Freedom resists guarantees of comportment. I define freedom as ways of being human in the world that exist beyond the realm of the juridical and that allow for bodily sovereignty. Rinaldo Walcott
Survival depends upon letting go of the satisfaction of othering. adrienne maree brown
On the left, there is a nominal preference for “self-crit” and “accountability” rather than outright punishment, which usually means that the person who is understood to be guilty of an offense must immediately (immediately!) denounce themselves, often publicly, and then perhaps engage in some sort of reparative labour. This in itself has the potential to be positively transformative, but requires great skill to facilitate successfully. We cannot be forced into immediate personal and spiritual growth — we must come by it willingly, or else we only end up disappointed at best and retraumatized at worst. This takes time, resources, and compassion on all sides. It takes compromise and is not immediately gratifying (nor even gratifying in the medium term, frankly). Kai Cheng Thom
2021-2022 COURSE OFFERINGS
(1) December 11-12 & 18-19, 2021: Sensing & Communicating the Unresolved, Historical-Material Field.
(2) July 2021 – April 2022: Advanced, 9-Month Online Intensive – ‘Extimacy’ as Racial Transparency in the Embodied Relational Field.
*NEXT 9-MONTH INTENSIVE STARTS LATE FEBRUARY, 2022
April 12th, 2021 – June 30th, 2021: Embodied Social Justice 50hr Certificate Program. “What Bodies do in Social Movements” (April 19th). Enrollment: https://learn.theembodylab.com/a/43205/vgXoWBh2 [Transparency statement: if you enroll in the program through this dedicated link, I receive a commission]
(1) SENSING & COMMUNICATING THE UNRESOLVED, HISTORICAL-MATERIAL FIELD
4-day exploration over 2 weekends – December 11-12 & 18-19, 2021. Detailed description & registration coming soon! Please sign-up for newsletter for details. Required reading & somatic exercises assigned in advance. This course is designed for experienced, social justice-focused practitioners & activists who are new to and versed/skilled in social theory. Instruction is in English with closed captioning.
December 11-12 – Part I: READING MARX SOMATICALLY – GRUNDISSE & CAPITAL 1 (sections of both). This will be a slow, embodied exploration of the development of Marx’ thought regarding the framing of designated labor groups as expendable commodities. The focus will be an introductory exploration of ways to read and theorize with/through our bodies, as opposed to simply through cognition.
December 18-19 – Part II: Details coming soon! A somatic and cognitive integration of Marx through sensing and communicating the unresolved, historical-material field as embodied, daily praxis.
(2) ‘EXTIMACY’ AS RACIAL TRANSPARENCY IN THE EMBODIED RELATIONAL FIELD
ADVANCED 9-MONTH ONLINE COURSE INTENSIVE
July 2021 through April 2022
Enrollment is open Feb 2, 2021 through April 2, 2021
Enrollment applications are being accepted for the next 9-month intensive, beginning late 2021 This course caps @ 12
This course caps @ 12 participants. Please allow 2 weeks for a response. You’ll receive email confirmation within 24-hours of receipt of your application.
Course Guide: Kesha Fikes, Somatic Therapist, SEP, Recovering Anthropologist (Ph.D.)
Instruction is in English with Closed Captioning
*Please note that this is an advanced course, thus not for beginners. If you do not have experience in social justice work or have not done your own race-centered work you will not be eligible for this course. If you have questions about your eligibility to apply, please email Kesha. Please consider enrolling in the Embodied Social Justice Certificate Program which will be foundational.
