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Stuart Hall Library Research Network: Duties of Self-Care

Research Network Reading Group: Thinking With Care Maria Puig de la Bellacasa

19 Apr 2018

This new series of reading groups will critically engage with issues underpinning the 'Duties of Self-Care' Research Network programme.

  • Venue

    Stuart Hall Library

  • 6.30 - 8.30pm
    Free, all welcome.

    Please reserve your free place in advance by booking using the link at the end of the page.

This will be the first Stuart Hall Library Research Network Reading Group. Each reading group session will look at a text that helps us to think more deeply about what we mean by self-care, and how we might approach a politics of care. There is no need to read in advance, all texts will be read together during the session. However, if you would like to read the chapter in advance, please email library@iniva.org.

relations of thinking and knowing require care and affect how we


The first Research Network reading group will read and discuss ‘Thinking with Care’, chapter 2 of Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds. Bellacasa discusses care in terms of knowledge politics and bodies as objects of knowledge. She articulates an ethics of care grounded in posthuman relations:

Interdependency is not a contract, nor a moral idea – it is a condition. Care is therefore concommitant to the continuation of life for many living beings in more than human entanglements – not forced upon them by a moral order, and not necessarily a rewarding obligation.

We could reflect on this chapter in the context of artist Ada Xiaoyu Hao‘s previous Research Network performance presentation, and curator Annie Jael Kwan‘s response. Hao’s practice of live performance considers the relation of care with and for her audience, and with and as technology. Her practice, and other performed practices, may embody something of Bellacasa’s ideas:

A politics of care goes against the bifurcation of consciousness that would keep our knowledge untouched by anxiety and inaccurateness. Involved knowledge is about being touched rather than observing from a distance.

We will be instrumentalising Bellacasa’s text to lay the groundwork for our critical thinking about self-care, opening it out to consider the relational nature of care beyond just the self, or even the human. We will bring this back to specific intersectional thought in future groups, to read for example from Sylvia Wynter’s Unsettling the Coloniality of Being, or Judith Butler’s Precarious Life. This group is open to suggestions and sharing of texts. There is a list here that you can add to, or you can email suggestions to library@iniva.org. As Donna Haraway says, in an often-quoted line from her recent book Staying with the Trouble:

  It matters what thoughts think thoughts. It matters what knowledges know knowledges. It matters what relations relate relations. It matters what worlds world worlds.

It also matters how we approach these, in what spirit. This group is open to all, it is a supportive and peer-led space for thinking and learning together. It is a space for constructive disagreements and critical engagement, that is always based on mutual respect, interest and care.