Keynote Presentation

Revolutionary Loneliness 

This presentation will explore the liberation narratives of militant women and gender-variant revolutionaries such as Assata Shakur, Sylvia Rivera, Safiya Bukhari, Yuri Kochiyama, Marilyn Buck, Susanna Ronconi, and several others. I will discuss how the experience of gendered and racialized forms of suffering can produce a sense of loneliness—an affective condition that emerges from feeling like one’s existence is socially unintelligible. In addition to examining loneliness as an effect of relations in society at large, I will look at the forms of alienation that are produced in the process of of struggle. Historically, revolutionary movements have based their politics on (implicitly) masculine and white positions and thus fail to eradicate social alienation. Within these struggles certain forms of suffering are dismissed because they are considered banal, everyday, insignificant, or derivative and therefore are not considered proper points of departure for revolutionary struggles. This begs the question: which forms of suffering are considered political? Which manifestations of self-sacrificed are considered heroic, and which are considered trivial? The last part of the presentation will be a consideration of how to “collectivize” our wounds and to transform loneliness into a condition of radical possibility.

Jackie Wang is a writer currently based out of Las Cruces, NM. She writes about politics, literature, theory, and culture, she has published experimental essays and poetry in Pank Magazine, Delirious Hem, Action Yes, Oyster Kiln, and the anthology Other Tongues. She is a part of the Moonroot Collective (an ongoing zine project that features the writing of Asian women and trans* people) and has made short films about topics such as sexualized police brutality against women and bodily intimacy in the age digital disembodiment. Her zines and chapbooks include On Being Hard Femme, Memoirs of a Queer Hapa, The Adventures of Loneberry, and the Phallic Titty Manifesto. In her critical essays she writes about queer sexuality, race, gender, the politics of writing, mixed-race identity, prisons and police, the politics of safety and innocence, and revolutionary struggles. Through her poetry she is trying to create a queer, anti-colonial, weird-girl poetics of the body using hybridized writing styles. She is currently working on a book about revolutionary loneliness for the Semiotext(e) Intervention Series.