Content for this course is registered copyrighted material – ©️2021 Kesha Fikes
This Online Course Intensive – experiential, existential and theoretical – addresses embodied ways of transparently engaging the persistence of racialization in the wake of desired social change that is yet to come. We’re living a collective, psychic moment of urgency – the kind that has historically created space for paradigm shifting – where there’s intense desire by many for radical, equitable social change, on the one hand, and fiery frustrations around the slowness of systemic change, on the other. And, if race operates in practice as a sanctioned relational field that psychically and materially forecloses transcendence of intolerance, we reproduce hierarchy/raciality – again and again, independent of our locations or intentions – when we’re misattuned to the racialized bindings/dependencies that historically supersede and thus shape our encounters with each other. To this end, this Online Intensive supports the interim – a psychic middle passage, if you will – between what’s yet to be healed and our unknown collective potential. Our method is the building of a cultivated, reverent exercise in continuous, relational tracking of hierarchy in interaction – the product or residue of the unresolved historical-material field. We explore racial/social transparency where we draw upon a practice of embodied cognition – building and combining everyday skills in both somatic intelligence and social theorization – to support relational tracking in interaction. The intention is not to dissolve racism because in this very moment such a move isn’t a possibility: we don’t collectively possess the tools or the awareness to consciously do this – neither interpersonally or systemically (legally, economically, etc.) – at this specific, unresolved moment in time. Instead, the idea is to fiercely and vulnerably notice who and what we actually are with and to each other in this immediate unresolved time in history. It’s about building profound inner and ‘extimate’ awareness, together, of what we aren’t, for the sake of exploring what we need to be with and to each other in the colonial-capitalist now. Introduced and recalibrated is Lacan’s concept of ‘extimacy’ as an anchor for naming the necessary, foundational process of learning to be affected within, together, within an unjust, messy environment that is inherently relational. The interim is about the everydayness of collectively exploring ways to be in intimate dialogue with the unaddressed effects of our violent, unhealed pasts. And this thing, this response, this cultivated practice is how the term ‘extimacy’ is held, practiced and even challenged in this Online Intensive.
‘Extimacy’ is the choice to engage and take on the silenced, violent histories within our unresolved worlds. And an unresolved world is a place where our actions get misread, where we make horrific mistakes, but where we also practice not withdrawing to vulnerably stay in the game and commit to repair…over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. ‘Extimacy’ is the practice of preparation for what could/might come as we uncomfortably but collectively live, ride, the interim: the edge between what’s known and largely unknown.
Our approach to social theory, and particularly our holding of ‘extimacy’, will be a deeply embodied, sensory-focused endeavor. Theory will not serve its conventional purpose of objectifying race or racial/izing experience as a distanced object of intellectual scrutiny, where focus is on knowledge production instead of engaged, unlearning of bias in everyday life. Here, social theory supports the process of applying meaning/sense-making to felt experiences. It supports the process of relationally communicating one’s truth and intentions within the unresolved historical-material fields that hold the interactions we live/experience daily, in the interim – an unresolved, unknown space of preparation and waiting. To this end, theory is approached as a historical or contextual resource that grounds an embodied, sensate practice of holding the tension between what is desired and what remains unjust in the interim. The cultivation of this practice begins with learning to read and re-create theory experientially, in felt ways, such that word choice doesn’t bypass what is historically felt or present in the immediate relational field, but rather reverently names and holds the tension inherent within the unresolved present in interaction.
This focus on interaction does not by any means replace the political, legal or material/economic changes necessary for holistic interpersonal and systemic transformation. As such, the relational and interactive focus of this course is one dimension of many that is necessary for a consideration of sustainable change.
The primary objective of this course is to provide integrated theoretical and somatic education around ways to name and stay present to racializing phenomena in interaction. The idea is that integrated somatic and theoretical literacy in action supports the interim period in question. The discursive essence of race is such that there is no, and never can be a singular definition of it, particularly not in a transnationally constituted world where race strategically allows and prohibits different things across different geographic, cultural and historical contexts. It currently expresses itself in every dimension of evolving existence where differentiation is relevant. Race exists in advance of us because of the primacy of relative conceptual thinking in the dominant worlds we inhabit. Our objective, thus, involves intimate engagement with this depth of pervasiveness as we embark upon the consciousness shifting work of re-being relationally across contexts.
