Remapping and Renaming: New Cartographies of Identity, Gender and Landscape in Ireland Author(s): Catherine Nash Source: Feminist

Review, No. 44, Nationalisms and National Identities (Summer, 1993), pp. 3957 Published by: Palgrave Macmillan Journals Stable URL: Accessed: 10/02/2009 06:02
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REMAPPINGAND RENAMING: New Cartographies of Identity, Gender and Landscape in Ireland
Catherine Nash

In discussing Mahasweta Devi's story 'Douloti the Bountiful', Gayatri ChakravortySpivak describes the story's ending. Douloti, the daughter of an Indian tribal bonded worker, is sold into bonded prostitution in order to repay her father's loan. Devastated by venereal disease, she dies walking to hospital, having lain down on the comfort of the bare earth where the local schoolmaster had drawn the map of India in order to teach his students nationalism in preparation for Independence Day. The next morning the schoolmaster and his students find Douloti on the map (Spivak, 1992a). This tension between the assertion of national identity in the postcolonial nation and the presence of the female subaltern, can be paraphrased as a problematic relationship between the map and the body. The map in Devi's story stands as a symbol of the national territory, the geographic outline both constituting and symbolizing the 'imagined community'of the nation (Anderson, 1983). In considering contemporaryIrish culture, I am concernednot only to consider the issue of identity in relation to both feminism and postcolonialism, but to raise the issue of'place' and its intersection with identity. The issue of place operates at the abstract level of the nation. It also concerns the visual relationship to place associated with the concept of'landscape' (Rose, 1992), and the sensual, lived experience of the local environment. In contemporary critical writing, spatial metaphors - the terms position, place, site, space, ground, field, territory, terrain, margin, periphery and map - recur (Diprose and Ferrell, 1991; Tagg, 1992). The metaphor of mapping functions at a number of levels. It stands most commonly for a positioning on a theoretical and ideological plane. It also describes a location within geographical space. In the relationship between the Western and Third Worlds, this is not
Feminist Review No 44, Summer 1993

language. The contemporaryuse of the map and place name prompts a consideration of the commonlyaccepted links between gender. I chose the terms remapping and renaming for the title of this article. ironic and sometimes humorous approach to traditional Irish landscape art. these were transposed and translated into new forms within Irish nationalist discourse (Smyth. 1992. this article raises the possibility of a feminist and postcolonial identification with place which avoids the biologism and essentialism of the idea of a natural. In my discussion in this article of the relationship between identity.rather. 1991). Geography and gender Issues of geography and gender arise in the work of Kathy Prendergast. 1990. 1992. and the ways in which they are tied to issues of gender in the negotiation of ideas of Irish identity. In using the map motif. childlike and racial closeness to nature in the latter. The colonial mapping of Ireland in the nineteenth century. I retain the reference to geographic space by my use of a mapping metaphor. firstly to draw attention to issues of landscape and language. they are presented without inverted commas. gender and identity are being treated as culturally and historically formulated constructs throughout this article. Both the act of naming and mapping assert the power of representation. 1987) Through a discussion of issues arising in the work of Kathy Prendergast. the concurrentAnglicization of Irish place names. to highlight the way in which forms of cultural expression which deal with national identity in this postcolonial context. landscape and identity. and conventional cartographic media. A final introductory point to make is that since notions of race. in textual. and secondly.40 Feminist Review unconnected to theoretical position. (Butler. one of the younger generation of Irish artists who have adopted a critical. between the political control of landscape and territory and the controlof female sexuality. not to distinguish between the 'real' and 'imagined' space of the nation. Prendergast . Weedon. do so in relation to the early construction of Irishness in response to the colonial experience. This metaphor is mobilized. organic and intuitive closeness to nature in the former and a native. Smith. visual and multidimensional artistic. but to make clear that it refers to more than purely theoretical positioning. and the decline of the Irish language providethe historical backgroundfor the expression of themes of cultural loss and recovery in contemporaryIrish culture. yet the shift from colony to independence did not entail the redundancy of discourses of male power. the body and the map through the work of the Irish artist Kathy Prendergast. her work raises connexions between landscape and the female body. Epstein and Straub. gender. It can be taken to conceptualize diverse ways of representing space. Attempts to rename and remap claim this power to recover an authentic identity and relationship to place.

