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Sight UnseenGender and Race Through Blind Eyes$
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Ellyn Kaschak

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172905

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172905.001.0001

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Three’s Company

Three’s Company

(p.88) 6 Three’s Company
Sight Unseen

Ellyn Kaschak

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the predominance of “sighted” cultural cues as it explores the ways in which race, sex, and gender are constructs that instantly fall apart when perceived by the blind. More than any other sense, the eye objectifies and defines. In twenty-first-century Western culture, the predominance of sight over smell, taste, touch, and hearing has resulted in an impoverishment of bodily relations. Gender and sexuality, along with racialization, seem more and more like a form of hallucination, not solely but largely visual, that have come to shape the human psyche and the human flesh. Is the body therefore a thing or an idea? While generations of philosophers and observers have asked this question about the human condition, this chapter provides its own answer: both and neither are the case. Mattering is everywhere implicated where there is and is not matter, and so is vision.

Keywords:   matter, vision, Western culture, sight, bodily relations, human psyche, human flesh, gender, sexuality, racialization

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