Ronak Kapadia: “Reimagine Everything: How Insurgent Aesthetics and Queer Collective Care are Transforming Our Worlds”

Friday, October 2nd, 2020
3:30 – 4:30

C21 Event Page
Event Online—Watch at C21’s YouTube page.

Join us for a conversation with Ronak K. Kapadia (UIC) as he explores how the Black and brown Midwest has become the epicenter of a twenty-first century insurgent rebellion against the dominant militarized policing order in the United States. From abolition to healing justice and transformative justice and mutual aid, a new generation of visionary artists and activists from queer and trans Black Indigenous and People of Color (QTBIPOC) communities are offering a crucial wellspring for ideas about survival, healing, and justice in the waning years of twenty-first century US empire. These strategies and tactics circulate widely within contemporary social movements that are working to turn the tide against prisons, policing, and American warfare. At a time when the proliferating calamities of global fascism, neoliberal austerity, carceral governance, climate chaos, and endless warfare appear to be ascendant across the planet, how do minoritarian cultural workers living and laboring in the heart of empire make sense of this dying world order while dreaming up new worlds through their art-making and organizing? The ecology of minoritarian art and activism emerging from today’s overlapping protest movements offer a powerful roadmap for understanding the dystopian here and now of US imperial decline and imagining rebellious futures that can move us from despair and isolation to coalition and transformation.

Ronak K. Kapadia is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies, and affiliated faculty in Art History, Global Asian Studies, and Museum & Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. An interdisciplinary cultural theorist of race, security, sensation, and empire in the late 20th and early 21st century United States, Kapadia is author of Insurgent Aesthetics: Security and the Queer Life of the Forever War (Duke UP 2019), with other work in Journal of Popular Music Studies, Feminist Formations, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Asian American Literary Review, and edited volumes including Shifting Borders: America and the Middle East/North Africa (AUB Press 2014), Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke UP 2016), and With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and US Empire (U Minnesota Press 2018).

This talk is co-sponsored by the Center for 21st Century Studies.