Pink bubbles float over a soft blue background. Text in the three largest bubbles reads, "Refugia" "Un-Disciplined" and "Political Aesthetic", respectively.

Three Axes of Necessary Feminisms


From 2023-2026, the Feminist Media Studio’s activities will center around the theme Necessary Feminisms. We focus on the various “crises” that shape our moment—climate crises; crises of occupation and settler colonial extraction; new forms of homophobia, misogyny and transphobia; bordering, carceral and deportation regimes; pandemics and others—and mobilize experimental feminist research-creative practices to understand and intervene our moment without getting trapped in a responsive modality. We will work with politically-engaged communities of activists, artists and academics to define the forces of displacement that shape our current moment, and collectively imagine forms of sanctuary, care and survival.

Our activities are centered around the following three axes:


Axis 1 | Un-disciplined: trans*/queer theory and anti-disciplinarity

The notion of un-disciplined, or of anti-disciplinarity, takes up the question and the critique of
disciplinarity with trans*, queer, feminist, anti-racist and decolonial theories. Within this research axis, we hope to explore and foster knowledge practices that work across cuts, boundaries, barriers, and binaries, but we also want to actively resist the relentless disciplinary forces which unavoidably come to shape the knowledge and communities that we create in and through academia. In this regard, we are especially interested in asking questions that help to poke and probe at the reification and the becoming-disciplined of knowledge formations which initially came to us with the opposite political intent. How, for example, is queer theory producing a disciplined version of anti-normativity, a disciplined version of subversion and subversiveness? What are the aspects of trans* theory that bring productive challenges to queer theory’s disciplined versions? How can anti-disciplinarity help embrace messiness, both in queer and trans* studies?

Our commitment to being un-disciplined or anti-disciplinary doesn’t necessarily come with an ethos of “being against”. We also hope to explore anti-disciplinary energies and literacies which stem from desire and ‘being with’, because we remain wary of the neoliberal university’s tendency to erect boundaries between academic disciplines in order to proceed with the bureaucratic management of knowledge maintenance. In and against such formations, undercommons can be forged which are able to wield both the against and the with: perhaps that is how we can hope to practice the un-disciplined.

This term, the Un-disciplined axis is leading a reading group around Paul B. Preciado’s latest book, Dysphoria Mundi (Grasset, 2022).

Lau Lefebvre, Nik Forrest, and Alexis Poirier-Saumure


Axis 2 | The Political Aesthetic: Resisting Displacement, Displacing Resistance

The Political Aesthetic screening series explores how political action is performed by taking up space and place through artistic actions. Aesthetic and imaginative practices bring an entangled web of forgotten histories, memories, and geographies in relation to one another, mediated through new forms of encounter and arrangement. We focus on art’s capacity to reveal things-in-relation through formal experimentation, performative actions, and public interventions. We are focused both on the violence of the force of displacement, and the potency of displacement as a strategy of dissent, creating temporary and shifting spaces of inhabitation and intimacy, moving things out of the way to make room for new (and potentially liberatory) forces.

The Political Aesthetic axis is leading a screening series over the course of this academic year, around the theme Resisting Displacement, Displacing Resistance. Full program coming soon.

Farah Atoui, Sanaz Sohrabi, and Laura Magnusson


Axis 3 | Refugia

Refugia are ecological habitats that are resistant to environmental disturbances. The Refugia axis consists of a series of gatherings and activities that will generate a collective reflection on these spaces of refuge that are at once ecological, social, and cultural. It considers the way in which institutions, structures, and spaces might nourish and nurture forms of care, sustainability, and flourishing. Global catastrophes of climate change, environmental degradation, and the migratory movements (both human and non-human) resulting from it, necessitate places of refuge from imperialism, racial capitalism, and ongoing settler colonialism. While Anna Tsing argues that these forms of power have wiped out most of these refugia, the Refugia axis looks for ways to reanimate them. Together we think of the refuge as a concrete modality and architecture of decolonial rootedness, residency, and belonging for liberatory futures.

More info on the projects of this axis coming soon.

Laura Pannekoek and Isabelle Boucher

AFFILIATED MEMBERS: Lau Lefebvre, Nik Forrest, Alexis Poirier-Saumure, Farah Atoui, Sanaz Sohrabi, Laura Pannekoek, Isabelle Boucher, Laura Magnusson