Care and the Commons: Experiments in alter-politics

This talk will discuss a set of ethical-political configurations that are increasingly emerging in cities – they take the shape of what I’m calling a decolonial, feminist commons. In the face of extreme inequality and disenfranchisement, people are coming together in various ways to challenge regimes of private property, and to enact new forms of horizontal, structural care (which differ significantly from humanitarian care). I will discuss several such commoning practices, which include the occupations of public spaces and buildings by undocumented migrants, forms of mutual aid such as free fridges and stores, and affective and political configurations that respond to the Covid19 pandemic, often inspired by the Movement for Black Lives. The goal is to think about a non-innocent ethics and politics of living together in a world where – as Covid19 has rendered clear — we are in a life-and-death embrace with each other that no one can escape.

Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Ph.D Program in Anthropology at CUNY’s Graduate Center and author of many articles, essays and books, including Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (2012, University of California Press).