Freedom resists guarantees of comportment. I define freedom as ways of being human in the world that exist beyond the realm of the juridical and that allow for bodily sovereignty. Rinaldo Walcott
Survival depends upon letting go of the satisfaction of othering. adrienne maree brown
On the left, there is a nominal preference for “self-crit” and “accountability” rather than outright punishment, which usually means that the person who is understood to be guilty of an offense must immediately (immediately!) denounce themselves, often publicly, and then perhaps engage in some sort of reparative labour. This in itself has the potential to be positively transformative, but requires great skill to facilitate successfully. We cannot be forced into immediate personal and spiritual growth — we must come by it willingly, or else we only end up disappointed at best and retraumatized at worst. This takes time, resources, and compassion on all sides. It takes compromise and is not immediately gratifying (nor even gratifying in the medium term, frankly). Kai Cheng Thom
2022-2023 ONLINE COURSE OFFERINGS
PRACTICING EXTIMACY IN THE EMBODIED RELATIONAL FIELD
ADVANCED, 9-MONTH ONLINE INTENSIVE
EACH INTENSIVE CAPS @ 9 PARTICIPANTS
COHORT A: MARCH 2022-NOVEMBER 2022 (FULL – IN PROGRESS)
COHORT B: DECEMBER 2022-OCTOBER 2023 (ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN – SEE DATES BELOW)
COHORT C: JANUARY 2023-OCTOBER 2023 (ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN – SEE DATES BELOW)
PLEASE EMAIL FOR UPDATED APPLICATION FORM
TO REVIEW SAMPLE APPLICATION, CLICK ‘ENROLL NOW’, BELOW
Course Guide: Kesha Fikes, Somatic Therapist, SEP, Recovering Anthropologist (Ph.D.), Independent Scholar
Instruction is in English with Closed Captioning
*Please note that this is an advanced course, thus not for beginners. If you do not have experience in social justice work or have not done your own race-centered work you will not be eligible for this course. If you have questions about your eligibility to apply or how to prepare to apply, please email Kesha.
Content for this course is registered copyrighted material – ©️2022 Kesha Fikes
This online course intensive – experiential, existential and theoretical – addresses embodied engagement with the persistence of racialization in the wake of desired social change that is yet to come. We’re living a collective, psychic moment of urgency – the kind that has historically created space for paradigm shifting – where there’s intense desire by many for radical social change, on the one hand, and fiery frustrations around the slowness of systemic change, on the other. And, if race (in its fractaled articulations with gender, queerness, sex, ability, labor, citizenship, religion, and age, and more) operates in practice as a sanctioned relational field that psychically and materially forecloses transcendence of intolerance, we reproduce hierarchy/raciality – again and again, independent of our locations or intentions – when we’re misattuned to the racialized bindings/dependencies that historically supersede and thus shape our encounters with each other. To this end, this online intensive supports the interim – a psychic ‘middle passage’, if you will – between what’s yet to be healed and our unknown collective potential. Our method is the building of a reverent exercise in continuous, relational tracking of hierarchy in interaction – the product or residue of the unresolved historical-material field. We draw upon a practice of embodied social theory – building and combining everyday skills in both somatic awareness and social theorization – to support relational tracking in interaction. The intention is not to dissolve racism because at this very moment such a move isn’t a possibility: we don’t collectively possess the tools to consciously do this – neither interpersonally or systemically (legally, economically, etc.) – at this specific, unresolved moment in time. Instead, the idea is to vulnerably notice who and what we actually are with and to each other in this immediate unresolved time of now. It’s about building profound inner and ‘extimate’ awareness, together, of what we aren’t, for the sake of exploring what we need to be with and to each other – from one second to the next – in the colonial-capitalist now. Introduced and politicized is Lacan’s concept of ‘extimacy’ as an anchor for naming the necessary, foundational process of learning to be affected without, together, within a messy environment that is inherently relational in unbalanced and thus unjust ways. The interim is about the everydayness of collectively exploring how to be in intimate dialogue with the unaddressed effects of our violent, unhealed pasts. And this thing, this response, this cultivated practice is how the term ‘extimacy’, specifically ‘somatic extimacy’, is held, practiced and even challenged in this Online Intensive.
