Keynote Address

Disarming Ourselves, Decolonizing Care: Radical Dharma Approaches for Courageous Transformation

Watching the world wake up from history has sent many of us scrambling for answers about how to better care for ourselves and each other in ways that push back against the enclosures of fear, isolation, and alienation, to reach across lines of difference and begin the collective work of healing backwards towards an emergent understanding of the current moment and the possibilities for social change it holds. Rev. angel Kyodo williams reminds us that “without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.” This talk draws on the teachings of Rev. angel and Lama Rod Owens to extend the reach of contemplative space from the seat of personal awakening towards a courageous transformation of our collective responsibility for disarming ourselves and decolonizing the ways we care for each other in the spaces we live, work, learn, and grow.

Friday, November 8, 2019
5:30 pm
Campus Center Auditorium (CCA)

Dr. Jasmine K. Syedullah

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Vassar College

Jasmine Syedullah is a black feminist political theorist of abolition, and co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation (North Atlantic Books, 2016). She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Vassar College. Her current research intervenes in the field of political theory to ask how the carceral logics of modern freedom are challenged by captive black women’s demands for abolition. She roots her black feminist theory of abolition in the nineteenth-century writings of antislavery abolitionist Harriet Jacobs, namely the implications of her initial escape from slavery documented in her 1861 slave narrative to the tiny garret space she refers to as her “loophole of retreat.” With Jacobs as its foundation, her current book project, If Home Were a Loophole: Fugitives of Domestic Violence and the Unfinished Work of Abolition brings nineteenth together with twentieth-century abolitionist struggles against slavery and incarceration to better understand how women’s defense against the surveillance, policing, detention, criminalization, and punishment of everyday practices of self-making pose challenges to the kinds of relationships to racial capitalism by which they are bound.

Syedullah holds a PhD in Politics with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies and History of Consciousness from University of California Santa Cruz and a B.A. from Brown University in Religious Studies with a focus in Western Nihilism and Buddhist Philosophy.

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