Cynthia Enloe: on being curious

 

The moment when one becomes newly curious about something is also a good time to think about what created one’s previous lack of curiosity. So many power structures-inside households, within institutions, in societies, in international affairs-are dependent on our continuing lack of curiosity. ‘Natural,’ ‘tradition,’ ‘always,’ each has served as a cultural pillar to prop up familial, community, national, and international power structures, imbuing them with legitimacy, with timelessness, with inevitability. Any power arrangement that is imagined to be legitimate, timeless, and inevitable is pretty well fortified. Thus we need to stop and scrutinize our lack of curiosity. We also need to be genuinely curious about others’ lack of curiosity-not for the sake of feeling self-satisfied, but for the sake of meaningfully engaging with those who take any power structure as unproblematic. –Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist (2004, 2-3).

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