Polypolitanaeity

#1

‘Polypolitan -ism/-aeity’ reminds me of the term ‘polyculturalism’ that I believe I first encountered in an essay by Vijay Prashad in the collection, TOTAL CHAOS: The Art and Aesthetics of Hiphop edited by Jeff Chang and published in 2007.

Quick Google and I find a review of a recent book from Vijay, EVERYBODY WAS KING-FU FIGHTING: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity, where the reviewer, Andrea Gibbons, uses the term in the title of her review.

She also quotes this handy definition from Vijay’s text:

“Polyculturalism, unlike multiculturalism, assumes that people live coherent lives that are made up of a host of lineages–the task of the historian is not to carve out the lineages but to make sense of how people live culturally dynamic lives. Polyculturalism is a ferocious engagement with the political world of culture, a painful embrace of the skin and all its contradictions. (xii)”

Her review may be found here:
https://writingcities.com/2016/09/27/vijay-prashad-polyculturalism-kung-fu/

I relate this observation not to develop a discussion of origin, but rather to suggest further avenues for building community and conversation around this more complex view of cultural identity and ‘the social commons’.

I’ll be interested in pointers to other texts and practices along these themes.
. . .

For what it’s worth, as a young Punk idealist in the mid-80’s I worked on some rhetoric around ‘polynationalism’, the idea that we each ‘belong to’, or ‘subscribe to’, or ‘work from’, or ‘articulate’, a multiplicity of social groupings or ‘nations’. I invented a character to give voice to this sentiment named Polly Nation. My recollection right now is hazy, but I remember she had a slogan, part of which was, ‘Be like a bee.’ Something about drawing out a wordplay between poly-nation and pollenation.

(Sorry for the detour into juvenilia. Your correspondent isn’t entirely done with the cultural struggles encountered in his youth.)