Puleng and Michelle will engage a doubled conversation, between South Africa and the U.S., about gender-based violence and about the curious epistemic silence, even in critical psychology, about gendered and racialized violence as a deep sedimentary layer, trans-national and trans-historic, of (in)human(e) existence. This crisis of COVID19 – as it forces us into our homes - simply amplifies the relentless and reliable capillaries of gendered and racialized violence always with us, differently across time/space and yet achingly familiar.
Through the lens of decolonial feminism, drawing from Maria Lugones, we each tell a story of devastation and radical possibility - as a parable for how this crisis makes evident the gendering of violence, especially black women, and yet how 'natural' and enduring it is - a constant moan in South Africa, India, the US, among native women in Canada, and other places around the globe.
Drawing from critical race philosopher Charles Mills and his writings on epistemologies of ignorance, we will consider how/why this devastation is not yet worthy of sustained attention in policy or critical psychology, even as racial/gendered violence against women (cis and trans) saturates and organizes government, colonialism, racial capitalism, the military, homes, relations on the streets, children’s cartoons, pornography and schools, with rarely a mention. Except periodically to note, as if surprised, the “spikes,” which serve to obscure the chronicity, what Michael Billig might call the banality.
We end with stories of radical resistance, mobilized in local spaces, in Africa and in the U.S., by activist and everyday women who dare to resist at home and echo across trans-national borders, unleashing rich forms of intimate activisms by willful collectives of women and trans people around the globe (thank you Sara Ahmed). We argue that the documentation and theoretical framing of resistance rises, today, as an unmet obligation of critical psychology. We call for critical scholarship that recognizes the crisis is always upon/within us and seeks to excavate the bold and relentless heartbeat of resistance that circulates under the covers, in the shadows, online, on the streets, at work, in film, through law and in quiet and loud sites of imagined liberation of the flesh and desire.