Our approach to social theory, and particularly our holding of ‘extimacy’, will be a deeply embodied, sensory-focused endeavor. Theory will not serve its conventional purpose of objectifying race or racial/izing experience as a distanced object of intellectual scrutiny, where focus is on knowledge production instead of engaged, unlearning of relational harm in everyday life. Here, social theory supports the process of applying meaning/sense-making to felt experiences. It supports the process of relationally communicating one’s truth and intentions within the unresolved historical-material fields that hold the interactions we live/experience daily, in the interim – an unresolved, unknown space of preparation and waiting. To this end, theory is approached as a historical or contextual resource that grounds an embodied, sensate practice of holding the tension between what is desired and what remains unjust in the interim. The making of this practice begins with learning to read and re-create theory experientially, in felt ways, such that word choice doesn’t bypass what is historically felt or present in the immediate relational field, but rather reverently names and holds the tension inherent within the unresolved present in interaction.
This focus on interaction does not by any means replace the political, legal, ecological, or material/economic changes necessary for holistic interpersonal and systemic transformation. The relational and interactive focus of this course is one dimension of many that is necessary for a consideration of holistic, sustainable change.
The primary objective of this course is to provide integrated theoretical and somatic education around ways to name and stay present to racializing phenomena in interaction. The idea is that integrated somatic and theoretical literacy in action supports the interim period in question. The discursive essence of race – and its fractaled articulations with gender, queerness, sex, ability, labor, citizenship, religion, age, and more – is such that there is no, and never can be a singular definition of it, particularly not in a transnationally constituted world where race strategically allows and prohibits different things across different geographic, cultural and historical contexts. It currently expresses itself in every dimension of evolving existence where inter-related practices of extraction and differentiation are relevant. Race exists in advance of us because of the primacy of relative conceptual thinking in the dominant worlds we inhabit. Our objective, thus, involves intimate engagement with this depth of pervasiveness as we embark upon the consciousness shifting work of re-being and re-feeling relationally across contexts.
Upon completion of this 9-month intensive you will have explored the following:
- Practice assessing/tracking/naming, in real time, how race operates relationally with gender, sex, queerness, sexuality, labor, ability, citizenship, religion, age, and more;
- Practice integrating somatic knowledge and social theory as a daily, embodied practice that supports vulnerable and boundaried participation in the interim;
- Practice reading social theory not purely as a mental, cognitive process but as an exercise in embodied transformation;
- Practice learning to vulnerably walk the edges between our unresolved pasts and our unknown future;
- Practice exploring ‘extimacy’ as a foundation for potential relational repair, interpersonally and in community.
WHO SHOULD ENROLL:
This advanced course is designed for activists, therapists, bodyworkers, physicians, healing artists, conflict mediators, cultural workers, professors/teachers, advocacy professionals, etc., who situate their work in the realms of social justice praxis and are regarded with know-how in one-on-one or group/community work. It’s also ideally suited for those wanting to newly bring such work into one-on-one or community settings. This is not an introductory course and thus is not suitable for those new to thinking about ‘race’ or social identity. This course is for individuals who have experience with long term social process work and its inherent challenges and uncertainties.
- A history of social and personal maturity with social discomfort around race, such as a capacity to sit with and learn from the inherent messiness of race/racialization and its articulations with gender, sex, queerness, sexuality, labor, ability, citizenship, religion, age, and more;
- An established personal practice and/or ongoing communal or therapeutic support for being with social conflict;
- Extensive experience processing your own interpersonal/intimate trauma.
