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David Harvey: Production of Capitalist Spaces Abril 4, 2016

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, geografias, Uncategorized.
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(from Deterritorial Investigations Unit)

“It is David Harvey’s contention that the production of space, especially the distribution and organization of the territory, constitutes a principal aspect of capitalist economies. His writings on this theme have contributed to the ongoing political debate on globalization and on the different spatial strategies associated to global processes. A foundation of Harvey’s intellectual project is his “close reading” and interpretation of Karl Marx’s Capital, which he has taught and read for decades and documented in his Companion to Marx’s Capital (2010). But Harvey’s work is distinguished by the way he has brought Marxism together with geography with productive results for each discipline. For instance, he has approached the overaccumulation of capital by way of its reflection in spatial expansion in order to demonstrate its causative role. His book Limits to Capital (1982), which traces this argument, is a mainstay of the contemporary understanding of capitalism’s perennial economic crises (among others are Ernest Mandel’s Late Capitalism (1972), Giovanni Arrighi’s Long 20th Century (1994) and Robert Brenner’s Economics of Global Turbulence (2006)).Among other ideas, Harvey is known for his critical interpretation of the ideas of Henri Lefebvre and his own formulation of the “right to the city.” His book Spaces of Hope (2000) explores a role for architecture in bridging between the human body and the uneven development that is characteristic of globalization. Asked to single out a favorite of Harvey’s books, Dean Mohsen Mostafavi refers to Harvey’s book Social Justice and the City (1973) as “an important articulation of the relationship between the city as a physical artifact and its social consequences. His writings have provided an acute analysis of our society and provide an indispensable framework for new forms of spatial imagination.”

(cfp) International Colloquium in Geohumanities: “Closing Circles, Open Horizons” Março 8, 2016

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, geografias, literatura, livros.
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International Colloquium in Geohumanities

“Closing Circles, Open Horizons”

Barcelona, October 19th-22nd


We invite postgraduate researchers, academics, activists, artists, and practitioners from across disciplines to contribute to the International Colloquium in Geohumanities, a three-day conference organized by the Association of Spanish Geographers, and the Catalan Geographic Society. We accept contributions in English and Spanish.

We invite to present papers from any of the wide aspects that could include the geohumanities . As a matter of orientation we suggest here a series of general topics that could include all kind of interpretations and a great diversity of interdisciplinary approaches.
Art and Cartography: Different forms of representation of spaces and places, form the use of the cartography to the visual arts and the their interactions.

Geography, creativity, experimentation and innovation: Creativity and experimentation forms linked to the uses, interpretations and emotions of anything geographic.  Spatial elements of the new forms of information acquisition and the new geographies derived of the Big Data.

History, Memory; Geographical aspects of the interpretation of the past and the construction of collective and individual memories.

Gender, bodies and sexualities: Realities, implications and agencies of the subject in the construction of spaces from the gender and sexuality perspective.

Geography, Media, and Social Networks: New forms of representation, dissemination and communication of geographical knowledge and its space-time relations.

Landscape, architecture: Different ways of reading, and understanding, environments, and geographic and non-geographic spaces. Cultural and phenomenological approaches to the analysis of landscapes.

Nature, Environment and Humanities: Different approaches to analyse the relationship among individuals, societies, and the natural environment.


For further information please check de colloquium website or contact geohumanidades@upf.edu

(cfp) International Conference on Feminist Geographies and Intersectionality: Places, Identities and Knowledges Janeiro 17, 2016

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, geografias, geografias das sexualidades, geographies of sexualities, sexualidades e géneros, teoria e epistemologia da geografia, Uncategorized.
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1st Call for Papers

International Conference on Feminist Geographies and Intersectionality: Places, Identities and Knowledges 

Department of Geography Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

14-16 July 2016


Organised by:

Grup de Recerca de Geografia i Gènere

Departament de Geografia – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Sponsored by:

Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (AGAUR), Generalitat de Catalunya

Departament de Geografia (UAB)

With the support of:

Commission on Gender and Geography, International Geographical Union

Institut Interuniversitari d’Estudis de Dones i de Gènere


This International Conference is addressed to researchers working from feminist perspectives on gender as well as other identities that play a role in the experience of place: age, social class, ethnicity, sexuality, ability and others. Taking these power structures alone or in mutual constitution, we want to gather as many experiences as possible to account for the current dynamics of power relations and the role of places where they occur. Papers on diverse issues of everyday experiences in different contexts and spatial scales, in urban and rural areas, will be welcomed. All of them should illustrate the relationship between spaces and power structures in a global society that face relevant challenges from an economic, social, political and environmental sense. Theoretical, methodological or case studies papers are of interest.


The Conference seeks to build a stimulating forum to exchange ideas and forge new and fruitful international collaborations among researchers interested in gender geographies with an intersectional perspective.


