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.

Our sixth series starts on 15 October 2019. To register or for more information, please email

series 6

It is Time…

The fifth series Reading Rosa, Pink & Other Colors looked critically at capitalism–patriarchy–colonialism (CPC) as the systemic weave shaping our current world-habitat. Our sixth series It is Time… takes up the thread of this troubling complexity rather than simply move elsewhere, to a new question or a different topic. But what does it mean to take up a thread? It means not just to continue with the same, but to continue and spin further, to involve another string. This image of working is inspired by the words of Bauhaus fabric artist Anni Albers, who writes in her book On Weaving (1965) that in weaving, as in study and thought, it is “possible to go from any place to any other, so also, starting from a defined and specialized field, can one arrive at a realization of ever-extending relationships” (xi).

ReadingRoom’s sixth series holds on to a focus on CPC as the fabric of our present, but also wants to interweave another string. CPC is not “simply” a global capitalist-patriarchal-colonial formation, but also lives off human exceptionalism and ecological devastation that affect “us” all, different humans and non-humans alike, yet in foundationally asymmetrical ways. It is Time…considers how we can thread a critique of the on-going environmental destruction into our critical understanding of CPC. It is Time… to re-imagine futurity (or temporality itself), to invent new languages to speak different ecologies of living. It is Time…

This ReadingRoom series is in resonance with Casco’s exhibition Het is of de stenen spreken (silence is a commons) (14 Sept – 3 Nov 2019).


Session One: Tuesday, 15 October 2019, 17.30-19.30

In our first session, we want to consider together how the on-going environmental destruction is part and parcel of CPC, the systemic weave of capitalism–patriarchy–colonialism we studied last year. It is Time… intends to combine thinking about extinction and what ending something can mean. This first session explores resonating conversations on water, sex/erotics, ongoingness and fugitivity.

We are welcoming dr. Eva Hayward (University of Arizona and Terra Critica researcher in residence 2019) as our guest. We will discuss these texts:

  • Eva Hayward, “Time of In/Difference. Extinction, Sexuality and Coral Science” (unpublished talk)
  • Eva Hayward, “FingeryEyes: Impressions of Cup Corals” Cultural Anthropology 25/4 (2010): 577-99.
  • Fred Moten, “Erotics of Fugitivity” in Stolen Life, Duke UP 2018, 241-267.
  • Koleka Putuma, “Water”

As always, ReadingRoom will be followed by a vegan dinner (contribution of 10 euro per person). To register, please email by 5 October, 2019.


Guest session @ BAK, basis voor aktuele kunst, Utrecht: Saturday, 16 November 2019, 14.00-18.00
with Propositions #9: Deserting from the Culture Wars and BAK’s Program Trainings for the Not-Yet

Training with Terra Critica: ReadingRoom on Refuge, Refuse, Refrain

Desertion means to be disloyal and to abandon. Can we desert institutions of oppression, the constraints and expectations that dis/en/able us all, the futures we loathe? And can it also mean to join anew and train together how we might relate in unforeseen ways, within (para)institutions, struggling for futures we desire? In this training session, we want to think about the dynamics of refusal and refuge, a dynamic in which moves of desertion, but also moves of solidarity and alliance are caught up. What forms of politics must we invent to form coalitions among us, as diverse people of the earth, human and non-human? Is recognition the primary tool or must we devise other methods and desires to heal the wounds of war, whiteness and patriarchy? During the training session, we will think together about the text and want to also train concretely modes of relating to those present and absent during the session. One main aim is to take account of the processes of refusal and refraining, of in/exclusion that have concretely also contributed to making our training session possible.

The session will be based on a joint reading:

  • Fred Moten, “Refuge, Refuse, Refrain” The Universal Machine (Duke 2018), 65-139.


Session Two: Tuesday, 26 November 2019, 17.30-19.30

Readings tba


Session Three: date tba

Readings tba


Session Four: date tba

Readings tba


Session Five: date tba

Readings tba


For past series, please scroll down.

The fifth series of ReadingRoom was running from October 2018 to June 2019, entitled Reading Rosa, pink & other colors. It studied the interlocking systems of capitalism – patriarchy – colonialism, which we dubbed CPC. As this series coincided with the centennial of Rosa Luxemburg’s violent death in 1919, we started with her analysis of how a capitalist economy cannot sustain itself without simultaneous colonial expansion as well as a patriarchal societal foundation. Moving forward and backward in time, the series then looked into Black feminist critiques of CPC as well as “the family” as one of its incubators. Our fifth series resonated with Casco’s exhibition Terre Thaemlitz: Two Rubatos (8 March – 12 May 2019).

The fourth series of ReadingRoom was running from February to June 2018, discussing un/learning: the p/re/distribution of knowledge. This series asked how we host, organize and maintain knowledge and, more broadly, took up questions concerning access to, institutionalization of and the distribution of knowledge in its many forms. This series was 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).

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.


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Researcher in Residence
Eva Hayward

Eva Hayward is Assistant Professor in Gender & Women's Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson USA.
She will be Terra Critica Researcher in Residence (in collaboration with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry)
at Utrecht University from October 7 to October 17, 2019.