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Rest as Resistance

Lecture held by Taylor Gardner


Tue., Jan. 7, 2020 6:00pm -
Tue., Jan. 14, 2020 8:00pm


Universitätsgebäude am Hegelplatz



07.01.2020 (6pm - 8pm)
14.01.2020 (6pm - 8pm)

‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’
- Audre Lorde

In recent years there has been a rise in movements that oppose neoliberal capitalist ideology (characterised by a demand for ‘wellness’ and subsequently a constant flow of productivity and output), favouring instead an ethics centring pleasure, sustainability and care.

Despite this increasing resistance towards the demands of productivity and wellness, and increasing popularity of care-centred ethics both within and outwith feminist circles, (e.g. ‘self-care’ movement, wellness and health generally, yoga, meditation, spirituality, sustainability etc.), there are still many contradictions between adopting these interests and ideologies in order to be able to work more efficiently within current political and economic power structures, and embodying these ideologies as a form of resistance against neoliberal capitalism.

The focus of my lecture series will be to analyse some of these contradictions with the intention of destabilising the notion of ‘care’ as an inherently positive, ‘natural’ and apolitical notion. We will explore alternative understandings of ‘care,’ and encourage resistance to neoliberal demands while envisioning more collective forms of care.

The lectures will be split into 3 sections. First we will look at the origins of ‘self-care,’ and how it has changed, stemming from Lorde’s use of the term in the civil rights movement, as a radical form of resistance (Lorde 1988), to the way the term has been co-opted and commodified today. Secondly, we will consider rest as a form of resistance, focusing specifically on examples in contemporary art. We will think through questions including: how is care gendered? How is who and what we care about politically and socially determined? How does care become a moral pressure for workers - how are (care) workers expected to provide care as a waged form of labour, and what are some of the issues with this? (Horschild 2012) How do current narratives present self-care as a regime, another form of work to be endured? Who is afforded the right to rest? How can self-care be anti-capitalist?

We will conclude by considering how we can move towards collective forms of care, and dissent from neoliberal understandings of the body and mind as projects to be managed and ultimately conquered.

The lecture will be held in English
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Further information

Organizer: Student Lecture Series Humboldt
Speakers: Taylor Gardner
Sponsored by: Bologna Lab

Further information on the event's website


SVR - Student Lecture Series
Phone: 015733577441


Dorotheenstraße 24
Room: 1.308