Professor Kathy Engel
ASPP-UT 1000 (Undergraduate section - juniors, seniors, sophomores with permission)
ASPP-UT 2000 (Graduate section with permission)
Mondays, 3:30 - 6:15pm
“Love and compassion make us unstoppable. They keep us connected. They remind us, as we navigate these machinations designed to sever our solidarity, that we, are. Family. – Makani Themba
The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet all the more astute theorists of love acknowledge that we would all love better if we used it as a verb. — Bell Hooks
It is the responsibility of the poet to say many times: there is no
freedom without justice and this means economic
justice and love justice… Grace Paley, from “Responsibility”
I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black; it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect. ― June Jordan
What do any of us mean when we say love? One of the most used words and themes in any language. This course will explore love as a verb, as a social and liberatory practice as well as a personal experience and expression – the connection between. We will engage the premise that all work for social change, for equity and liberation is (or must be?) rooted in an active engagement with love as practice, theory, discipline. The poet Ross Gay talks about be loving. We will explore the notion that everything in life has to do with relationships, beginning with oneself, and with another, an idea, a work, a practice, a place, an object, and on and on. We will explore love as complexity, in relation to wholeness, theories of love, politics of love, expressions (i.e. art, food, gifting, listening etc.) and also taboos and denials of love as a verb and social practice. We will look at questions of invitation, translation, embrace, spirituality, desire in relation to love, in relation to what community is and might be, what a third way might be, and what, for example, Grace Paley called love justice.
What is a pedagogy of love? We’ll read essays, poems, letters, fragments, prayers, explore different creative forms, and create our own, and study projects of community, resistance, world building grounded in what the late Grace Lee Boggs called “growing our souls,” including connectedness, beyond those identified as human. We will look at what indigenous teacher Sherri Mitchell in Sacred Instructions calls the myth of separation.
Biologist philosopher Andreas Weber writes in Matter and Desire:
My conviction is that being alive in an empathetic way is always a practice of love. And only be relearning to understand our existence as a practice of love will we grasp anew the overwhelming ecological and human dilemma that we face in the middle of the second decade of the twenty-first century and find the means to deal with them differently than we have thus far.
How do the myth of scarcity, the enactments of social constructs and contracts interrupt the possibility of a love economy, for example? We will look at current and past practices, the threads between, and engage theoretical and lyrical dives into what love might be in the fullest, most complex, even contradictory sense, and what love as a verb, an enormous universe of a verb, can be in relation to liberatory imagination and practice. Readings will include works by adrienne maree brown, Paolo Freire, Carol Gilligan, bell hooks, Ocean Vuong, James Baldwin, Danez Smith, Peggy and Lizzy Cooper Davis, Cecilia Vicua, Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Joy Harjo, June Jordan, Patrick Rosal, Sappho, Andreas Weber, and more. We will co create a syllabus of love.