The official language of the Conference will be English. Abstracts (in English, maximum 200 words) and keywords (in English, maximum 5) will be sent to 2016GenderBarcelona@gmail.com up to 11th March 2016.

Registration fee: 180 euro (90 euro students) (includes lunch and coffee break of 14 and 15 July). The acceptation of papers will be announced from 1 to 15 April 2016 and the Registration period will be open from 18th April to 31st May 2016.


(cfp) Places That Progress?: creating better lives for sexual and gender minorities Dezembro 22, 2015

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, geografias, geografias das sexualidades, geographies of sexualities, Uncategorized.
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Call for Participation (Uni of Brighton, UK):

Places That Progress?: creating better lives for sexual and gender minorities
Friday 18th March 2016, 11:00-17:00
Why should we consider geography when doing work on sex and sexualities? This unique one-day symposium aims to bring together activists, academics, charities and public and voluntary organisations, to explore geographies of sexualities and develop links within and across diverse sectors. This event aims to deepen understandings of sexualities to enable better provision for and engagement with marginalised groups, while also developing grounded and deeply involved research that is at the cutting edge of social science, critical theory, activism and public policymaking alike. We invite interested individuals or representatives of groups or organisations to take part by sharing their own ideas, or research or initiatives they have been involved in.

We now have decades of critical and sustained geographic research on sex and sexualities, culminating in the next year’s Ashgate Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities (Brown & Browne forthcoming). Key geographic interventions and explorations have included the multiple scales at which sexualities operate, from the ‘micro’ scale of the body to the ‘macro’ scale of global geopolitics; LGBTQ communities, villages and ‘ghettos’; sexuality-related imaginings of particular countries or cities; spaces of sex work; the ongoing heterosexualisation of everyday space; and global and transnational activisms for sexual minorities. However, links with research, policy and activism beyond the academy have remained relatively limited, and geography is not always considered relevant when addressing issues of sex and sexualities.

Mindful of this context, the symposium will bring together a diverse audience to share research, insights and experiences of sex and sexualities, highlighting the importance of geographical questions such as:

  • How does place matter when considering gender and sexual/LGBT equalities?
  • How are spaces of sexual liberation created, managed and used?
  • How are exclusions and marginalisations produced and organised spatially?
  • In what ways are place and space important in the regulation of sexual practices and identities?
  • In what ways are place and space important in the regulation and policing of sex work?

We encourage participants to present their research, work or ideas in whatever style feels best to them, including but not limited to presented papers, videos or short films, posters, workshops, discussion panels, activity sessions and so on. We are happy to discuss your presentation with you in advance.

If you would like to submit a proposal, please send a short abstract (around 200 words) to Suzanne Armsden (S.M.Armsden@brighton.ac.uk) by 31st January 2016.

Registration fee: £30 (waged) or £10 (unwaged/low wage/student/other concession). Travel bursaries and fee waivers are available.

This symposium is sponsored by the Society, Space and Environment Research Group at the University of Brighton and the Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Organising Committee: Prof. Kath Browne, Dr Jason Lim, Dr Nick McGlynn, Dr Joseli Maria Silva and Dr Joe Hall.

REVOLUCIÓN por PAUL B. PRECIADO Dezembro 18, 2015

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, activismo, queer theory, Uncategorized.
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Partilho, vindo de Parole de Queer, este texto demasiado bom para não ser partilhado. Partilho uma ideia de questionar e repensar a necessidade de transversalizar as opressões, os movimentos, as ideias, as políticas!


La palabra “pride”, orgullo, tenía sentido en un contexto en el que la homosexualidad y la transexualidad eran consideradas como enfermedades mentales y estaban en muchos casos criminalizadas. Las minorías sexuales llevamos muchos años luchando por la descriminalización, la despatologización y el reconocimiento de los derechos fundamentales. Desde 1969 hemos entrado en un proceso al mismo tiempo de normalización e integración. En simultáneo, han ido apareciendo otras exclusiones, de clase, de raza, de discapacidad que están presentes incluso en contextos en los que la homosexualidad se ha ido progresivamente normalizando y en parte ha habido en los últimos años una reafirmación de las convenciones heteronormativas.

Para mí una palabra que funcionaría hoy mucho mejor que “Orgullo” podría ser “Revolución”. Necesitamos un cambio de paradigma epistémico, el cuestionamiento del marco médico y jurídico en el que se asigna la diferencia sexual. Necesitamos una revolución de nuestros modos de amar, de entender la producción de placer, la filiación. Las minorías sexuales nos sentimos parte de un movimiento más amplio de transformación social, reclamamos un proceso de democratización política total, incluida la democracia sexual, pero sin olvidar la justicia racial, de clase o ecológica.

