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Slow Care and Nonconsenual Nationalism

Authors: Lorraine Dowler*, Penn State University
Topics: Gender, Political Geography
Keywords: Care, Gender, Geopolitics
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Audre Lord’s assertion “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” points to the radical nature of care in the face of political uncertainty. Lorde’s notions of self-care are continued by race, queer, feminist scholars and activists as a way of preserving the body, both individual and collective, in a world that is hostile to their identity, their community, and their way of life. Yet, the understanding of self-care as a radical method of survival for communities vulnerable to the privileging of the state, whiteness or hetero-normative masculinity has been stripped of its political value in favor of a neoliberal “self-help” focus on individual self-soothing. There are countless websites that numerically order how to self-care in the age of Trump, from making use of intentional breathing to putting one’s bare feet in the earth while practicing yoga, and even hugging a tree, to help individuals get through their day. To be clear it is important to take care of one’s mind and body, however, what was an invitation for collective survival has morphed into the privileging of the individual void of any context of activism. This research examines the notion of “slow care” as a form of radical collective self-care: a practice where individual acts of self-care are necessary to protect the longevity of an intergenerational pursuit of freedom.

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