ABSTRACT

In the context of the inaugural meeting of the International Auto/ Biography Association-Chapter of the Americas, I want to explore theories of the transnational. I begin by noting Leela Fernandes’s concern with feminist transnationalism in her essay, “Regimes of Visibility and Transnational Feminist Knowledge.” Fernandes cautions that a regime of visibility that attends only to particular sites of oppression in the conjunction of global formations reproduces a limited geographical imaginary. I link her call for a more expansive and nuanced transnational imaginary anchored in epistemology, ontology, and ethics to recent reconceptualizations of agency that might guide us to observe diverse networks of relationality across the Americas: Rosi Braidotti’s notion of process ontology, Karen Barad’s notion of the agential cut, and Joan Bennett’s notion of the agency of assemblages. I conclude by proposing possible multi-institutional projects that would map, visualize, and analyze the hemispheric cultures of the autobiographical across history, geography, and geopolitics. Such collaborative projects linked to what Fernandes terms an ethics of risk may enable us to discern a denser, richer fabric of autobiographical cultures and to organize our activities beyond the venue of a biennial conference.