Upon completion of this 9-month intensive you will have explored the following:
- Practice assessing/tracking/naming, in real time, how race operates relationally in tandem with gender, sexuality, class, ability, citizenship, etc;
- Practice integrating somatic knowledge and critical social theory as a daily, embodied cognitive practice that supports accountable participation in the interim;
- Practice reading social theory not purely as a mental, cognitive process but as an exercise in embodied engagement;
- Practice learning to accountably walk the edge between our unresolved pasts and our unknown future;
- Practice exploring ‘extimacy’ as potential historic repair.
WHO SHOULD ENROLL:
This advanced course is designed for activists, therapists, bodyworkers, physicians, healing artists, cultural workers, professors/teachers, and advocacy professionals who situate their work in the realm of social justice praxis and are regarded with know-how in one-on-one or group/community work. It’s also ideally suited for those wanting to bring such work into one-on-one or community settings. This is not an introductory course and thus is not suitable for those new to thinking about ‘race’ or social identity. This course is for individuals who have experience with long term social process work and its inherent messiness.
- A long history of social and personal maturity with social discomfort around race, such as a capacity to sit with and learn from the inherent messiness of race/racialization and its articulations with gender, sexuality, class, ability, citizenship, etc.
- An established personal practice and/or ongoing communal or therapeutic support for being with social conflict
- Extensive experience processing your own interpersonal/intimate trauma
Support During the Course:
- There are no assistants for this class, but the content and its very delivery are pedagogically designed to support deep individual and collective containment.
- Conflict management: if you experience unresolving conflict within or with another in the class, the instructor will intervene in this process after the class or during the lunch break.
- Closed captioning
This course is offered in 3 sequences over 9 months. Class meeting time is 9am to 2:30pm PST / 12pm to 5:30pm EST / 17h to 22hr30 UK.
Sequence I: Critical Theory Embodied – Reading Race in the Relational Field
Module 1 – July 24-25
Module 2 – Sept 4-5
Module 3 – Oct 16-17
Sequence II: Feeling, Writing & Narrating Racial Transparency [Prerequisite: Sequence I]
Module 4 – Nov (days TBD)
Module 5 – Jan 8-9
Module 6 – Feb 12-13-14
Sequence III: ‘Extimacy’ as Praxis: Querying Resonant Connection & Repair in an Unresolved World [Prerequisite: Sequence II]
Module 7 – March 18-19-20-21
Module 8 – April 22-23-24-25
**You will be required to purchase books for this course
**There is a course mutual aid fund – funded by course participants – to financially support those who may need to draw from this source for tuition.
**Funds for our mutual aid account are gladly accepted from participants to support those who currently can’t meet the Tier 1 rate. These funds will be held until the completion of the course. If no one uses them they are returned to those who funded them.
Tier 1: Gross household income at/under $40,000 – Modules 1-5: $180 each / Module 6: $270 / Modules 7-8: $270 each
Tier 2: Gross household income at/under $65,000 – Modules 1-5: $300 each / Module 6: $450 / Modules 7-8: $550 each
Tier 3: Gross household income at/over $65,001 – Modules 1-5: $390 each / Module 6: $585 / Modules 7-8: $685 each
Notes on Payments:
- Payment arrangements are flexible. You can pay per module or per sequence. All payments are due 45 days in advance of each Module or Sequence. Tier 1 payments must be made per Module – there is no Sequence payment option for Tier 1. [Intentionally, there is no discount for paying in advance, as discounted payments have the effect of financially rewarding those with more income].
- Payment is via Venmo or PayPal (PayPal carries a servicing fee). If your application is accepted, you will receive an invoice for payment.
- This course involves a 9-month commitment and thus there are no refunds, with two exceptions: 1) you will be fully refunded (minus the servicing fee if you paid via PayPal), if you’ve paid but withdraw prior to the 45th day before the start of Module 1; or 2) you have an unanticipated emergency – emergencies will be respectfully considered on a case-by-case basis.
Transparency statement on what’s included in your investment: instruction, course preparation & administrative support, course syllabus, and one 1hr, live Q/A review between each Module, via Zoom.
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