Uno de los problemas de las luchas actuales es que han quedado atrapadas en las lógicas de la identidad en la que cada movimiento (gay, lesbiano, trans, intersex, etc.) pelea por su propia representación y visibilidad. El reto es establecer alianzas que presten atención a la transversalidad de la opresión y que sean capaces de inventar procesos abiertos de experimentación social para producir otros modos colectivos de vivir.


everyday is platitude Novembro 26, 2015

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, Citações, teoria social, Uncategorized.
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The everyday is platitude (what lags and falls back, the residual life with which our trash cans and cemeteries are filled: scrap and refuse); but this banality is also what is most important, if it brings us back to existence in its very spontaneity and as it is lived – in the moment when, lived, it escapes every speculative formulation, perhaps all coherence, all regularity. Now we evoke the poetry of Chekhov or even Kafka, and affirm the depth of the superficial, the tragedy of nullity. Always the two sides meet (the amorphous, the stagnant) and the inexhaustible, irrecusable, always unfinished daily that which escapes forms or structures (particularly those of political society: bureaucracy, the wheels of government, parties). And that there may be a certain relation of identity between these two opposites is shown by the slight displacement of emphasis that permits passage from one to the other, as when the spontaneous, the informal – that is, what escapes forms – becomes the amorphous and when, perhaps, the stagnant merges with the current of life, which is also the movement of society.

Maurice Blanchot

Blanchot, M. (1987) ‘Everyday Speech’, Yale French Studies 73: 12–20.

Paisagens Socioculturais Contemporâneas Novembro 25, 2015

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, cidades, Uncategorized.
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Paisagens Socioculturais Contemporâneas

Carlos Fortuna (coord.), Adelino Gonçalves, José Maçãs de Carvalho, Rogério Proença Leite, Paulo Peixoto, Paula Abreu e Claudino Ferreira

Foi recentemente editado este volume (on line aqui) da colecção Cescontexto-Debates onde se reúne as sínteses das sessões da Escola de Verão sobre Paisagens Socioculturais Contemporâneas, organizada pelo Doutoramento em Sociologia: Cidades e Culturas Urbanas (4ª edição, 2015-2016) e pelo Núcleo de Estudos sobre Cidades, Culturas e Arquitetura do Centro de Estudos Sociais. Esta Escola de Verão procura dialogar com as preocupações de estudiosos e profissionais da intervenção urbanística, patrimonial, artística, cultural. Assim, as paisagens socioculturais contemporâneas que se discutem nesta Escola de Verão assinalam algumas das expressões urbanas que pontuam a vida urbana de todos os dias.

(cfp) Sex and the Academy Setembro 24, 2015

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, sexualidades e géneros.
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CFP: Sex and the Academy

22-23 February 2016, Ghent University, Belgium


A two-day workshop of the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics – INSEP


Hosted by CEVI – Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry Faculty of Arts and Philosophy Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2

9000 Ghent – Belgium


Earlier this year Laura Kipnis caused a controversy with her article on ‘sexual paranoia’ in the academy in which she commented on university policies regulating student-faculty sexual relationships. Some called her intervention a melodrama – melodramatic or not, ensuing events did take on epic proportions. She met with vehement opposition and was even under investigation from her own university. Discussions on social media quickly widened to encompass feminism/postfeminism controversies. Sex in the academy has always been a controversial issue – not only between faculty and students, but within the student population as well. Plenty are the studies documenting the alleged rise of a student hook-up culture and the highly sexualized liminal zone of student life.

Sex and the academy is not without controversies either. Researching and teaching sex has often generated heated debate. To name but a few

examples: from Kinsey’s research and ‘marriage course’ in the forties and fifties; over the impact of the ‘second sexual revolution’ in the sixties and seventies; the rise of gender studies, women’s studies and feminist research, lesbian and gay  studies and programs in the late seventies and eighties; the burgeoning of queer & LGBTI studies in the nineties; to more recent controversies concerning agency, choice and empowerment in the feminism/postfeminism debates, porn studies and work on sex work/prostitution/trafficking – the ‘powers of desire’ and the sexual politics of higher education have always caused tensions, controversies and opportunities.


Higher education is shaped by wider social and cultural sexual politics and dynamics. The masculine and gendered character of the institution, e.g., is still holding back the career development of women in academia.

More recently, the neoliberalisation of higher education has had an enduring impact on class, gender and sexuality structurings, subjectivities and normativities in academia.


Higher education has often played a crucial role in shaping sexual politics as well. By their very nature universities and colleges are highly sexualized and gendered places and spaces. Teaching, according to some, has an intimate link with desire and generates tensions and intimacies between teachers and students. The curriculum is not detached from the wider social context and is as such gendered and sexualized.

Higher education also provides a liminal zone and timeframe which enables young people to discover, develop and experiment with sexual relationships, identities and repertoires. As places of scholarship and research, universities shape knowledges and future research and pedagogical agendas.