Issues of gender and national identity intersect in multiple ways. The familiarity of the connexion between colonial control of other lands and the control of female sexuality and the use of gender in the discourse of discovery and territorial expansion. She uses a device of creative interplay between words and image. in the concern with issues of race. engineers. as in other work by Kathy Prendergast. references to other artistic conventions are employed.Oasis' (Figure 3) and 'To Alter a Landscape'(Figure 4). In their dissection of the female body they evoke anatomical drawings of female organs which functioned in the medicomoral politics of the late nineteenth century. navigators. place. manipulation and alteration are in process on and within the passive land/body.1975. make the violence of the subject matter more powerful. The images draw us in as explorers. 1988). In a series of drawings of 1983. geological and medical. in the gendering of the concept of the nation. Montrose. Kathy Prendergast draws on traditions of representation of women in orderto deconstruct their supposed neutrality.Irrigation' (Figure 2). It is her ironic position as a female artist in relation to these traditions that gives Prendergast's reinscriptions their counterstrategic power. only to disrupt the process of reasoning and understanding in their ambiguity. in search of fullness. The work can. 'the un-naming power of ambiguity'(Prentice. operations of control. be discussed as an instance where the tension between this 'personal geography' of the body and the space of the national landscape is manifest. their reference to yellowed historical maps and navigational charts.surveying or civil-engineering diagrams and plans is used in 'To Control a Landscape . of detailed cross-sections and plans of a female body (Douglas Hyde Gallery. in the idea of the national landscape as feminine. the drawings are complex multilayered texts which do not provide a sealed and completed set of meanings to be consumed but engage the viewer in the making of meanings. 1990). however.The style of geomorphological. The quietness of the images in their carefully drawn style. rural life and landscape in the construction of Irishness and the subordination of Irish women (Cairns and Richards. is displaced by the powerful subtlety of these images (Kolodny. and the national population and the delimiting of gender roles in the . 1991). The artist's use of the idea of land and landscape and its relationship to control of the feminine is understandable in the historical context of colonial efforts to control 'an essentially feminine race' and post-independence attempts to employ notions of femininity. In 'EnclosedWorldsin Open Spaces' (Figure 1) the drawing of a truncated female body evokes cartographicconventions of grid lines.Remapping and Renaming 41 rejects the interpretation of her images as feminist statements and describes the work as a representation of a 'personal geography' (Hanrahan. 'To Control a Landscape . In using several registers of representation such as the cartographic. 1986: 70). compass point and ships on the sea surrounding the body/land. accepted scales are confused. In the drawings. 1991:6). These conventions are conflatedwith the styles of anatomical and gynaecological diagrams. wholeness and simplicity of meaning.

. -?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~i i?: ... .Enclosed Worldsin OpenSpaces . 42 Feminist Review Kathy Prendergast. ..:. ...: To Kathy PrendEergarst..!i.gat '. .. :.....:''::.".. ::<"?'....... ...-.... ... tf~ ..i..:L. ~ ~...::..-?. * .:::::'....'i': : ~ . Kathy Toi~ Prendergast. " -......::.:::.."-...:-:::. ? -:......trol::aLadsap ?::~i:. Con... Ir. Controla LanLdscape Irrigation ~~~~~~~~~: ..:.~ **: . ... : ::?' ' .. .. ' .....f. .. .. ..?~ '" <' ": -: :?:..i.~.. i..:: ?..iii.. .