Support During the Course:
- There are no assistants for this cohort, but the content and its very delivery are pedagogically designed to support deep individual and collective containment in a diverse setting.
- Conflict management: if you experience unresolving conflict within or with another in the class, the instructor will intervene in this process right after class.
- Closed captioning
This course is offered in 3 sequences over 9 months. Class meeting time is 9:30am to 2:30pm PST / 12:30pm to 5:30pm EST / 17h30 to 22hr30 UK.
Sequence I: Social Theory Embodied – Reading Race in the Relational Field
Module 1 – Cohort B: Dec 17-18, 2022 / Cohort C: Jan 7-8, 2023
Module 2 – Cohort B: Jan 28-29, 2023 / Cohort C: Feb 18-19, 2023
Module 3 – Cohort B: Mar 11-12, 2023 / Cohort C: April 1-2, 2023
Sequence II: Feeling, Writing & Narrating Racial Opacity [Prereq: Sequence I]
Module 4 – Cohort B: Apr 22-23, 2023 / Cohort C: May 13-14, 2023
Module 5 – Cohort B: June 3-4, 2023 / Cohort C: June 24-25, 2023
Module 6 – Cohort B: July 15-16-17, 2023 / Cohort C: Aug 5-6-7, 2023
Sequence III: ‘Extimacy’ as Praxis: Querying Resonant Connection & Repair in an Unresolved World [Prereq: Sequence II]
Module 7 – Cohort B: Aug 25-26-27-28, 2023 / Cohort C: Sept 8-9-10-11, 2023
Module 8 – Cohort B: Oct 6-7-8-9, 2023 / Cohort C: Oct 20-21-22-23, 2023
**You will be required to purchase books for this course
**There is a course mutual fund – funded by course participants – to financially support those who may need to draw from this source for tuition.
**Funds for our mutual account are gladly accepted from participants to support those who currently can’t meet the Tier 1 rate. These funds will be held until the completion of the course. If no one uses them they are returned to those who funded them.
Tier 1: Gross household income at/under $40,000 & no retirement, assets, or family income/wealth (at present or in the future via inheritance) – Modules 1-5: $180 each / Module 6: $270 / Modules 7-8: $270 each
Tier 2: Gross household income at/under $65,000 – Modules 1-5: $300 each / Module 6: $450 / Modules 7-8: $550 each
Tier 3: Gross household income at/over $65,001 – Modules 1-5: $390 each / Module 6: $585 / Modules 7-8: $685 each
Contact Kesha if you are unable to afford Tier 1: NO ONE ACCEPTED INTO THIS COURSE WILL BE TURNED AWAY FOR LACK OF FUNDS.
Notes on Payments:
- You can pay per module or per sequence. Payment for Module 1 is due 45-days in advance. Payments for all other Modules are due 21 days in advance of each Module or Sequence. Tier 1 payments must be made per Module – there is no Sequence payment option for Tier 1. [Intentionally, there is no discount for paying in advance, as discounted payments have the effect of financially rewarding those with more income].
- Payment arrangements are available upon request.
- Payment is via Venmo or PayPal (PayPal carries a servicing fee). If your application is accepted, you will receive an invoice for payment.
- This course involves a 9-month commitment and thus there are no refunds, with two exceptions: 1) you will be fully refunded (minus the servicing fee if you paid via PayPal), if you’ve paid but withdraw prior to the 21st day before the start of Module 1; or 2) you have an unanticipated emergency – emergencies will be respectfully considered on a case-by-case basis.
Statement on what’s included in your payment: live instruction, course preparation & Zoom tech support, course syllabus, and one 1.5hr, live Q/A review between each Module, for Modules 1 through 6.
2021 Embodied Social Justice 50hr Certificate Program. “What Bodies do in Social Movements”
2022 Embodied Social Justice Summit. “Practicing Extimacy”. https://learn.theembodylab.com/a/2147503755/vgXoWBh2
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