In this two-day workshop we would like to bring together researchers, teachers and students to reflect on the sexual politics of higher education. It is a first instalment of a series of meetings in which the wide array of issues related to the sexualized and gendered nature of higher education will be explored.


We invite proposals for papers and pre-organized panels addressing historical and contemporary aspects of the following themes:


HE as Gendered and Sexualized Institutions


• Political/Sexual/Gender correctness on campus, in teaching and research • Sexual harassment and assault – rape & date/acquaintance-rape • Sexual correctness, harassment and assault regulations and policies • Student reproductive and sexual health issues and promotion, facilities & access • Campus tolerance, solidarity & sexual identity and orientation • Cultural and sexual diversities • HE institutions as loci and agents of change – sexual revolutions & backlashes • Women, careers and the academy – gender mainstreaming policies & challenges • HE and masculinity • The sexual politics of the neoliberal university


Researching & Teaching Sexuality


• Researching and teaching sexuality studies & sexuality-related topics • Gendered curricula & research agendas • HE as a critical/disciplinary space and regime • Feminist, queer and critical pedagogies • Sexual identities, orientations and academic careers • Libraries, erotica & pornography • Researching student sexualities • Research ethics and sexuality research • Women’s, feminist and (post)gender studies and their relation with sexuality studies • Feminism(s)/Postfeminism(s) and the agency & empowerment debates in HE • The place of queer studies in HE • Sexology and its place in HE • Freedom of speech, academic freedom and censorship • The erotics of teaching and education


Student Sexual Relations and Explorations in HE


• Liminality – student life as a liminal zone of sexual opportunities, discovery & experimentation • Student-Faculty Sexual Relations – Authority & Power (im)balances; consent, choice, responsibilities, vulnerabilities & harm • The sexual imperative and peer conformity pressures • Hook-up Culture, Friends with benefits & Casual Sex • Technologies of dating & sexualised social media • Hetero & homonormativities – Inclusions and exclusions • Student gender identities, ambiguities and sexual orientations • Sexual reputations and double standards • (International) Student mobility: opportunities and challenges • Student unions as sexualised and/or sexuality/identity-based organisations • Student events – parties, upper dare’s, … • Student sex work • Sexual activism & feminist mobilisation on and off campus


Submission & Timeline


Abstracts for presentations (300 words) or for panels of up to three speakers (please submit a 500-600 overview and set of abstracts) should reach us by 15 November 2015 at the latest, with notification of acceptance 22 November 2015. To facilitate funding applications you can submit an abstract in advance of the regular deadline – our turnaround time for refereeing in this case is 10 days and we can provide documentation where it is required to facilitate funding.


Please send abstracts to: insep.network@gmail.com


The fee for the two-day workshop is 100 Euro. A concessionary rate of 50 Euro is available to students and postgraduates.


INSEP publishes a journal and a book series with Barbara Budrich Publishers. We would anticipate commissioning publications from the conference and, dependent on quality and coherence, may publish a collection based on themes emerging from the conference. INSEP also welcomes submissions to the journal and proposals to the Book Series.


For more info on INSEP & the Sex and the Academy initiative please visit:

Sex and the Academy: http://www.insep.ugent.be/sexandtheacademy/

INSEP – http://www.insep.ugent.be/

Journal INSEP – http://budrich-journals.de/index.php/insep

(cfp) 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference (Sept. 25th–27th, ’15) Março 6, 2015

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(Uma nova aventura em que estou envolvido, como membro da Comissão Organizadora Local: a conferência “Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies”  Hoje pensar sobre a diversidade de formas de intimidade parece uma urgência objectiva de molde a que as múltiplas realidades relacionais se tornem vísiveis)


1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference (Sept. 25th–27th, ’15)

Call for Contributions – Deadline 18th May 2015

(To see a longer version of this Call for Contributions, please go here) || PLEASE SHARE

Research in sociology, psychology, anthropology and contemporary history has shown that traditional concepts and practices regarding marriage, family, sexuality, and intimacy have been changing rapidly in recent decades. There have been radical revisions of thinking and practice not only related to sexuality but also involving gender roles, single-parenthood, family structures, contraception, abortion, and divorce. Many of these areas have been linked to transformations in broader social, economic and political constructs, such as same-sex marriage.

These changes are faced with mainstream negative representations of non-monogamy which describe it as “infidelity”, “serial monogamy”, or “failures” of the “normal” pattern of intimacy. Such perspectives assign a privileged role to the idealized couple, portrayed as intrinsically better. The dominant academic paradigm legitimates and strengthens monogamy’s normativity. At the same time, academia frequently fails to acknowledge the existence of open, consensual non-couple-based forms of relationships, and of a-romantic and/or asexual intimacies. Moreover, even the limited existing research on consensual non-monogamies focuses mostly on English-speaking and socio-economically privileged white groups and communities.