:: ?? . ...*8?' :/r -" :''' iT*L: Ir"' . "Xh " .:.?I ? I??...O:a" .t .r .:?'. * ? :::.. .l:..'. '' KathyPrendergast. .... ':i~i:.. .. .*???. ....?.:" :::8:? ?* -? .'"'. ?.Remapping and Renaming 43 'i'**'..?. ToAlter a Landscape .':'::':.. . Kaithy To Control Oasis.es5 .. .:: ??????.? ?igh'U....s. . Prendergast..c: ...i. :::a.::.:??.?......I?? ?. ?????? S iy...?l.:.:i!::.. .'. To " : .'?-'..I ??? ??:??:?" PdC """:'." swiSi'.i .iib**":' '.' ..lrrssF. a Landscape I' s: ? t ??:.*. .

femininity. 1990. eugenics. 1989). literature and painting. were one set of several versions of femininity being contested at the time. 1993). Murphy. spiritualism and rural regeneration. of European discourses concerning racial degeneration. Images of the peasant women of the West in travel writing and photography. sexuality and landscape which were being used in attempts to secure cultural identity and political freedom. whose physical landscape provided the greatest contrast to the landscape of . This threat to the male monopolyof political powerby politically active women intensified the drive to fix the role. the aisling. The Irish suffrage movement was at this time posing questions about the role of women in political life and within the independent state. their erosion from Irish history and contemporarysilencing (Boland. most significantly in the imagery of the West of Ireland (Nash. and the particular context of Irish nationalist attempts to revitalize and revivify the nation. 1989). centred on the image of the West of Ireland as an Irish cultural region. The image of the West stands at the centre of a web of discourses of racial and cultural identity. nation and landscape in early twentieth-century Ireland In the construction of the image of the West of Ireland in the first decades of the twentieth century. the future ideal form of Irish society. through femininity. It also relates to the colonial feminization of Ireland and the Irish which was adopted. Owens. 1991b: 3). Cairns and Richards 1987. following colonial censorship of the expression of direct political dissent (O'BrienJohnson and Cairns. position and the very nature of womanhood. and within the broader context of the anti-modernism and romantic primitivism of the period. The construction of the West must be seen both in the context of Irish history and culture. 1985) endorses and strengthens the signifying use of women in Ireland. landscape and nation are manifest. adapted and contested within nationalist discourse (Butler Cullingford. as were the women's military nationalist organizations (Ward. These issues overlapped with concerns of cultural purity and preservation. many of these intersections of gender.44 Feminist Review idealization and representation of rural life. the personification of this goddess in the figures of Irish medieval literature and the allegorization of Ireland as woman in the eighteenth-century classical poetic genre. 1983. as part of a set of discourses which participated in the negotiation and inscription of ideas of femininity and. The symbolism of Ireland as female derives from the sovereignty goddess figure of early Irish tradition. evolution and environmentalism. Traditional landscape representations in Ireland are imbued with conceptions of both national and gender identity. against which male poets assert both personal and national identity (Riordan. 1988). 'Women of the West': gender. These discourses intersected with the idea of national identity and gravitated around notions of place and landscape. The continued use of the notion of Ireland as female. 1984.

as a result of nationalist anti-urbanism and anti-imperialism. this primitivizing continued in nationalist accounts of the West. class and geography (Parker etal.Remapping and Renaming 45 Englishness (Nash. concern about the body. which had as a strong element the supposed unsuppressed instinctiveness. 1992: 10). positive evaluation of the Irish West as a source of cohesion. both art history and anthropology contributed to the production of primitivism as a discriminatory discourse which posits the 'other'as both an object for the artist's gaze and for analytic scrutiny (Hiller. and to the rejection of modern .Yet. The visual iconography of the West as an archetypal Irish landscape was largely based on the paintings of Paul Henry. In that movement. and against England as urban. stability and authenticity in a move to the Celtic fringes. to the belief in the national love of colour evident from ancient costume. The emphasis on dress in the description of the people of the West correspondsto the importance of dress as a marker of national identity. In the shift from emphasis on Celtic to Gaelic. 1993). constructed from elements of race. whose work was part of a tradition of European early modernist cultural primitivism which sought spirituality. Henry's work was also indebted to the Anglo-Irish search for a sense of community and natural spirituality in the West. the women in Henry's painting became part of the visual iconography of the West and acted as emblems of an idea of femininity based on a supposedly natural identification with nature and the landscape (see Figure 5). Its importance was testified to in the concern over national costume in the Gaelic revival movement. the feminine was rejected as epitomizing the national character. had to be reconciled with the use of women by cultural nationalists as signifiers of moral purity and sexual innocence. sexual and cultural purity and the social and moral organization of a future independent Ireland. ideas of anti-urbanism. This primitivization of the West and of women. health and physique. In line with both traditions. 1991). Instead. nationalism. the codes of representation of both the peasant woman and the West as landscapes of desire were re-employedin nationalist writing. colonial power. The idea of the primitive was appropriated but positively evaluated against the urban. While convergences can be noted between the colonial appropriation of the landscape of the colony and the production of the subject woman. The discourses which primitivized women and the colony were fused in the representation of the female colonial subject. were projected on to the woman's body. simplicity. the primitive was ultimately considered lower in a hierarchy of civilization. instinctiveness and an organic relationship between lifestyle and environment. As constructions of the imperial centre. On to the body of the peasant woman were focused concerns over racial. industrial. sexuality and unselfconscious sensuality of the primitive. which amounted to a 'national dress debate' in the 1910s. industrial and debased.. While primitivism afforded a limited. an emphasis on the red skirts of women was tied to the symbolism of the colour as an indication of vitality.

