October’s session on white feminism in the academy was powerful and necessary. I’m so appreciative of the work the Britt Munro and Houda Ali were willing to share with us; it opened a useful and nuanced conversation that touched on a range of complicated viewpoints, identities, and experiences. As they write:
By thinking through our different relationships to these tensions we hope to reach a better understanding of the role of whiteness in mainstream liberal feminism, and of the ways in which race and class frame the concept of feminist ‘choice’ in the West. We do so in the hopes of contributing to a feminist ethic that does not depend on the erasure of non-liberal lifeworlds, one that is adamantly anti-capitalist and that embodies the praxis of deep listening and care that we seek to practice in relation with one other. (Ali & Munro, “Beyond Choice”)
Many, many thanks to everyone who joined the discussion. I admire and am inspired by all of you who work daily to loosen the tightly bound logics of capitalism, individualism, and white supremacy that are so pervasive in academia, even/especially in spaces that claim feminist values. We talked about complex interdependence, about negative and positive liberty, about the impacts of language’s limitations. It’s a topic I hope we continue to delve into throughout future discussions, too.
There are some good things on the horizon that will affect the rhythms of these discussions. Rather than host a regular reading group in November, Inkcap folks will be leading a session at the American Studies Association conference on November 6, called Collective Reflection on Critical Hope and Structural Change. If you’ll be in New Orleans for the conference, please come! If not, we’re preparing ways to participate virtually. (In fact, three of our session participants will be remote as well, so they’ll be leading a virtual, interconnected, synchronous mode of engagement. Stay tuned for more details.) We’ll be digging into some of the texts we’ve discussed together in past sessions (Loveless, McKittrick, Tsing) and I’m so interested to see what emerges in a different context.
I’m also delighted to share that a weird little manuscript that I’ve been working on in bits and pieces (since… I don’t know, 2011?) has been accepted for publication by Punctum Books. The book is called The Presence of Absence: Meditations on the Unsayable in Writing, and it’s about writers navigating unspeakability through image, sound, and structure. I could not be more excited about this, and I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has been a part of Inkcap over the last year, as our discussions have definitely shaped my thinking. This book is a key antecedent to another project I’ve been working on related to mycorenewal and higher education, so it feels really great that I’ll be able to share it in the world. (And because Punctum is amazing, it’ll be open access.)
So! Lots happening. I’ve also got talks coming up in Atlanta, GA and Merced, CA. If you’re in one of those cities, or if you’ll be in New Orleans for the conference, please reach out. After years in zoom rooms, I’m excited to connect with people in person.