The rise in critical discourses regarding normative sexualities and intimacies (and the ways in which these two elements interact) calls into question the traditional paradigm of lifestyles that have been at the core of the sex-gender system, as well as hetero-mono-normative institutions and practices in general.

Topics: With this conference, we intend to bring together research, activism and other forms of social expression, focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Research around the lived experiences of non-monogamies, especially those considered consensual;
  • Ideological and representational changes in how intimacies are thought of;
  • Intersections with race, sex-gender, sexual orientation, kinship, kink, sex work, class, culture, religion, dis/ability, asexuality, a-romanticism;
  • Activism and community-building around non-monogamies;
  • Reproduction of normativities and resistances: polynormativity and relationship anarchy, neo-liberalism and political contestation;
  • Evolution of scientific discourses on non-monogamies;
  • Challenges to counseling, psychotherapy, (public) health and legal frameworks around non-monogamies;
  • The roles of mass media and new technologies around transformations of intimacy.

Our goal is community-building within and beyond academia in all its fields and disciplines, challenging traditional models of the hegemonic Global North system of knowledge production. Therefore, we encourage the submission not only of academic papers and thematic panels, but also round-table discussions, film screenings and debates, installations, activist-driven reflections and other modalities.

Language & accessibility: For logistic reasons, the conference’s common language will be English, and abstracts must be submitted in English. If you wish so, you can also send us your abstract in another language, provided that you also submit it in English. It is highly recommended (but not mandatory) that presentations during the conference are in English. The venue is wheelchair-accessible. If you require a Sign Language interpreter, please contact us via email; unfortunately we cannot guarantee that this will be provided.

To submit: Abstracts of up to 250 words for individual submissions and up to 500 words for panel submissions, by May 18th, using this platform. Before submitting, please read the instructions HERE. Any doubts or technical difficulties should be addressed to the following email: nmciconference@gmail.com

Venue: Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) in Lisbon, Portugal

Read the Call for Contributions in other languages


‘All Lives Matter’? an interview with Judith Butler Fevereiro 7, 2015

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in queer theory, racism.
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Esta é uma longa entrevista com Judith Butler em torno de questões relacionadas com o seu pensamento político, dando particular destaque às temáticas do racismo reinante nas sociedades contemporâneas. É um texto que merece uma leitura atenta e, com certeza, uma desenvolvimento atento de algumas destas ideias que nos permitem abrir caminhos bem interessantes.


What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives Matter’?


This is the fifth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the department of comparative literature and the program of critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of numerous influential books, including “Dispossession: The Performative in the Political,” which she co-authored with Athena Athanasiou. She will publish a book on public assemblies with Harvard University Press this year. — George Yancy

George Yancy: In your 2004 book, “Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence,” you wrote, “The question that preoccupies me in the light of recent global violence is, Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives?” You wrote that about the post-9/11 world, but it appears to also apply to the racial situation here in the United States. In the wake of the recent killings of unarmed black men and women by police, and the failure to prosecute the killers, the message being sent to black communities is that they don’t matter, that they are “disposable.” Posters reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot,” “I Can’t Breathe,” communicate the reality of a specific kind of racial vulnerability that black people experience on a daily basis. How does all this communicate to black people that their lives don’t matter?

Judith Butler: Perhaps we can think about the phrase “black lives matter.” What is implied by this statement, a statement that should be obviously true, but apparently is not? If black lives do not matter, then they are not really regarded as lives, since a life is supposed to matter. So what we see is that some lives matter more than others, that some lives matter so much that they need to be protected at all costs, and that other lives matter less, or not at all. And when that becomes the situation, then the lives that do not matter so much, or do not matter at all, can be killed or lost, can be exposed to conditions of destitution, and there is no concern, or even worse, that is regarded as the way it is supposed to be. The callous killing of Tamir Rice and the abandonment of his body on the street is an astonishing example of the police murdering someone considered disposable and fundamentally ungrievable.

When we are taking about racism, and anti-black racism in the United States, we have to remember that under slavery black lives were considered only a fraction of a human life, so the prevailing way of valuing lives assumed that some lives mattered more, were more human, more worthy, more deserving of life and freedom, where freedom meant minimally the freedom to move and thrive without being subjected to coercive force. But when and where did black lives ever really get free of coercive force? One reason the chant “Black Lives Matter” is so important is that it states the obvious but the obvious has not yet been historically realized. So it is a statement of outrage and a demand for equality, for the right to live free of constraint, but also a chant that links the history of slavery, of debt peonage, segregation, and a prison system geared toward the containment, neutralization and degradation of black lives, but also a police system that more and more easily and often can take away a black life in a flash all because some officer perceives a threat.