f '? ..tiBls.ieLj": ? ` . _.r rr * ?\?? ? . i : .r."?r'" . i.? ::?".????l ?.?? ii?:?ii:'i?:uC""''''Zii:l:iiiiifiiBiiiiii$ljiiii:l'?i:'?c iiiii. .?::' ? ?. :d : : :::iii*i."? 'C 'I ..rl jlL132ri:?9 ?. Y*."'C' . '% ? :'F:'' ?:?."?:'':!. .:::*.. The Potato Diggers 1912 .88ai.i'??? ??11?i.' :::cWT 'L J.?x r.??r:t? ?1. .? '::lfLlil:?:':' :': ...*'* *? . ?' bF .?Jp: 5? giL * :?. st ._4 .i'.i::.46 Feminist Review ?r-?. ..*Q? .C : ire 11 ?:???:r::ai?.iic:::iP ? ILi :?P '' --.ri ?L :? 9il ?. Paul Henry.

The cottage in the landscape came to carry the cultural weight of the idealization of traditional rural. the depiction of the peasant woman was replaced by the portrayal of Western men. folklore. family life and its fixed morality and gender roles. the counterpart of the Gaelic male had to be the desexualized mother figure. Women's function was to reproduce the bodies of the 'body politic'. This moral code supportedthe economicand social system of family farming. the image of the young woman was usually absent. anti-urbanism and the moral economy of the body. While the idea of 'woman' remained the embodiment of the national spirit and the allegorical figure for the land of Ireland. In later painting and travel photography. represented as masculine (Gatens. It became a surrogate for the depiction of the rural Irish woman and the values of motherhood. which denied women an autonomous sexuality in their idealization of asexual motherhood. by contrast. The young woman was replaced by the depiction of the old peasant women who could represent the successful outcome of a life lived in accordancewith the demands of motherhood. wholesome. in reaction to the nineteenth-century construction of the Celtic as feminine. The concern over dress can be understood in the context of the cultural and biological role which was afforded to women within Irish Nationalism. Alternatively. language and way of life extolled in the state. The . The discourses which confinedwomen within the domestic sphere simultaneously conferredon them the responsibility of maintaining the national population. 1988). The homosocial bonding of Irish nationalism depended upon the exclusion of women from the body politic. which demanded the regulation of sexuality for the control of inheritance (Cairns and Richards. Thus nationalist writers of the Irish Ireland movement. asserted masculinity as the essential characteristic of the 'Gael'. The cottage as 'cradleof the race'evoked the idea of women as preservers of the race. This denial of the female was also linked to the control of sexuality by Catholicism. reflecting both the demographic structure of Irish rural society in the context of large-scale rural depopulation and also the problematic nature of representation of young women. this land now became the domain of the overtly masculine.Remapping and Renaming 47 fashion. 1991). which was considered to restrict the female biological functions. In the context of the construction of femininity by cultural nationalists and later.tradition and stability (see Figure 6). and the sexual politics of representation. while its conception of the landscape as female facilitated a masculinist relationship to place. active only as nurturers and reproducers of the masculine Gael. pragmatic and Catholic in contrast to the femininity and natural spirituality of the Celtic. The celebration of the women of the West intersects with issues of concern with degeneration. With the perceived threat of an autonomous female sexuality to this social order. as well as being emblematic of the traditions. The West was redefined as Gaelic. masculine. who epitomized the Gaelic masculine ideal. Church and State. the visual representation of the idealized country woman rested uneasily with the history of eroticized images of women in Western art.

