ReadingRoom is a local Terra Critica practice in Utrecht with the collaboration of Casco Art Institute. It is open to anyone interested in careful close readings.

ReadingRoom is meant to create an open and inclusive space for substantial and meaningful conversations in the humanities, the arts and beyond.

ReadingRoom is open to anyone interested in careful close readings. It strives to create an open and inclusive space for substantial and meaningful conversations in the humanities, the arts and beyond. In the face of the current pressure for applied science and socio-economic profitability, reading and its crystallizing of critical questions are skills to refine in order to sharpen our understanding of and practicing in this world. We understand reading as an active intervention into our present, a shared practice that sharpens our senses and enables new affective communities.

ReadingRoom holds one thematic series per year, with 4-6 meetings per series. Each time we base our conversations on a few key texts from a wide range of disciplines.

The fourth series of ReadingRoom is currently running, discussing un/learning: the p/re/distribution of knowledge. This series asks how we host, organize and maintain knowledge and, more broadly, will take up questions concerning access to, institutionalization of and the distribution of knowledge in its many forms. For feminist, decolonial and anti-capitalist struggles, the p/re/distribution of knowledges – linked to un/learning our habits of embodied thinking and acting – is a key tool of critical practice. Who has left what ‘unread’? How can we and what must we unread for the re/distribution of knowledge? And how to p/re/distribute what is or could become common/ing? This series is in part inspired by the exhibition project The Library of Unread Books by Heman Chong and Renée Staal at Casco Art Institute (26 November 2017 – 25 February 2018).

In our first meeting, we discussed un/learning from artistic, decolonizing and feminist angles. In our future meetings, we want to take ‘phenomena’ – envisioned are ‘mountains’ (March), ‘waste’ (May) and ‘time’ (June) – as topics per session to un/learn them from different perspectives and for commoning in the anthropocene. Can we un/learn our relations with these phenomena? Tell other stories, relate otherwise?

Upcoming sessions:

Session Two: Tuesday, 27 March 2018, 17:00-19.30
(Please note, we are switching to a Tuesday!)

In our second session, we’ll ask about un/learning our relations to mountains, the geoformations that in the Western hemisphere have as much been linked to the divine or the sublime as they are reduced to natural resource and mere matter in mining and mountain-top removal. Given these dominant legacies, we ask if it is possible to p/re/distribute knowledges of mountains otherwise; or to un/learn ourselves with, from and for them, from different perspectives and for commoning in the anthropocene.

Our readings for March 27, 2018 are:

Etel Adnan, Journey to Mount Tamalpais (The Post-Apollo Press 1986) selection: pp. 9-23; 51-63.

Michael Marder, “On the Mountains, or the Aristocracies of Space” Environment, Space, Place 4/2 (2012): 63-74 (available @

Marisol de la Cadena, Earth Beings. Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds (Duke 2015) selection: “Story 3: Mariano’s Cosmopolitics: Between Lawyers and Ausangate” (91-116); “Epilogue: Ethnographic Cosmopolitics” (273-286).

To register, please send an email to, by Monday, March 19, 2018.

Session Three: Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Readings to be announced.

Session Four: Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Readings to be announced.

You can find more details on past sessions in this series here. For more on our past series, please scroll down.

The third series of ReadingRoom was running from September 2016 until May 2017, discussing WHO CARES? – Politics and Poetics in the Affirmative. We studied feminist, decolonial and aesthetic interventions ‘in the affirmative’ into our contemporary planetary situation – especially looking at alternative spaces of education, activism and art and pursuing affirmation as a promising poetico-political tool to pass from mere opposition and negation to space-opening refusal.

The second series of ReadingRoom was running from September 2015 to February 2016, discussing relationality – envisioning new wor(l)dings. Relationality is one of the fundamental conditions of critical assessments and interventions today and has been very productively theorized in Caribbean thought and poetics. We engaged mainly with Fanon, Glissant and Wynter.

The first series of ReadingRoom was running from December 2014 to May 2015, discussing speculation & fabulation – critique in the SF mode. We looked at the theory and diverse forms of science fiction, reinvesting in imagination and speculation as crucial affective-critical tools for our present.

ReadingRoom participated in the exhibition @ Casco titled Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, which ran from Friday 26 May 2017 and through until 16 July 2017. To learn more about this project please click here.

ReadingRoom has received financial supported from the national research schools of Gender Studies (NOG) and Literary Studies (OSL) and by Aspasiagelden Diversiteitsbeleid.


Symptoms of the
Planetary Condition

A Critical Vocabulary



co-organized with Casco Art Institute
new series running February - June 2018


New Critical Humanities

Book Series
What does it mean for the humanities to be critical today?


New Publication

Jacques Lezra, Untranslating Machines
Part of the New Series: New Critical Humanities