So let us think about what this is: the perception of a threat. One man is leaving a store unarmed, but he is perceived as a threat. Another man is in a chokehold and states that he cannot breathe, and the chokehold is not relaxed, and the man dies because he is perceived as a threat. Mike Brown and Eric Garner. We can name them, but in the space of this interview, we cannot name all the black men and women whose lives are snuffed out all because a police officer perceives a threat, sees the threat in the person, sees the person as pure threat. Perceived as a threat even when unarmed or completely physically subdued, or lying in the ground, as Rodney King clearly was, or coming back home from a party on the train and having the audacity to say to a policeman that he was not doing anything wrong and should not be detained: Oscar Grant. We can see the videos and know what is obviously true, but it is also obviously true that police and the juries that support them obviously do not see what is obvious, or do not wish to see.

So the police see a threat when there is no gun to see, or someone is subdued and crying out for his life, when they are moving away or cannot move. These figures are perceived as threats even when they do not threaten, when they have no weapon, and the video footage that shows precisely this is taken to be a ratification of the police’s perception. The perception is then ratified as a public perception at which point we not only must insist on the dignity of black lives, but name the racism that has become ratified as public perception.

In fact, the point is not just that black lives can be disposed of so easily: they are targeted and hunted by a police force that is becoming increasingly emboldened to wage its race war by every grand jury decision that ratifies the point of view of state violence. Justifying lethal violence in the name of self-defense is reserved for those who have a publicly recognized self to defend. But those whose lives are not considered to matter, whose lives are perceived as a threat to the life that embodies white privilege can be destroyed in the name of that life. That can only happen when a recurrent and institutionalized form of racism has become a way of seeing, entering into the presentation of visual evidence to justify hateful and unjustified and heartbreaking murder.

So it is not just that black lives matter, though that must be said again and again. It is also that stand-your-ground and racist killings are becoming increasingly normalized, which is why intelligent forms of collective outrage have become obligatory.

G.Y.: The chant “Black Lives Matter” is also a form of what you would call “a mode of address.” You discuss questions of address in your essay, “Violence, Nonviolence: Sartre and Fanon,” where Fanon, for example, raises significant questions about sociality in talking about his freedom in relationship to a “you.” “Black Lives Matter” says something like: “You — white police officers — recognize my/our humanity!” But what if the “you,” in this case, fails to be moved, refuses to be touched by that embodied chant? And given that “racism has become a way of seeing,” is it not necessary that we — as you say in your essay “Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia”— install “an antiracist hegemony over the visual field”?

J.B.: Sometimes a mode of address is quite simply a way of speaking to or about someone. But a mode of address may also describe a general way of approaching another such that one presumes who the other is, even the meaning and value of their existence. We address each other with gesture, signs and movement, but also through media and technology. We make such assumptions all the time about who that other is when we hail someone on the street (or we do not hail them). That is someone I greet; the other is someone I avoid. That other may well be someone whose very existence makes me cross to the other side of the road.

Indeed, in the case of schematic racism, anti-black racism figures black people through a certain lens and filter, one that can quite easily construe a black person, or another racial minority, who is walking toward us as someone who is potentially, or actually, threatening, or is considered, in his very being, a threat. In fact, as we can doubtless see from the videos that have swept across the global media, it may be that even when a black man is moving away from the police, that man is still considered to be a threat or worth killing, as if that person were actually moving toward the police brandishing a weapon. Or it could be that a black man or woman is reaching for his or her identification papers to show to the police, and the police see in that gesture of compliance — hand moving toward pocket — a reach for a gun. Is that because, in the perception of the police, to be black is already to be reaching for a gun? Or a black person is sleeping on the couch, standing, walking, or even running, clearly brandishing no gun, and there turns out to be evidence that there is no gun, still that life is snuffed out – why? Is the gun imagined into the scene, or retrospectively attributed to the standing or fleeing figure (and the grand jury nods, saying “this is plausible.”)? And why when that person is down, already on the ground, and seeks to lift himself, or seated against a subway grate, and seeks to speak on his own behalf, or is utterly subdued and imperiled by the chokehold, he never stops looming as a threat to security, prompting a policeman to beat him or gun him down?

It may be important to see the twisted vision and the inverted assumptions that are made in the course of building a “case” that the police acted in self-defense or were sufficiently provoked to use lethal force. The fleeing figure is coming this way; the nearly strangled person is about to unleash force; the man on the ground will suddenly spring to life and threaten the life of the one who therefore takes his life.