48 Feminist Review NIVIHaI0 -44?: . qr l 0 1t .' ii?X i. . 'T7Wl% rOkT . k ?Li.

disciplined. for which women were considered to have paramount responsibility in their capacity as childcarers. The map can be read as a manifestation of a desire for controlwhich operates effectively in the implementation of colonial policy. Concerns over the national population were closely linked to ideas of landscape. both in the physical fabric of the landscape and in the moral and spiritual domain. 1912:67-8). 1991.provide an analogue for the acquisition. and the dull to help in the deterioration of the race and to breed sons as sluggish as themselves' (Russell. feminism and landscape Contemporarylandscape imagery is forced to confront both its historical use in the colonial and early nationalist contexts. Stepan. The strategies used in the productionof the map . management and reinforcement of colonial power. Both the colonial mapping of subject lands and the representation of women in patriarchy are forms of representation which seek to reinforce the stability of the controlling viewpoint and negate or suppress alternative views. 1988.the reinscription.the nation and the national population.Remapping and Renaming 49 conflation of body and nation in Irish national discourse (which found more explicit expression in the contemporaneous British eugenics movement) provided a vehicle for the systematic expression of concern over this 'body politics' . Harley. 1992. 1989. appropriated and controlled (Huggen. tradition and folklore. Postcolonialism. cultural bearers and vigorous genetic stock from the West of Ireland. The cottage was also considered as the basic unit of a distinctive Irish settlement pattern and therefore symbolicof Irish social organization in opposition to English culture. 1989). 1985). Both ideas of racial pride and racial fears were thus projectedon to the body of the woman. of the ideal form of Irish society. Thus the isolated rural cottage represented the realization. The mapping of the Irish landscape did not merely . This of course echoes the role accorded to women within other nationalist movements (Yuval-Davis and Anthias. enclosure and hierarchization of space . In the cataloguing process the world is normalized. the stupid. The idea of an organic link between environment and people was utilized in discourses which employed scientific conceptions of current climatology and anthrogeography to discourage emigration (Livingstone. Concern over emigration fused issues of gender and race. The cottage as an 'Irish citadel' stood for a preservation and reproductionof Irish language. Representation of landscape in early twentieth-century Ireland was coded with meaning in terms of both national and gender identity. and the issues of race and gender implicit in such use. Its depiction in Irish landscape painting participated in the construction of Irish identity and the gender identities upon which it relied. Fears of loss of population were made more urgent by the associated loss of Irish-language speakers. 1992). as it was felt that loss of those who 'would have made the best mothers and wives' leaves 'at home the timid.

