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 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.