Being In-Between and Becoming Undone: Bardos, Heterotopias, and Nepantla

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 34 (2):113-140 (2020)
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In this article I examine views of groundlessness that appear in three very different philosophical traditions: bardo teachings in Tibetan Buddhism, Michel Foucault's heterotopia, and Gloria Anzaldúa's nepantla. While each of these concepts is formulated in response to specific psychological, philosophical, and political questions, I argue that they each describe—in intimate, first-personal terms—experiences of rupture or dissolution of one's own selfhood and/or thought. Using this formulation of groundlessness as a lens for reading these three concepts alongside one another, I offer a descriptive analysis of each of them, drawing out the moral-psychological ramifications of the nonfoundationalist claim that there is no fundamental “ground” to subjectivity or thought. I argue that bardos, heterotopias, and nepantla each exemplify how the rupture of groundless experience can become a vehicle for moral-psychological transformation by serving as an opportunity to recognize the pliability and spaciousness of a dynamic and unfixed selfhood.



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Jessica Elizabeth Locke
Loyola University Maryland

Citations of this work

Management and Rights Amidst Plural Worlds.Mijke Van Der Drift - 2021 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 35 (1):93-115.

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References found in this work

A phenomenology of whiteness.Sara Ahmed - 2007 - Feminist Theory 8 (2):149-168.
Unravelling Foucault’s ‘different spaces’.Peter Johnson - 2006 - History of the Human Sciences 19 (4):75-90.

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