These are war zones of the mind that play out on the street. At least in these cases that have galvanized the nation and the world in protest, we all see the twisted logic that results in the exoneration of the police who take away the lives of unarmed black men and women. And why is that the case? It is not because what the police and their lawyers present as their thinking in the midst of the situation is very reasonable. No, it is because that form of thinking is becoming more “reasonable” all the time. In other words, every time a grand jury or a police review board accepts this form of reasoning, they ratify the idea that blacks are a population against which society must be defended, and that the police defend themselves and (white) society, when they preemptively shoot unarmed black men in public space. At stake is a way that black people are figured as a threat even when they are simply living their lives, walking the street, leaving the convenience store, riding the subway, because in those instances this is only a threatening life, or a threat to the only kind of life, white life, that is recognized.

G.Y.: What has led us to this place?

J.B.: Racism has complex origins, and it is important that we learn the history of racism to know what has led us to this terrible place. But racism is also reproduced in the present, in the prison system, new forms of population control, increasing economic inequality that affects people of color disproportionately. These forms of institutionalized destitution and inequality are reproduced through these daily encounters — the disproportionate numbers of minorities stopped and detained by the police, and the rising number of those who fall victim to police violence. The figure of the black person as threat, as criminal, as someone who is, no matter where he is going, already-on-the-way-to-prison, conditions these pre-emptive strikes, attributing lethal aggression to the very figure who suffers it most. The lives taken in this way are not lives worth grieving; they belong to the increasing number of those who are understood as ungrievable, whose lives are thought not to be worth preserving.

But, of course, what we are also seeing in the recent and continuing assemblies, rallies and vigils is an open mourning for those whose lives were cut short and without cause, brutally extinguished. The practices of public mourning and political demonstration converge: when lives are considered ungrievable, to grieve them openly is protest. So when people assemble in the street, arrive at rallies or vigils, demonstrate with the aim of opposing this form of racist violence, they are “speaking back” to this mode of address, insisting on what should be obvious but is not, namely, that these lost lives are unacceptable losses.

On the one hand, there is a message, “Black Lives Matter,” which always risks being misheard (“What? Only black lives matter?”) or not heard at all (“these are just people who will protest anything”). On the other hand, the assembly, even without words, enacts the message in its own way. For it is often in public spaces where such violence takes place, so reclaiming public space to oppose both racism and violence is an act that reverberates throughout the public sphere through various media.

G.Y.: I’ve heard that some white people have held signs that read “All Lives Matter.”

J.B.: When some people rejoin with “All Lives Matter” they misunderstand the problem, but not because their message is untrue. It is true that all lives matter, but it is equally true that not all lives are understood to matter which is precisely why it is most important to name the lives that have not mattered, and are struggling to matter in the way they deserve.

Claiming that “all lives matter” does not immediately mark or enable black lives only because they have not been fully recognized as having lives that matter. I do not mean this as an obscure riddle. I mean only to say that we cannot have a race-blind approach to the questions: which lives matter? Or, which lives are worth valuing? If we jump too quickly to the universal formulation, “all lives matter,” then we miss the fact that black people have not yet been included in the idea of “all lives.” That said, it is true that all lives matter (we can then debate about when life begins or ends). But to make that universal formulation concrete, to make that into a living formulation, one that truly extends to all people, we have to foreground those lives that are not mattering now, to mark that exclusion, and militate against it. Achieving that universal, “all lives matter,” is a struggle, and that is part of what we are seeing on the streets. For on the streets we see a complex set of solidarities across color lines that seek to show what a concrete and living sense of bodies that matter can be.

G.Y: When you talk about lives that matter, are you talking about how whiteness and white bodies are valorized? In “Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity,” you discuss gender as “a stylized repetition of acts.” Do you also see whiteness as “a stylized repetition of acts” that solidifies and privileges white bodies, or even leads to naïve, “post-racial” universal formulations like “all lives matter”?

J.B.: Yes, we can certainly talk about “doing whiteness” as a way of putting racial categories into action, since whiteness is part of what we call “race,” and is often implicitly or explicitly part of a race project that seeks to achieve and maintain dominance for white people. One way this happens is by establishing whiteness as the norm for the human, and blackness as a deviation from the human or even as a threat to the human, or as something not quite human. Under such perceptual conditions built up through the history of racism, it becomes increasingly easy for white people to accept the destruction of black lives as status quo, since those lives do not fit the norm of “human life” they defend. It is true that Frantz Fanon sometimes understood whiteness in gendered terms: a black man is not a man, according to the white norms that define manhood, and yet other times the black man is figured as the threat of rape, hyper-masculinized, threatening the “virgin sanctity” of whiteness.

In that last formulation whiteness is figured as a young virgin whose future husband is white — this characterization ratifies the sentiments that oppose miscegenation and defend norms or racial purity. But whose sexuality is imperiled in this scene? After all, black women and girls were the ones who were raped, humiliated and disposed of under conditions of slavery, and it was black families who were forcibly destroyed: black kinship was not recognized as kinship that matters. women of color, and black feminists in particular, have struggled for years against being the sexual property of either white male power or black masculinity, against poverty, and against the prison industry, so there are many reasons it is necessary to define racism in ways that acknowledge the specific forms it takes against men, women, and transgendered people of color.

