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Charting new journeys toward the next worlds, despite our inherent embeddedness, co-constituency, and even complicity in what we may oppose: What a responsibility we have! Luckily, we are not alone. After all, creating knowledge aimed at transformation is always already a collective endeavour. We learn from others and with each other.

 

The waters we are navigating may as well be unknown to us, but it may be encouraging to know that others sailed here before. In preparing for our maritime journey, I studied some of the scholarly and otherwise maps they left us and brought them aboard. Altogether, these maps constitute the resources I confronted to orient myself in this writing. So, my references! While you can find all of them by scrolling down, here I care to present the ones that have been most significant to me. 

First of all, I care to say that studying such maps, for me, was a watershed. The saltwater in me was shed while reading. It moved old and new pain, healed wounds, lulled me in the warm embrace of hope, and made me feel at home and desire to offer a similar experience to others and share it with each other.

 

But also, there was a life before and after such readings, and there was me before and after such readings. Although each in its unique way, all the maps I used in this writing proved informative, inspiring, and transformative in my personal and political life. I am sharing them with you not only because I am required to, but also because I hope that in offering them tribute, you might decide to consult them on your own and abandon yourself to their transformative potential.

You know, a few days ago, a member of our ciurma sent me an Instagram post. It read the following quote by Roberto Bazlen, Italian writer and publicist: “Che un libro valga la pena o no, lo decide la trasformazione che opera la lettura in me [Whether a book is worthwhile or not is determined by the transformation that reading it prompts in me]” (Adelphi Edizioni, 2023). I write this quote here because, usually, the type of transformation a text offers me is the criteria I use to select reading material to bring into the workshop space.

 

Since I assembled this writing in the likeness of the workshop space, I decided to adopt the same criteria in assembling the maps for our journey. Almost exclusively, I carried aboard only the ones that changed me in significant ways while reading them. So, here they are!

 

As mentioned earlier, most of the fellow pirates who authored such maps are in a complicated, dissident, or even criminal relationship with the academy, just like me. Some of them decided to cut ties with the academy (hooks, 2003) and, in some cases, resign from it (Ahmed, 2017). Hear, hear: A mutiny!

 

About feminist theory, they taught me that when we do not separate it from practice, it can be liberatory (hooks, 1994). They also taught me that theory does more the closer it gets to the skin (Ahmed, 2001), and that as we talk about the political starting from the body, the personal, and the quotidian, we can create and share knowledge in more accessible and transformative ways (Ahmed, 2017).

 

Other fellow pirates (Anzaldúa and Keating, 2002; Simpson, 2017) decided to stay in the academy and engage in a politically informed practice of refusal, which materialises in both what and how they write, carrying out academic, activist, creative, artistic, and even spiritual endeavours all at once. For this writing presents a similar convergence, I am indebted to them for all the knowledge in their writing as well as the possibility to bring this (type of) writing within academic settings. 

Some fellow pirates (Harney and Moten, 2013) embraced fugitivity and entered into a criminal relationship with(in) the academy, underlining the common(s) reality that “we must change things or die” (p.10). As they propose that “the only possible relationship to the university today is a criminal one” (Harney and Moten, 2013, p.25), I believe their stance somehow validates the unruly nature of this ship.

 

Their maps reassured me that study is not what we do when we call it as such; after all, “the possession of a term does not bring a process or practice into being” (hooks, 1994, p.61). Rather, study is an intellectual and social endeavour we do with and for; a form of rehearsal, even, “like being in a kind of workshop” (Harney and Moten, 2013, p.110). Perhaps, like a TSI workshop.

 

Moreover, I also believe their stance somehow validates my commitment as a fugitive pirate who steals from the academy to disseminate feminist knowledge beyond it. Namely, I often pirated copyrighted material from the academy's online library and other pirate websites to disseminate it among the workshop participants who could or would have never possibly studied it otherwise. 

