Saturday, October 24, 2009

Repost: What's a Wardrobe Worth?

This is a post I wrote in September while musing on steampunk wardrobing, its always-possible co-opting by mainstream capitalistic ventures, and other ethical questions.

Repost: From A Former Colony

This is a post I originally wrote back in July about the exploration theme I occasionally encounter on the internet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Contact Jha

I have several methods for communication. It's pretty much guaranteed that I will respond to at least one method if you attempt to try as many as possible. If I don't respond to you, then it's probably because I don't want to.

To e-mail me - username: jhameia.goh - domain name: gmail

You can also message me at any of the forums listed.

My primary chat system is MSNM - ID:

My primary blog is Intersectionality Dreaming. I have other spaces on the internet as well: LJ, DW, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Intersection of Race and Steampunk

This essay was written for Racialicious, as  a kind of primer for a PoC audience on what steampunk is and why PoC would be interested in it. Originally posted here (back in June 2009, a little after RaceFail), it was very well-received and continues to be a point of origin for me. I heartily recommend going to the original link to read the comments to my article (of which there are 58, so definitely aren't being reproduced here).

This essay is divided into four sections: a brief description of steampunk; problems specific to steampunks of colour; my personal context; and possible roles for PoC within steampunk. In many ways, this essay is very rudimentary, and my views have been very much informed by a great deal of other readings since then. Nonetheless, despite its very 101 tone, I hope you enjoy it.

Comments Policy

As you may have noted, I am pretty lax with my diction and conversation. I generally do not have a comment policy, so there are only a few rules:

#1 Be clear on the terms of discussion. If I am discussing a specific, localized context, try not to compare it to a context that has little to no relation to it.

#2 Don't be a jerk. I will call you out on any jerkiness you display. Even if you use proper language and talk nicely, you can still do/say jerk things. And I will call you out on what you did/said.

#3 Don't get defensive if someone calls you out on your jerk behaviour/statement. If it ain't about you, don't make it about you.

#4 Moff's Law is in effect. I presume that here, you will be aware of all Internet traditions.

#5 Be awesome to yourself and your fellows. (I had to end this list on a positive note.)

About Silver Goggles

Silver Goggles is the pet steampunk project of one Jaymee Goh, or Jha as she is known in many places on the Internet, to explore the possibilities of applying postcolonial theory within the literary and roleplaying aspects of the steampunk phenomenon in order to expand the current narratives to include those that center experiences, voices, and perspectives that are traditionally subaltern or marginalized in a larger Eurocentric context. It is the off-shoot of Intersectionality Dreaming.

The purpose of Silver Goggles is to deconstruct narratives in steampunk, with a particular focus on the issues of colonialism, imperialism and politics, as they appear within steampunk literature and/or roleplay, in order to de-center the traditional Eurocentric focus. Using a wide range of postcolonial, post-structuralist, post-modern, race and feminist theories, Silver Goggles will analyze the language / discourse of steampunk that drive and/or reinforce current trends and representations of steampunk elements. Other strategies used to critique overarching themes that maintain the Western hegemony and seek empty spaces where formerly colonized voices may begin to find voice within steampunk narratives will consist of media studies, applications of larger conversations such as RaceFail, focused reviews and analysis of steampunk and other postcolonial texts as well as the use of meta-analysis (because there is no other singularly more convenient way of doing this, not because I'm trying to be clever here).

The overall goal of Silver Goggles is to search out and produce strategies for the promotion of racial diversity within steampunk. There will also be a focus on other traditionally marginalized narratives, albeit lesser as it will not be the top priority of this project. Among the lesser endeavours of Silver Goggles, however, is not to promote "colour blindness", racist narratives, stereotypes, nor generalizations of whole groups. I fully recognize that in my course of study, I may commit any one of these mistakes, and will ensure that I address them properly as they are pointed out to me.

While many of the posts in question will address my readings, the tone of the posts will vary between formal / academic and informal / conversational, depending on the purpose of the post. On occasion, I may slip into the Malaysian basilect (I know, WTF right?) for kicks. I may or may not provide translations for any non-English diction I use (but you can always ask). As a member of a visible minority group, I will occasionally be frustrated by any conversations and discussions of [race / gender / other related topics], and my upset will be plain to see. I assure you that there will be no cause for alarm. Unless you're the one who triggered it. Readers are advised, thusly, to acknowledge that less-than-savoury language will be used on occasion, and are strongly discouraged from using the tone argument.

It is my hope that Silver Goggles become a safe space for all visitors, in particular those who identify as persons of colour (PoC), visible minorities, or of non-European descent. (This does not mean that it will inherently be an unsafe space for those who do not fall under these descriptions. Please do not be willfully obtuse.) As such, comment moderation for posts older than 7 days will be turned on (and to enable me to keep track of comments). I will endeavour to root out inflammatory, triggering comments as I see them. I predict the occasional failure in presenting all readers a perfectly safe space, and hope you will bear with me.

This blog, therefore, is written by a PoC, for PoC. It is my pleasure to welcome you here and I look forward to wearing these silver goggles and embarking on this adventure.