Workshop
9 Nov 2021

Illegible Escapes

Writing and Archiving with Avery Gordon
The Hawthorn Archive, named after the richly fabled tree, has long welcomed the participants in the various Euro-American social struggles against slavery, racial capitalism, imperialism, and authoritarian forms of order. The Archive is not a library or a research collection in the conventional sense but rather a disorganized and fugitive space for the development of a political consciousness of being indifferent to the deadly forms of power that characterize our society. Housed by the Archive are autonomous radicals, runaways, abolitionists, commoners, and dreamers who no longer live as obedient or merely resistant subjects. Gordon creatively uses the imaginary of the Archive to explore the utopian elements found in a variety of resistive and defiant activity in the past and in the present, zeroing in on Marxist critical theory and the black radical tradition. Fusing critical theory with creative writing in a historical context, The Hawthorn Archive represents voices from the utopian margins, where fact, fiction, theory, and image converge.

In this workshop, participants are invited to respond and contribute to the Archive, with a text, image, little bit, concrete question mark, thread, or other fragment. The session will begin with a discussion of the collectively compiled materials, and then lead into an experimental writing workshop guided by a series of responsive prompts from the Hawthorn Archive’s ‘keeper’ Avery Gordon.

Venue

ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)

Organized by

Amelia Groom
Anja Sunhyun Michaelsen
M. Ty

In English

First published on: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/illegible-escapes/
Rights: © ICI Berlin
The philosopher Ernst Bloch declared that ‘all given existence and being itself has utopian margins which surround actuality with real and objective possibility’. This talk takes up the idea of the utopian margins, along with its distinctive temporality, and explores some of what haunts the utopian archive as it is known today. Focussing on items held by the Hawthorn Archive, the talk invites consideration of the utopian margins where running away, marronage, vagrancy, rebellion, soldier desertion and other often illegible forms of escape, resistance, and alternative ways of life predominate.

Avery F. Gordon is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and visiting professor at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of The Hawthorn Archive: Letters from the Utopian Margins (2018), The Workhouse: The Breitenau Room (2015, with Ines Schaber), Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (1997/2008), and Keeping Good Time: Reflections on Knowledge, Power and People (2004), among other books and articles. Her work focuses on radical thought and practice, and she writes about captivity, enslavement, war and other forms of dispossession and how to eliminate them. She serves on the editorial committee of the journal Race & Class and is the co-host of No Alibis, a weekly public affairs radio program on KCSB FM Santa Barbara. She was for many years the Keeper of the Hawthorn Archive.

Venue

ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)

Organized by

ICI Berlin
Cite as: ‘Illegible Escapes: Writing and Archiving with Avery Gordon’, workshop presented at the lecture Avery Gordon, Haunted Futures: The Utopian Margins, ICI Berlin, 9 November 2021 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e211109-1>