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Long Live Our 4Billion Year Old Mother

Long Live Our 4Billion Year Old Mother:

black feminist praxis, indigenous resistance and cultures of queer possibility



Wednesdays, 6:30-8:20pm
Location: Stanford Humanities Center (*unless otherwise noted)
1-4 Units
Instructors: A-lan A. Holt and Dr. Jakeya Caruthers, PhD.



Course Description:
How can art facilitate a culture that values women, mothers, transfolks, caregivers, girls? How can black, indigenous, and people of color frameworks help us reckon with oppressive systems that threaten safety and survival for marginalized people and the lands that sustain us? How can these questions reveal the brilliant and inventive forms of survival that precede and transcend harmful systems toward a world of possibility? Each week, this course will call on artists, scholars, and organizers of color who clarify the urgency and interconnection of issues from patriarchal violence to environmental degradation; hyper-criminalization to legacies of settler colonialism. These same thinkers will also speak to the imaginative, everyday knowledge and creative healing practices that our forebears have used for millennia to give vision and rise to true transformation.


APR 3 | Week 1: Survivor Love Letter: Beyond Sanctioned Survival 
How can art facilitate a culture that values women, mothers, transfolks, caregivers, girls, femmes? How can we move beyond criminalized survival and carceral punishment into new forms of community responses to violence and harm? What can we learn from Survivors about this new world we are making?

Dr. Jakeya Caruthers is a Cultural Studies Scholar, Black Feminist, anti-carceral organizer, and current research fellow at the Program in African and African American Studies, where she also earned her PhD in Anthropology of Education.

Tani Ikeda is an Emmy- award winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, and music videos about the experiences of women around the world. She is the founder of #SURVIVORLOVELETTER, a national project uplifting the healing practices of survivors in community;  and at the age of 21, she co-founded imMEDIAte Justice, a nonprofit that fosters the talents of young women in media.


APR 10 | Week 2: Long Live Our Mother: Indigeneity, Land History and Environmental Justice
How does art activate the intangibility of climate change, making it visible, visceral, and political? How do indigenous frameworks illuminate imbrications between environmental injustice and other projects of oppression and survival? How do land and bodies connect? In what ways can we think about the thriving of women and children and the protection and stewardship of our natural world?

Dr. Elizabeth Hoover is the Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies, and teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, indigenous food movements, Native American museum curation, and community engaged research. Dr. Hoover has published articles about food sovereignty, environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities, the cultural impact of fish advisories on Native communities, tribal citizen science, and health social movements.

Dr. Magie Ramírez is a Xicana feminist urban geographer, whose work explores the interstices of racial capitalism, art-activism, and urban space. Her work explores the role of artists of color in the climate justice movement, and how their art is being used to envision equitable and sustainable urban futures for all peoples and species on the planet.

​​Quill Christie-Peters is an Anishinaabe self-taught visual artist. She is the creator of the Indigenous Youth Residency Program, an artist residency for Indigenous youth that engages land-based creative practices through Anishinaabe artistic methodologies. She holds a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance on Anishinaabe art-making as a process of falling in love and sits on the board of directors for Native Women in the Arts.


APR 17 | Week 3: Otherwise Worlds: Unpacking Settler Colonialism, Anti-Blackness, and the Politics of Refusal
The American project was built on Indigenous displacement and genocide; and the forced enslavement of African peoples. How might black and indigenous frameworks and practices trouble oppression, uplift survival, and empower resistance? How might discourse of the colonized provide new landscapes for charting our relationships to this land, to this imagined nation-state, and to each other?

Alan Pelaez Lopez is an Afro-Indigenous poet, collage, installation, and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. In their art, they explore the intersections of PTSD, undocumented immigration, Indigeneity, queer feelings, and Black flesh. Their work has been nominated for the “Pushcart Prize” and “Best of the Net,” and appears in POETRY Magazine, Everyday Feminism, and elsewhere.

Delphine Red Shirt is a Native American author and educator, who is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation. She is currently a lecturer in Decolonized History and the Lakota language here at Stanford University.

Dr. Tiffany Lethabo King’s research focuses on Black gender formation and sexuality at the intersection of slavery and indigenous genocide in the U.S. and Canada. Her book project The Black Shoals: Abolition, Decolonization and Conquest argues that scholarly traditions within Black Studies that examine Indigenous genocide alongside slavery in the Americas have forged ethical and generative engagements with Native studies—and Native thought—that continue to reinvent the political imaginaries of abolition and decolonization.


