does not reflect our anxieties and our resentment, but already projects us into the world to which we aspire?