1991: 5). 1986. 1989). The map. which indicate both the plurality of possible perspectives on. 1989a. Bondi and Domosh. The poststructuralist rejection of the humanist conception of a universal subject and a stable core of identity undermines the liberatory and consolidatoryaims of both. In the same way. in other words. 1989b). 'a discourse which includes in an un-ironic and un-parodicway terms such as "identity". 1988. To problematize identity allows for a cultural use of ideas of landscape which can reject its use within colonialist discourse to stereotype the native as biologically linked to the natural landscape.. but is also important symbolically in the postcolonial context when identification with landscape and place is one of the prime sources of cultural identity. 1992). does not disallow the critical use of the concept of identity. Warren. Feminism and postcolonialism share a problematic relationship to postmodernism. with its appropriation of the critical insights of both and the erasure of their source and political efficacy (Tiffin. Ashcroftet al. Both postcolonialism and feminism are engaged in the conflict between a politics of identity and a politics of difference (Best and Kellner. Similarly. 1991). and the inadequacy of any single model of the world (Huggen. a feminist use of ideas of landscape and place must confront the dangers of essentialism within ecofeminism (Plumwood. 1991. which relies on a controlling viewpoint whose stability cannot be guaranteed. 1989).50 Feminist Review function to ease administration but fixed the 'other'and neutralized the threat of difference by the apparent stability of the map's coherence (Andrews. Hammer. becomes a means to overcome the sense of displacement and crisis of identity (Gray. the conception of identity within poststructuralist theory offers a way to consider feminist and postcolonial relationships to place which avoids the essentializing of masculinist and colonialist discourse. Merchant. the representation of women fixes their bodies as landscapes of control and signifying use. King. 1990. the development or recovery of an effective relationship to place. and within a realist problematic. as Annamaria Carusi writes. 1991: 100) Thus the dual agenda of postcolonial texts becomes 'to continue the resistance to (Neo) colonialism through a deconstructive reading of its rhetoric and to retrieve and reinscribe those postcolonial social traditions that in literature issue forth on a thematic level. 1987b. 1990) and accounts which view women's relationship to landscape in terms of innate biological and . is revealed as covering over alternative spatial configurations. however fraught with difficulty. 1975. Yet. The association between national identity and landscape is thus manifest in the postcolonial literal and symbolic reappropriation of principles of cultural identity and survival' (Selmon. Adam and Tiffin. after dislocation or cultural denigration by the supposedly superior cultural and racial colonial power. In postcolonial literature. Yet. 1987. Poststructuralism. The issue of land and land ownership is central to the colonial situation."consciousness" and "origin" appears both regressive and reactionary from a poststructuralist point of view' (Carusi.

This naming is linked to ideas of language loss. Their reinscription on the country's maps and their use as cultural metaphors combinetwo elements which are central to national identity: language and place. of the question of attitudes to place. is an 'encounter between . in Ireland expressed in a language no longer in majority use. In much contemporary Irish poetry ideas of landscape are employed. Heaney adds a gendered view of language as symbolic also of difference. a history of population loss and emigration.The association of language and relationship to place depends upon the notion of a language as inherently appropriate for describing a particular landscape. the evocative power of the place name provides a key to the shared social memory of a landscape whose collective meanings were part of a unifying repository of community knowledge. this use becomes problematic when linked to gendered ideas of landscape. However. Rudnick. but which have been lost through loss of the language. In postcolonial Ireland. Poetic composition. and of colonial Anglicization of names of places in the nineteenth-century mapping project. For the writer. The recognition of the constructed nature of identity allows landscape to be used as a source of identification without implying a fixed. 1987b. Detailed place name research in Ireland is coloured by this sense of loss and recovery. 1989). its use is problematic if it fails to address the issue of gender. natural and inherent identity. Yet the use of the Irish place name in poetry thus enables cultural difference to be inserted into the text (Ashcroftet al. 1992). landscape and identity.Remapping and Renaming 51 psychological structures (Norwood and Monk. This decline of language is linked in turn to the loss of a distinctive lifestyle and a relationship to place considered to be more intimate and authentic than the present. in which dualities of gender are fused to conceptions of politics. Renaming. as in the work of Seamus Heaney. gender and the postcolonial landscape However important the use of landscape is in the postcolonial context. of history and of authenticity. and on the idea that words carry essential cultural essences. place and language. Places are named. This contemporary use of the place name and the map prompts a consideration of the commonly accepted links between language.. in which the place name carries the burden of a history of colonial loss of the Irish language. for Heaney. and deal with masculinist use of ideas of landscape (Rose. and of the possibility of recovery of meaning. The attempt to recover the meaning and original formof a place name is often linked to a search for a recoveryof a lost relationship to place. there has been much empirical research into place names. The place name in Ireland carries cultural connotations which are being employed in a postcolonial exploration of identity. 1987). To a gendered consideration of the relationship between Ireland and England.

