"The Appearance of Substance" : Examining in Tandem the Buddhist Teaching of No-Self and Poststructuralist Theories of Gender and Subject Formation
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In this SIP, we have contemporary poststructuralist theories about identity formation on the one hand, and Zen Buddhist teachings of interdependent origination, emptiness, and no-self on the other. Reading and analyzing these both at once, there emerge a few common themes, such as the notion of identity as both something that is socially and culturally constructed and something that is always in-process, that is an activity rather than a substance, that is a "doing" rather than a "being." These perspectives are both very intentionally engaged in the deconstruction of identity, especially those types of identities that make themselves out to be the most concrete, fixed, and stable. Both of these perspectives approach identity in critical ways that have implications that are personally meaningful for the author and yet can be far-reaching. Work by Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Juana Maria Rodriguez are given close analysis.