APR 26 | Week 4: Filmmaker Kahlil Joseph, In Conversation
FRIDAY April 26 @ OSHMAN HALL (McMurtry), 7:00-9:00pm
*No class Wednesday. Friday instead.

Kahlil Joseph is the 2018-2019 Presidential Resident Artist at Stanford University. IDA will host a public screening and conversation with the director who is best known for his work with Beyonce’s Lemonade, Kendrick Lamar’s m.A.A.d, Sampha’s Process, and Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes. Kahlil Joseph will also share reflections on his newest film work, BLK NWS, which is screening at various locations around Stanford’s campus including the Harmony House, Cantor Art Museum, and Lagunita Dining Hall. The evening will be introduced by Vice President for the Arts Harry Elam, and will also include responses from on-campus scholars in the arts. 


MAY 1 | Week 5: Refusal, Resistance, Existence: Trans Feminisms, always already

“A feminist future is inextricably linked to holding the past of queer and trans people of color, people who have been exiled out of feminist movements and spaces.” ~ Tourmaline (fka Reina Gossett)

In this lecture we ask, where can we locate black trans women’s artful, embodied articulations of imaginative new politics? This screening and lecture will center on trans, gender nonconforming, and queer feminine people of color’s legacy in the queer movement as we know it today and how questions of prison abolition are galvanized by that history. We will be joined in conversation by award-winning artist and activist, Tourmaline (fka. Reina Gossett). In addition to screening two of her short films, the artist will offer reflections on her activism and work.

Tourmaline (fka Reina Gossett) is a black trans woman filmmaker, organizer, and writer. She creates archives of the lives, livelihoods, and resistance of trans people of color, especially that of black trans women and trans women of color. She has visual works on Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Marsha P. Johnson (Happy Birthday, Ms. Marsha!, co-directed by Sasha Wortzel), and a recently-published book, Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. In December 2017, Gossett published The Atlantic is a Sea of Bones, a short film on black trans and queer life, death, memory, and spaces of resistance/memorial, in honor of A Day With(out) Art 2017, commissioned by Visual AIDS.

Readings: Reina Gossett on Transgender Storytelling, David France, and the Netflix Marsha P. Johnson Documentary

MAY 8 | Week 6: “Are you sure sweetheart, that you want to be well?”: Toni Cade Bambara @ 80*

What can the brilliant black feminist writer, organizer, thinker Toni Cade Bambara teach us about…well, everything. What can we learn about what Akasha Hull refers to as the authentic, nonchalance of black women’s healing? What might we learn from Bambara’s creative relationships with other black women writers and about black feminist collectivity in general? How, indeed, could we sum the vast brilliance of a political, personal, and practical worldview? How have Bambara’s thinking and writing informed the work of future writers, like our guest for this week, prose writer Mecca Jamilah Sullivan?

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D., is the author of the 2015 short story collection, Blue Talk and Love. In her fiction, she explores the intellectual, emotional, and bodily lives of young black women through voice, music, and hip-hop inflected magical realist techniques.


MAY 15 | Week 7: TBD

MAY 22 |  Week 8: Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice w/ Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Disability justice activist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all. Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a toolkit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient communities of liberation where no one is left behind.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a Toronto and Oakland-based poet, writer, educator, and social activist. Her writing and performance art focuses on documenting the stories of queer and trans people of color, abuse survivors, mixed-race people, and diasporic South Asians and Sri Lankans.


MAY 29 | Week 9: Moon Time, Blood, Secretos de Abuela y otras Brujerias w/ La Loba Loca

In this lecture/workshop we will learn about reproductive justice, healing justice, autonomous health care, and its connection to traditions of radical politics. Herbal medicine, plant connection, gardening, sustainable living, decentering white supremacy in healing, and the many ways that social justice intersects with it all. Leading our time is queer educator, herbalist, activist La Loba Loca.

La Loba Loca - Loba  (Loba/they) is a Queer educator, herbalist, activist. Their work encompasses Andina identity, Reproductive Justice, doula work and plant connections. Loba is currently based in Los Angeles, CA but is constantly traveling for work and research all over the US (Turtle Island) and Latin America (Abya Yala). They facilitate trainings and skill shares on herbalism, plant relations, social justice, healing justice, and autonomous health. Loba is invested on disseminating information with the hope that self-knowledge and (re)cognition of abuelita knowledge will create a future where we can depend on ourselves and communities. ​


JUN 5 | Week 10: Final Class Presentations
In this final class, students from the course will present final presentations and creative work in response to course themes.