Imagine Otherwise: Chris Barcelos on Beginning from Educated Hope

Jan 27, 2021 | Podcast

Educated Hope

It’s the beginning of a new year and normally that would mean a flurry of ambitious new projects, goals, and plans to achieve them both. But ten months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are hesitant to begin new things right now, given the degree of uncertainty shaping our world and our daily lives.

In episode 125 of Imagine Otherwise, I interview sexuality studies and public health scholar Chris Barcelos. Chris uses José Esteban Muñoz’s concept of educated hope to illustrate how we can begin activist, artistic, and academic projects now that feed our long-term vision for a better world—even in the middle of a pandemic.

In our conversation, Chris and I chat about pivoting socially engaged research to fit new circumstances, creative ways to launch a book during a pandemic, the reason it’s so important to foreground reproductive justice in public health campaigns, and why beginning with access intimacy and critical messiness is how Chris imagines otherwise.

Chris Barcelos wearing a blue and white shirt. Quote reads: It might seem foolish or impractical to be imagining a new world in this moment when everything is a disaster and everything seems broken. But we can also think of this as a moment when we have space to rebuild. When everything seems broken, what can we build from it?
Chris Barcelos wearing a blue and whit shirt. Quote reads: I’m really interested in messiness and liberation work is messy work. Intellectual work is messy work, and we need to sit with that mess rather than running from it.

Chris Barcelos

Chris Barcelos is a disciplinarily promiscuous, humanistic social scientist who works at the intersections of sexuality studies, critical race/ethnic studies, and critical public health.

They are an assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where they are also affiliated faculty with the Critical Ethnic and Community Studies and Latino Studies Programs.

Their first book, Distributing Condoms and Hope: The Racialized Politics of Youth Sexual Health, is a feminist ethnographic analysis of community-based public health efforts in a particular racially and economically marginalized community.

Chris is currently working on a political education and leadership development project for trans youth that will be made available as an open-source curriculum in 2021. They have also published on transfeminist health pedagogy and the politics of medical crowdfunding.

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