I am Assistant Professor at Graduate Gender Programme at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University.
But it I am also many other things…
Breathable Futures Today
This blog springs from my desire to connect and think with people. It will slowly develop into a space of conversations; a space where I will interview scholars, activists, artists and different critically minded people about what kind of breathable futures they imagine and hope for in a context of the current pandemic.
I thought of this blog because a counter-hegemonic, critical, feminist, queer politics of breathing are at the core of my research and my personal struggles for a breathable life.
But it was the article of Arundhati Roy “The Pandemic is a Portal” that pushed me towards starting this project. Roy argues:
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next one.”
But as Roy – and many other scholars, activists and artists – points out, our existence in the “normal” world has not been equal. In the current grappling with the unsettling COVID-19 reality we should, therefore, not strive to come back to the “normal” that has been suffocating and deadly for so many. And we should be very cautious also not to carry the hegemonic patterns of inequality, stigmatization, othering, and hierarchizing into the next world we/you/I would like to strive for.
Of course, trying to imagine world otherwise is not a new thing pertinent specifically to the current COVID-19 situation. But in the interviews, I want to discuss what would it mean to indeed think of the current situation as a portal? What would it mean, and what would it take, not to come back to the “normal?” And what kind of “next world” the interviewees would like to walk into?