[Mahindra Humanities] Cultivating Joy and Collective Restoration: (Re)Imagining & (Re)Claiming Pleasure & Liberation


Saturday, April 24, 2021 (All day) to Sunday, April 25, 2021 (All day)


Online via registration

Graduate Student Conference


Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities around the world have long engaged in cultivating individual and collective pleasure, healing, and liberation, both as resilience mechanisms in the face of oppression and as celebrations in their own right. In recent times, with the ubiquity of traumatic occurrences such as the COVID-19 pandemic, state-sanctioned violence against exploited and marginalized communities, and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change, living under negligent systems has felt increasingly harrowing and inescapable. Many entities working to enable social change tend to ground their efforts in damage-based frameworks that focus on the negative impacts of injustices against historically and currently oppressed peoples. But these communities are so much more than their pain and traumas. They are actualizing better futures on their own terms with resources they already have, extrinsic and intrinsic to themselves. 

To encourage expansiveness in navigating the complexities of these narratives, we are hosting a virtual conference that asks: How are people and communities reimagining and reclaiming pleasure and healing through creative and cultural embodiment? In what ways is this liberatory/ restorative/ resilience work, particularly during times of crisis?

From April 24-25, 2021, we will virtually convene via Zoom to:

  1. utilize the power of collective-imagination to center communities’ joys and ambitions for their present realities and futures, and
  2. explore sustainable embodied resilience and what it means for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people to deliberately choose pleasure and healing, especially when the systems governing our world make it difficult to do so.

About the Organizers

Onisha Etkins, MS and Sherine Andreine Powerful, MPH are the conference organizers. As Black Caribbean Feminist public health doctoral candidates at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, we strive to center pleasure, healing, and liberation in our daily lives and create/curate spaces to unapologetically honor our desires and tensions within and outside of university spaces.

The Mahindra Humanities Center provides primary sponsorship, with additional co-sponsorship from the Franćois Xavier-Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights and the Women, Gender, and Health Interdisciplinary Concentration.

All MHC event times are in Eastern Time.