As we continue to live through a global pandemic, a recognition of “care work" has entered our common lexicon. In the 1980s and 90s, social scientists turned attention to the lived experiences of workers in the care professions, coining phrases like “emotional labor” (Hochschild 1983) to describe the management of emotions necessary to perform certain kinds of “pink-collar” work. Scholarship in critical race studies has insisted that intimate labor (Parreñas 2015), rather than being limited to individual professions, is central to the functioning and sustenance of empire, and questioned notions of touch, service, domesticity and disposability associated with "care" in relation to slavery and its afterlives (Spillers). This theme invites reflections on contemporary theorizations of "care", including scholarship on caring relations of all kinds; the ethics and politics of care; and the historical modalities of care work. Who gives and receives care? How do we reconcile the ongoing racialized and gendered weight of care alongside new demands to "automate" care work?  How might caring relations enact their own forms of violence? How do demands to care or express solidarity elide differences and advance the interests of cultural hegemony?  What might a care ethics look like that considers the complexities of relational interdependency, rather than centering  individual rights? Topics may include ethnographies and histories of care professions; unwaged care labor; care robotics and AI; vulnerability and disability justice; critical theorizations of care and antiblackness; political, cultural, aesthetic, and archival economies of care.



All lectures begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.  Locations vary by date.


In the Room: Women of Color Doulas in a Time of Crisis

JENNIFER NASH • Duke University • via Zoom


"So-Called Reconciliation": Empty Signifiers and Settler Political Community

JOSEPH WEISS • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Bad Care and Injustice

JOAN TRONTO • University of Minnesota • via Zoom


Artificial Intimacies: Eldercare Robots and Animate Companionship

MITALI THAKOR • Wesleyan University • via Zoom


Recontextualizing the Movement for Artists' Rights

LAUREN van HAAFTEN-SCHICK •  Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Entangled Empathy: Race, Place, Space

LORI GRUEN • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Looking Out; or How to Carefully Read a Record of Racial Violence 

AUTUMN WOMACK • Princeton University • Daniel Family Commons


"No" and Other Phrases Black Womxn (Should) Use to Take Care of Ourselves

COURTNEY PATTERSON-FAYE •  Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Wayward Wynterians: Reading the Aesthetic's Violence Against the Humanist Grain

HENRY WASHINGTON, JR. • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Dark Feelings: Sentimentality and Gothic Abolitionism in Nineteenth-Century Cuba

JUAN ESTEBAN PLAZA • Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctural Fellow, Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Coded Care:  Racial Justice and the Future of Work

ANNA ROMINA GUEVARRA • University of Illinois at Chicago • via Zoom


The Government Does Not Care

DEAN SPADE • Seattle University School of Law • via Zoom