Somehow the entire month of April has come and gone, and the first flush of spring blossoms has already faded to summer green. For me it has been a month of intensity and reflection. And as I open my eyes to May, as I take in the warmer air, I realize I have been holding my breath. I welcome the ease and delight of being outdoors, noisier birdsong, longer days (even as I rage about the Supreme Court 😭).
Our most recent session with Matt Brim was a remarkable conversation about identity, material conditions of learning, and boundary-crossing. We talked about the many valences of ‘public,’ of who that term refers to when talking about the public good, or public scholarship, or a public university. We talked about the space of the classroom, about what students bring when they walk in, about student identities as workers and caregivers and children, about familial acceptance or rejection of queerness, and how all those things change the way a student might read a text or approach a discussion.
We also talked about assumptions in higher ed—for instance that graduating in x number of years is desirable, that a slower pace indicates shakier progress—and considered how to queer those metrics, taking into consideration the variables that might lead to other goals, such as remaining a student for as long as possible. It was so powerful to talk with each other and with Matt about the ways that we see and feel these questions play out not only in Queer Studies but in many other fields and institutions.
In our next session, we again have the opportunity to talk directly with the authors of the pieces we’ll be reading. Join us on Tuesday, May 10 at 2pm EDT for a discussion with Carrie Smith and Natalie Loveless.
We will read two texts:
I cannot wait for this discussion. I love the dialogue as a form that calls attention to itself and its built-in relationality. The focus on what springs from the cracks, from the ruins, from fertile decay fits right in with my obsession with fungi; Loveless and Smith also add a dimension, inviting us to consider tempo alongside other ecological factors.
Accountability and care are also vitally present in How to Make Art at the End of the World, which (though written earlier) offers a kind of response to the speculative imaginings of “Attunement in the Cracks.” Here resistance is located partly in desire. I adore this sentence: “It was a craving of the heartmind: I simply fell in love with the kind of thinking, reading, and writing practices associated with the work” (3). How easy it can be to forget this yearning, this spark of desire. Loveless urges readers to consider how we might imagine otherwise, how we might loosen the hold of what-already-is in favor of what-might-someday-be.
Please register here to join us.
Thank you for being a part of this space, as readers and co-thinkers and colleagues and friends.