Monday, October 5, 2015

Talk: My Body Is a Prison of Pain so I Want to Leave It Like a Mystic But I Also Love It and Want it to Matter Politically

My Body Is a Prison of Pain so I Want to Leave It Like a Mystic But I Also Love It and Want it to Matter Politically

Johanna Hedva’s Sick Woman Theory proposes that sick bodies are the 21st century’s sites of resistance: chronic, pathologized, and historically feminized illnesses ought to be read as modes of protest against the unlivable conditions of neoliberal, imperialist, white-supremacist, capitalist cis-hetero-patriarchy. Sick Woman Theory insists that the definition of “wellness” is a capitalist one — to be well enough to go work — that needs to be rejected. SWT redefines the body with its vulnerability as the default, so therefore, we are constantly (not only sometimes) in need of care and support. Because society has eradicated such infrastructures, what are we gonna do now?

From here, Hedva (herself a spoonie) has wound up at mystical anarchism, which proposes a communal politics of love, where the “self” has been obliterated in favor of the Many. This talk will try to converge the feminist mystical tradition of Marguerite Porete, Simone Weil, etc., who proposed rejecting the body for the sake of love, with an intersectional-feminist, anti-white-supremacist, queer, and crip politics, which foregrounds the body as primary matter.

A question for the audience: Are these two positions irreconcilable? Please come ready to share and discuss. Light refreshments will be served.

Johanna Hedva is currently a Research Fellow with "at land’s edge," under the mentorship of Fred Moten.

Due to the overwhelming interest, Human Resources ( has graciously offered to let us host the event in their space in Chinatown. HR is wheelchair accessible through the side entrance. We will ask the event be scent-free and offer scent-free soap. ( Bathrooms at HR are upsatirs, but there are available ground-level restrooms in the restaurant next door.

We will provide as much seating as possible for this event, and definitely can for those who explicitely requested it. However, the interest is way beyond seating capacity, so some people may need to stand or sit on the floor.

Street parking is available nearby, and there is a bus stop on the block. The program is conversation-based and there will be no visuals. We are working to confirm further details, if you plan on attending and have any accessibility concerns, please don't hesitate to be in touch at

This conversation will be broadcast through Periscope for those who cannot attend. More information coming shortly.

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