Pathology: A Diffractive Encounter of Machine/Body

Jessica Smartt Gullion


I’ve been thinking about poems and about college as rhizomes (Deleuze and Guattari 1987), and as diffractive techniques (Barad 2007; Gullion 2018) for thinking about the social world. This project emerged as a way for me to understand my embodied experience of abdominal surgery. I began with the creation of an art journal, and then wrote a poem to accompany the images. I created the images and the text while thinking about my experience of undergoing surgery and diffracting that through Haraway’s (2016) ideas about cybernetics and machine bodies.


diffraction; poetic inquiry; art journaling; rhizomes; surgery; endometriosis

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Barad, Karen. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Barad, Karen. 2014. “Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together-Apart.” Parallax 20(3):168-187.

Delueze, Giles and Felix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by B. Massumi. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Gullion, Jessica Smartt. 2018. Diffractive Ethnography: Social Sciences and the Ontological Turn. London: Routledge.

Gullion, Jessica Smartt and Ariel Cooksey. 2103. “Social Representations of Motherhood through the Practice of Art Journaling.” Pp 119-132 in Mothering and Literacies, edited by A. B. Richey and L. Shuford Evans. Bradford, ON: Demeter Press.

Haraway, Donna J. 2016. Manifestly Haraway. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.



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