The “Collaborative Feminist Scholarships and Activisms Roundtable” brought together five publicly engaged humanists and artists across the ability, gender, and sexual orientation spectrum together in conversation with a similarly diverse group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at U-M*. Katherine Gibson, Nadine Naber, Amber DiPietra, Petra Kuppers, and Amy Sara Caroll shared their strategies and experiences of doing collaborative work in distinct geographical contexts, connected to, but not limited within, academia.
As someone whose queer identity pervades his life and practices as a student, teacher, and advocate, I couldn’t help but feel inspired in the company of such brilliant and caring individuals. Perhaps, that explains why I raised the following question in the end: In light of emotional and intellectual demands of collaborative activist work, how do you practice self-care? The panelists’ responses were varied. Katherine Gibson, for example, conducts walking meetings with her students and staff. Nadine Naber makes all-natural, therapeutic body products for personal use, as well as for friends and colleagues. Amber DiPietra advocates for intimacy with oneself, for allowing the body to produce new knowledge in a quiet, “unlanguaged” place. Petra Kuppers thrives within interdependency: to see and recognize each other within partnerships, to let this mutual love, trust, and familiarity strengthen oneself and one’s work. And, Amy Sara Caroll relies on writing, in particular, Haiku.
I felt extremely drawn to Nadine Naber’s end comment in which she went beyond individualized notions of self-care, and similar to Petra Kuppers, suggested on getting to a calm place by nurturing a sense of belonging in and with a collective. With that in mind, I asked the same question to my #PAGE friends. Here are their additions.
*The roundtable was jointly sponsored by: U-M Arab and Muslim American Studies and the Border Collective Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop.