This article is an excerpt from FRI Director Kalindi Vora's closing remarks at the Feminist Futures Research Symposium on January 23, 2020.
What are feminist futures? Today we’ve seen feminist futures through a set speculative practices that hold many things, and look different depending on where you are situated – and position matters, as feminist scholarship has always argued. Today we heard scholars argue that feminist futures are anti-capitalist, anti-disposibility, anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-patriarchal. Instead they are deeply relational and radically interconnected. They require practices, taught to us bykeynote speaker Alisa Bierria today, that are part of abolitionist care -- an antidote to violence that demands that we commit to maintaining, repairing and attending to survivors of violence while we fight capitalism’s anti-relationality, and conjure life beyond the materiality enforced by racial capitalism.
How can we take the energy of speculative imaginaries into our daily lives – that was Clare Cannon’s question. Mercedes Villalba points us to abolitionist approaches to climate change, Maya Weeks calls us to decolonize our social imagination, Anuj Vaidya shows us how political action might look different if we can see from the perspective of an urban forest itself. Maya Cruz and Seon-Hye Moon both cautioned that techno-solutionism is usually a tool for capitalist expansion, and as Jennifer Mogannam argued, feminist liberatory futures must think beyond the inevitability of the state – with Alisa Bierria they lead us to ask how we can instead think with indigenous movement leaders, reproductive justice activists, anti-colonial educators, and prison abolitionists to magnify care work instead.
Finally, Kara Keeling’s keynote inspired us to use our intellectual labor to participate in the production of shared possibilities – of matter, of times and of worlds, and to orient ourselves as she says, “toward the world, an invitation and an incitement to collective action…to think together and interact as if we inhabit a more just world.”
On behalf of the Feminist Research Institute, I want to say that we are excited to be in community with you all and are looking forward to deepening our work together.