Let us remember, of course, that many black women’s lives are taken by police and by prisons. We can name a few: Yvette Smith, 48, in Texas, unarmed, and killed by police; or Aiyana Stanley-Jones, age 7, killed while sleeping on her father’s couch in Detroit. After all, all of those are among the people on the street, outraged and demonstrating, opposing a lethal power that is becoming more and more normalized and, to that degree, more and more outrageous.

Whiteness is less a property of skin than a social power reproducing its dominance in both explicit and implicit ways. When whiteness is a practice of superiority over minorities, it monopolizes the power of destroying or demeaning bodies of color. The legal system is engaged in reproducing whiteness when it decides that the black person can and will be punished more severely than the white person who commits the same infraction, when that same differential is at work in the question, who can and will be detained? And who can and will be sent to prison with a life sentence or the death penalty? Angela Davis has shown the disproportionate number of Americans of color (black and Latino) detained, imprisoned and on death row. This has become a “norm” that effectively says “black lives do not matter,” one that is built up over time, through daily practices, modes of address, through the organization of schools, work, prison, law and media. Those are all ways that the conceit of white superiority is constructed.

G.Y.: Yes. Whiteness, as a set of historical practices, extends beyond the skin. And yet, when a person with white skin walks into a store, it is assumed that she is not a threat. So, there is an entire visual technology that is complicit here, where the skin itself, as it were, is the marker of innocence. It is a visual technology that reinforces not only her sense of innocence, but that organizes the ways in which she gets to walk through space without being profiled or stopped. Hence, she contributes to the perpetuation of racial injustice even if she is unaware of doing so.

J.B.: Well, of course, class is also there as a marker of how anyone is perceived entering the door to the public building, the office, the post office, the convenience store. Class is in play when white people fail to look “moneyed” or are considered as working class, poor or homeless, so we have to be clear that the “white” person we may be talking about can be struggling with inequality of another kind: whiteness has its own internal hierarchies, to be sure. Of course there are white people who may be very convinced that they are not racist, but that does not necessarily mean that they have examined, or worked though, how whiteness organizes their lives, values, the institutions they support, how they are implicated in ways of talking, seeing, and doing that constantly and tacitly discriminate. Undoing whiteness has to be difficult work, but it starts, I think, with humility, with learning history, with white people learning how the history of racism persists in the everyday vicissitudes of the present, even as some of us may think we are “beyond” such a history, or even convinced that we have magically become “post-racial.” It is difficult and ongoing work, calling on an ethical disposition and political solidarity that risks error in the practice of solidarity.

Whiteness is not an abstraction; its claim to dominance is fortified through daily acts which may not seem racist at all precisely because they are considered “normal.” But just as certain kinds of violence and inequality get established as “normal” through the proceedings that exonerate police of the lethal use of force against unarmed black people, so whiteness, or rather its claim to privilege, can be disestablished over time. This is why there must be a collective reflection on, and opposition to, the way whiteness takes hold of our ideas about whose lives matter. The norm of whiteness that supports both violence and inequality insinuates itself into the normal and the obvious. Understood as the sometimes tacit and sometimes explicit power to define the boundaries of kinship, community and nation, whiteness inflects all those frameworks within which certain lives are made to matter less than others.

It is always possible to do whiteness otherwise, to engage in a sustained and collective practice to question how racial differentiation enters into our daily evaluations of which lives deserve to be supported, to flourish, and which do not. But it is probably an error, in my view, for white people to become paralyzed with guilt and self-scrutiny. The point is rather to consider those ways of valuing and devaluing life that govern our own thinking and acting, understanding the social and historical reach of those ways of valuing. It is probably important and satisfying as well to let one’s whiteness recede by joining in acts of solidarity with all those who oppose racism. There are ways of fading out whiteness, withdrawing its implicit and explicit claim to racial privilege.

Demonstrations have the potential to embody forms of equality that we want to see realized in the world more broadly. Working against those practices and institutions that refuse to recognize and mark the powers of state racism in particular, assemblies gather to mourn and resist the deadly consequences of such powers. When people engage in concerted actions across racial lines to build communities based on equality, to defend the rights of those who are disproportionately imperiled to have a chance to live without the fear of dying quite suddenly at the hands of the police. There are many ways to do this, in the street, the office, the home, and in the media. Only through such an ever-growing cross-racial struggle against racism can we begin to achieve a sense of all the lives that really do matter.

This interview was conducted by email and edited. Previous interviews in this series can be found here.

George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at Duquesne University. He has written, edited and co-edited numerous books, including “Black Bodies, White Gazes,” “Look, a White!” and “Pursuing Trayvon Martin,” co-edited with Janine Jones.