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Variants in the Machine: Mothering and Other-mothering Toward Afrofutures

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Variants in the Machine: Mothering and Other-mothering Toward Afrofutures


What if we saw the end of property relations, settler colonialism and racial capitalism in our lifetime? What if we were called to return to (or begin again) a different kind of living in our ‘now’? Could we answer that call? Would we be ready to bring, or bring back into existence these otherwise futures? I want to consider such questions as central to theories and practices of mothering, other-mothering and caretaking that unfold within totalizing atmospheres of anti-blackness. They chart what Eve Tuck calls the “desire-based research” that is just as needed as the more “damage-centered” work of critiquing/resisting the constellation of world-ending systems that make for the impossibility of black life. In other words, these are questions that orient our imaginative energies toward the worlds we seek to build, even as an atmosphere of antiblackness (and its accompanying settler conquest and capital accumulation) says that there is no other alternative. My claim, here, is that the work of black mothering, other-mothering and caretaking have these generative orientations at its center, exceeding mere resistance against white supremacy and its futurity. In this excess, caretaking for black life rehearses in the ‘now’ what is ‘not yet’, inserts variant and otherwise futurities into a machinery of black death-making. As such, this work of mothering, other-mothering and caretaking always unfolds as if a different future is now.

Speaker Bio:

Kris F Sealey is Professor of Philosophy at Fairfield University, where she also serves as Department Chair. In Fall 2023, she joins the Department of Philosophy at the University Park campus of Penn State University. Dr. Sealey graduated from Spelman College in 2001 with a B.Sc. in Mathematics, and received both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from The University of Memphis. Her areas of research include Continental Philosophy, Critical Philosophy of Race, Caribbean Philosophy, and decolonial theory. Her first book, Moments of Disruption: Levinas, Sartre and the Question of Transcendence, was published in December 2013 with SUNY Press. Dr. Sealey’s second book, Creolizing the Nation, published in September 2020 with Northwestern University Press, was awarded the Guillén Batista book award by the Caribbean Philosophical Association in 2022.

This Event is Co-Sponsored by

ABRI, and the Critical Race Initiative



Baha'i Chair for World Peace

For disability accommodations, please contact Baha'i Chair at

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