Lugones, “worlds”, “world travelling”: Lugones speaks of “worlds” and “world travelling”. For Lugones, there are some worlds we enter willfully and playfully, and doing so can (i) show us how identities are constructible and (ii) be liberating as we get to be playful in with our identities (“who we are”) in those spaces.
Your Task: In ~3 pages, explain Lugones’ key concepts and reconstruct a key implication of the view (as presented in lecture – you won’t find it anywhere else).
1. Have an aim statement.
2. Explain in sufficient detail what “worlds” are and what it means to be a “world traveler”. Give and explain an example of the above – personal experiences are fine as long as it’s demonstrates the Lugones’ view accurately.
a. Is everyone a “world traveler”? Does everyone travel to various “worlds” by their own choosing? What is the moral/political significance of Lugones’ position on this matter?
3. Explain how Lugones gets a special form of self-knowledge (knowledge of herself and her identities) through accepting her status as a “world traveler”?
a. What is this knowledge of “who I am” that Lugones realizes?
b. How does this self-knowledge help her get other-knowledge about her mother.
c. What does she come to understand about her mother?
d. What are the moral consequences for their relationship because of this knowledge?


Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Worlds and World Traveling: Constructing Identities and Liberating Playfulness

Aim Statement

The aim of this essay is to explore the key concepts presented by María Lugones in her discussion of “worlds” and “world traveling.” By examining Lugones’ views, this essay will reconstruct a key implication of her perspective, as presented in the lecture. It will delve into the meaning of worlds and world traveling, provide examples, and discuss the moral and political significance of Lugones’ position. Furthermore, it will explain how embracing the role of a world traveler allows Lugones to gain self-knowledge, which in turn helps her understand her mother and has moral consequences for their relationship.

Understanding “Worlds” and “World Travelers”

According to Lugones, “worlds” refer to the various social spaces or contexts that we inhabit. These worlds are not fixed or predetermined but are constructed through our interactions and engagement with others. Each world has its own set of norms, values, and expectations, shaping how we perceive ourselves and others within that particular context.

A “world traveler” is someone who willingly and playfully enters different worlds. This act of traversing between worlds allows individuals to recognize that identities are not fixed or essential but are instead constructed and performed within specific social spaces. By engaging in world traveling, we have the opportunity to explore different aspects of our identities and challenge societal expectations.

An example of this perspective can be seen in Lugones’ own experience. She recounts how she grew up as a Latina woman in a predominantly white neighborhood. When she entered college, she encountered a new world that celebrated and valued her Latina identity. Through this newfound space, she realized that her identity was not solely defined by the dominant culture but could be shaped by her own choices in entering different worlds.

Not everyone is a world traveler by their own choosing. Some individuals may be confined to specific worlds due to societal structures such as racism, sexism, or economic inequality. The moral and political significance of Lugones’ position lies in her recognition that these limitations on world traveling deny individuals the freedom to explore and construct their identities fully. By acknowledging the importance of world traveling, Lugones advocates for greater inclusivity and freedom for all individuals to navigate between worlds.

Self-Knowledge through World Traveling

Lugones argues that embracing the role of a world traveler enables her to gain a special form of self-knowledge. By actively engaging with different worlds, she realizes that her identity is not fixed but malleable, shaped by her interactions and choices within each context. This self-knowledge allows her to understand “who I am” in a nuanced and multifaceted manner.

Through this self-knowledge, Lugones is also able to gain other-knowledge about her mother. By recognizing herself as a world traveler who can construct her own identity, she comes to understand that her mother’s identity is not solely defined by societal expectations imposed upon her. Lugones realizes that her mother has also navigated different worlds throughout her life, making choices that have shaped her identity beyond what society may perceive.

This understanding has moral consequences for their relationship. Lugones recognizes that her mother’s choices were not simply based on personal preference but were influenced by societal forces that limited her options. This knowledge fosters empathy and compassion, allowing Lugones to appreciate the complexities of her mother’s experiences and the moral agency she exercised within her own world traveling. It strengthens their bond and promotes a deeper understanding between them.

In conclusion, Lugones’ concept of worlds and world traveling provides insights into the construction of identities and the liberating potential of embracing different social contexts. By recognizing our role as world travelers, we can gain a nuanced understanding of ourselves and others. Lugones’ perspective highlights the moral and political significance of allowing individuals the freedom to navigate between worlds, promoting inclusivity and empowering individuals to construct their identities authentically.



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