1980b: 27). The planter's demesnes are 'staked out in consonants' (Heaney. vowel meadow'(Heaney. Curtis. activity and independence (Coughlan. and to an Anglo-Saxon. but as a play between alternative simulacra which problematize the easy distinction between objectand subject (Huggen. This gender polarity is extended to a consideration of the way in which a place can be known. Though closeness to nature is positively evaluated. It consisted of a canvas tent upon which the colours. 1989). illiterate and unconscious. and the masculine 'drawn from the involvement with English literature' (Heaney. breathing its mists/through vowels and history' (Heaney. masculine consciousness (Heaney. 1980b: 21). It is against the construction of this landscape of the rural home as passive. the other learned. For Heaney.. the two ways. two-dimensional device was given volume and height. In 1991 Kathy Prendergast exhibited 'Land'(Figure 7. Heaney's use of the concept is problematic (Cameron.. 1991).52 Feminist Review masculine will and intelligence and feminine clusters of image and emotion'. 1980b: 22). 1980a: 34). . in distancing himself from it. literate and conscious' correspond respectively to a Gaelic feminine. Anahorish is a 'soft gradient/of consonant. Deterritorializing identity I have suggested above that the postcolonial and feminist commitment to concepts of identity and their securing through relationships to place risks reproducing the dualities of masculinist and colonial discourse. In this piece 'Land'has become the landscape itself which the map seeks to represent. can assert identity. This play between representation and its object undermines the idea of a simple equation between reality and representation. 1980a: 131). The map as a flat. 1991). The place names which differentiate the cultural locales of the North represent the different ways of knowing the place through the language and syntax of the name. The map in'Land'becomes a shifting ground. This final section considers the possibility of a poststructuralist use of ideas of place which allows for multiple perspectives without undermining the strategic use of any one position. it leaves the culture/nature duality intact. The map itself becomes the objectof its representation. organic and female that the poet. 1985). The Irish feminine language is soft. one 'lived. The relations between the 'natural'and the 'imitated' object are exposed as neither 'objective'representation nor even a 'subjective' reconstruction of the 'real' world. 'guttural' sensual and rich in vowel sounds. lines and conventions of topographical mapping had been painted. a spatial metaphor which frees conceptions of identity and landscape from a repressive fixity and solidity. While the idea of a female voice has important feminist uses. Heaney's poetry celebrates the feminine homeplace and mourns separation from it. In the name Moyola'the twaney guttural mater/spells itself . The authority of the map's representation is subverted. 'the feminine element' involving 'the matter of Ireland'.

Lana .Kathy Prendergast.

for it is capable of being self-marked. The landscape can be transversed. gazed upon. changeable and reworkable (Prentice. Galway. and always entails the possibility of counterstrategic reinscription. the body. The map. journeyed across. conceivedof as a work of art. 1987: 12). reversed. re-workedby an individual.D. a poststructuralist understanding of identity allows its reappropriation. susceptible to constant modification. However tainted the concept of landscape is by colonial and masculinist discourse. of multiple and diffuse 'names' and 'maps'. freed from the repressive fixity of identity. group or social formation. from map-breaking to map-making. In this cartography the map is conceived as a rhizomatic ('open') rather than as a homogeneous ('closed') construct. which allows the emphasis to shift from de. as for Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. on issues of landscape. Notes An earlier version of this article was given as a paper at the conference'Gender and Colonialism'. self-representated in alternative ways' (Grosz.It can be torn. entered into. Catherine Nash is currently completing a Ph. Similarly the body can be read as a text whose socially inscribed attributes function as part of a deployment of power. The recognition of the counterstrategic possibilities in the representation of the body and landscape which do not rely on fixed conceptions of identity allow the body/land relationship to be figured in multiple ways. constructed as a political action or as a meditation (Deleuze and Guattari. The land can symbolize the possibility of fluidity and openness. 1990: 64). . 1986). as well as being the site of knowledge-power is 'also a site of resistance. As Elizabeth Grosz reconstruction. is open and connectablein all its dimensions. gender and identity in Ireland in the twentieth century in the Departments of Geographyand Art History at the University of Nottingham. Postcolonial and feminist remapping and renaming do not replace one authoritative representation with another but with multiple names and multiple maps. Both concepts of space and the body are open to multiple configuration. May 1992. reversible. This use of the map allows for a culturally and historically located critique of colonial discourse and the possibility of alternative configurations of identity which are open. In 'Land' the landscape and ideas of identity take flight. burdened with the weight of its historical and cultural load. intimately known. adapted to any kind of mounting.University College.54 Feminist Review In much writing on Ireland the landscape is tied down with its cultural threads. it is detachable.It can be drawn on the wall. for it exerts a recalcitrance.

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