The Politics of Self-Care in an Unjust World (hybrid)

October 6, 2022 - October 9, 2022
Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory

Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Clearwater Beach 33767
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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Roksana Alavi
University of Oklahoma
Vanderbilt University
Spelman College

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**This conference will be a hybrid event. Please register by Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022 for reduced fees.**

FEAST (Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting feminist ethical perspectives on philosophy, moral and political life, and public policy that centers decolonized, intersectional, and interdisciplinary approaches. Our aim is to further the development and clarification of new understandings of ethical and political concepts and concerns, especially as they arise out of feminist concerns regarding underrepresented and marginalized women — including BIPOC, Third World, disabled, and LGBTQIA — as well as those arising from marginalized identities and marginalized issues.

For the 2022 conference, we offer the following terms as generative areas for reflection for feminist ethics, social theory, and healing practitioners:


Self-care is a healthy, restorative, self-respecting, and affirming practice. It is primarily an intentional act of grounding, establishing safety, and building protective boundaries to grow and live a full human life. As Audre Lorde says, these are acts of political warfare. Many depictions and hashtags portray self-care as an individualist act, one that often requires the acquisition of material goods and indulgent services. This requires not only time, but money. Acts of self-care are prompted as luxuries. However, due to the inherent political nature of self-care, it is communal. It is radical. It is self-love. It is social care. Given this, what ethical boundaries should be in place when we engage in self-care practices? How should our cognitive states and epistemic framing towards self-care shift to more fully actualize the political radical nature Lorde has in mind? What sorts of ethical, political, and epistemic questions arise when we practice self-care as a mode of feminist knowledge production and distribution? How do disciplinary demarcations and boundaries direct epistemic attention to “care” in some ways and not others? What are some examples of productive self-care practices that provide means of disruption, intervention, and resistance?

Transformative Justice

Transformative Justice (TJ) is a political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence. TJ can be thought of as a way of “making things right,” getting in “right relation,” or creating justice together. Transformative justice responses and interventions (1) do not rely on the state (e.g. police, prisons, the criminal legal system, ICE, foster care system—though some TJ responses do rely on or incorporate social services like counseling); (2) do not reinforce or perpetuate violence such as oppressive norms or vigilantism; and most importantly, (3) actively cultivate the things we know prevent violence such as healing, accountability, resilience, and safety for all involved.

Imagine practices of self and community care that prevent violence, hold perpetrators accountable, and enable possibilities for survivors beyond mere survival. Sustainable practices that do not depend on overwork or fetishize exhaustion. This is one element of abolitionist visioning. These practices heal and care for all kinds of selves, not only individual humans but relationships and relational networks as well.

Communal Healing

How we navigate and negotiate our relations with others seems to evoke questions about healing in more than one sense of the term. As beings who live interdependently and who err, we are sometimes generous with others despite their failings and at other times we ourselves may be received with a generosity that is not deserved. How ought we to think about this sort of communal healing when relations are already fraught due to axes of dominance and oppression? For example, who is afforded “healing” and who is not? In a different vein, as feminists we are often trying to occupy spaces in which we are not welcome and to create possibilities that current regimes relentlessly work against. How can communal healing be an act of resistance to oppression? What does “communal healing” do? And when ought it to be rejected?

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October 6, 2022, 9:00am EST

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