Some fellow pirates (Braidotti, 2022, Federici, 2020; Haraway, 2016) produced maps that, other than being widely known, may appear challenging to decipher for both academic and non-academic readers. Despite their density, I find they offer indispensable “burst[s] of light” (Lorde, 1988) for when our feminist journeys reach their darkest.

 

Namely, these pirates showed me how unexpected coalitions across given categories materialise as the only option for collective survival (Haraway, 2016). They inspired me to write while longing for my words to be “active outside of the written page” (Braidotti, 2022, p.13) and to give “enough of a damn about the world to look at the broader picture while trying to minimise the fractures” (Braidotti, 2022, p.9).

 

They reminded me that our struggles must begin with the reappropriation of our bodies (Federici, 2020), as bodies present a natural limit to exploitation and hold the immanent capacity to transform themselves, others, and the world. Specifically, this limit can be thought of as a conscious, collective, and evolutionary structure of needs and desires, including the “need for the sun, for the blue sky and the green of trees, for the smell of the woods and the oceans, the need for touching, smelling, sleeping, making love” (Federici, 2020, p.120). 

Finally, there is a last bunch of pirates who were not affiliated with or working at any academic institution. In a way, they are the ones I am most indebted to. Their voices come from quite different locations yet all somehow eventually flow to the collective vision of the sea. I believe that in their maps, the collective vision of the sea figures as a place that is miraculous or doomed, but always a place where transformation emerges and revolutionary subjects are produced. Among these subjects are: emergent strategists (brown, 2017), the Sick Woman (Hedva, 2017), and marine mammals (Gumbs, 2020). 

Emergent strategy is something I only encountered while preparing for this maritime journey. A concept and approach developed by brown (2017), emergent strategy builds on the idea that complex systems, such as groups, communities, and social movements, can achieve transformation by embracing adaptability, decentralisation, and interconnectedness.

 

Emergent strategy offered me words to talk about the magic I was already witnessing in my life thanks to TSI, as well as keys to unlocking new pathways to personal and political, individual and collective transformation. In particular, this writing would not be the same had I not read brown’s books Emergent strategy and Holding change, which I highly recommend to find inspiration, better understand transformative work, and possibly assemble “containers in which life transforms and the future unfolds” (brown, 2021, no pagination), like the workshop space. 

From queer crip feminist Johanna Hedva's essays ‘Sick Woman Theory’ and ‘Get well soon’, I apprehended the revolutionary potential of “doom as a liberatory condition” (Johanna Hedva, 2023) and that of care, which “demands that we live as though we are all interconnected—which we are” (Hedva, 2020b, no pagination). I learned that the pain weighing on my chest does not necessarily originate in me but may come to me from a world that “invents illness as temporary” and “conceive[s] of care and support in the same way” (Hedva, 2020a, no pagination).

 

For this reason, care for others and each other may constitute “the most anti­capitalist protest” (Hedva, 2020a, no pagination). Thanks to Hedva (2020b), I also realised that in English “the words caregiver and caretaker mean the same thing” (no pagination), suggesting that in our brave spaces, where multiple relationships of care are acknowledged and honoured, we may be invited to give as we are able but also take what we give and give what we take. 

Last but not least, the breathtaking work of Alexis Gumbs (2020) taught me invaluable Black feminist lessons from marine mammals. These proved essential, especially given the maritime nature of our journey. I learned how to undrown in the context of drowning and how to breathe in unbreathable circumstances. I learned that “if I breathe I can still speak even while crying. I can breathe through salt water. I can live through this mess” (no pagination), this mess being what we endure “every day in the chokehold of racial gendered ableist capitalism” (no pagination).

 

I learned that “my love is textured, massive, scarred. My love is breathing, writing, path. [...] My love, I hear you in my gut” (no pagination). Finally, I learned that love can take the form of writing and writing can become a path. A ship course, even. And so I found myself on this ship, writing about my love for feminist theory as textured, massive, scarred. And so I found myself on this ship, writing a story and testimony of transformation as a maritime path. From gut to gut. From mine to yours.

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