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 fifth series entitled Reading Rosa, Pink & Other Colors starts in October 2018.
In a lecture that Boaventura de Sousa Santos gave in Utrecht in May 2018 and that resonated with our last ReadingRoom series, he emphasized that the key oppressive vectors of our current world-habitat must be thought in conjunction. These key vectors are: capitalism – patriarchy – colonialism (CPC). To only critically engage and try to un/learn one, or even two of those dimensions while disregarding the third, is insufficient. They form a systemic weave. Hardly any work is better suited to explore those interwoven powers than that of economist, philosopher and anti-war activist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919). As this fifth series of ReadingRoom moves into 2019 – the centennial of her violent death – we want to embark on an exploration of her thought and its afterlives. Luxemburg analyzed how a capitalist economy cannot sustain itself without simultaneous colonial expansion as well as a patriarchal societal foundation – an analysis that both builds on and transforms more classical Marxist or Leninist traditions. Her way of “reading capital” is a most powerful critical intervention, and thus we also see her as a model for enacting the practice of reading so dear to ReadingRoom.
In this series, we want to closely read Rosa’s and other resonating writings to delve into a critical, collective, careful reading of the interlocking system of CPC. (Feminist) critical analyses of CPC are alive and future-looking, and we hope to learn tools of resistance for the present from them. After we worked with more diffractive patterns of diverse shorter readings in series four, in this season we return to the roots of ReadingRoom and closely read fewer texts per session, to really dig deep. The fifth series of ReadingRoom is co-curated with Tjalling Valdés Olmos.
To register for a session, please send an email to email@example.com at least two weeks ahead of time.
Session Three: Tuesday, 29 January 2019 (17.00-19.30)
- The Combahee River Collective Statement (1977)
- Cathy Cohen’s 1997 text “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” in GLQ 3 (4): 437-465.
- and an interview with Barbara Smith, from the edited volume How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective (2017); edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.
Session Four: Tuesday, 19 March 2019 (17.00-19.30)
Readings tba, followed by a vegan dinner
Session Five: date to be confirmed
For more on our past series, please scroll down.
Session One: Wednesday, 31 October 2018 (17.00-19.30)
The first session embarked on reading Rosa, as the series’ title announces. We read Rosa Luxemburg’s analysis of capitalism – patriarchy – colonialism (CPC) and one of her thought’s contemporary echoes today. Readings for this session were:
- Rosa Luxemburg, chapter 26 “The Reproduction of Capital and its Social Setting” from her The Accumulation of Capital (1913) @ https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1913/accumulation-capital/
- recommended background: The Accumulation of Capital chapter 1 “The Object of our Investigation”
- Silvia Federici, “The Reproduction of Labor Power in the Global Economy and the Unfinished Feminist Revolution (2008)”, in Revolution at Point Zero (2012)
Session Two: Tuesday, 11 December 2018 (17.00-19.30)
After reading Rosa Luxemburg together in our first session sparked great discussions, we continued with her also for the second session to dig a little deeper, but also include her more poetic voice as well as its resonances in art and activism. The session engaged with these readings:
A selection of her Letters from Prison @ https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1918/letters-sophie.htm:
- Breslau mid Dec 1917
Margarete von Trotta’s biopic Rosa Luxemburg (1986, 1:58’’) available @https://archive.org/details/RosaLuxemburg
and Sean O’Toole’s piece from South Magazine @ https://www.documenta14.de/en/south/25212_memory_image_on_rosa_luxemburg_s_prison_letters_and_gender_violence.