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In episode 155 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews disability media studies scholar Meryl Alper. Meryl is the author of 3 books about how kids with disabilities use digital technologies, including her most recent book, ​​Kids Across the Spectrums: Growing Up Autistic in the Digital Age. Kids Across the Spectrums is out now from MIT Press and it is the first book-length ethnography of the digital lives of diverse young people on the autism spectrum. In their conversation, Cathy and Meryl chat about how autistic and neurodivergent youth and their families resist popular assumptions about their media use while also using digital technologies like TikTok, Scratch, and YouTube to build community, explore identity, and learn new skills. Meryl also shares some behind-the-scenes context about how she navigated ethnographic research during the pandemic and found the spark for this current book in some of her earlier research. They delve into why moral panics over how autistic kids use media often index broader cultural anxieties over how technology is altering society and what it means for the actual youth caught in the middle of these debates. Cathy and Meryl close out the episode with how Meryl imagines otherwise to help build a more just future that centers the worldviews, needs, and desires of neurodivergent and disabled youth. Transcript and show notes:  
In episode 154 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews performance artist and gender studies scholar Kristie Soares about the political power of pleasure, laughter, and joy in Latinx media. Kristie’s new book Playful Protest: The Political Work of Joy in Latin Media has chapters about gozando in salsa music, precise joy among the New Young Lords Party, choteo in the comedy ¿Qué Pasa U.S.A.?, azúcar in the life and death of Celia Cruz, dale as Pitbull’s signature affect, and silliness in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s interventions into political violence. In the episode, Kristie shares her journey into studying what joy can do for social and political movements as well as the pleasure-filled genealogies of feminist, queer, and trans of color artists and cultural producers that shaped her approach to political joy. She also gives us a behind-the-scenes look into some almost-book moments, or what didn’t end up in this book but that opened onto a new project about queer excess. Cathy and Kristie close out the conversation with Kristie’s project of building a world where QTPOC  joy is not policed and pleasure is embraced as an integral part of social, economic, and political life. Transcript and show notes:  
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews literature professor Cynthia Franklin about the politics of life writing.  Cynthia’s new book Narrating Humanity: Life Writing and Movement Politics from Palestine to Mauna Kea traces the complex ways activists, artists, cultural producers, and scholars engage genres like memoir and autobiography to resist racial capitalism, imperialism, heteropatriarchy, and climate change. In their conversation, Cynthia and Cathy chat about why narrative plays such a large role in defining who gets to count as human and how that narrative definition shapes everything from economic policy and medical care to police violence and environmental degradation.  Cynthia shares how movements like Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Native Hawaiian movement to protect Mauna a Wākea push back against such narrative humanity, using collaborative praxis and transformative solidarity to build new models for collective care and liberation.  Transcript and show notes:
In episode 152 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews education scholars and leaders Magdalena L. Barrera and Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales about their new book The Latinx Guide to Graduate School. Magdalena and Genevieve teamed up to write this guide after many years of advising Latinx graduate students struggling to navigate the hidden curriculum of academia—a curriculum built around norms of whiteness, wealth, and settler heteronormativity. Demonstrating the brilliance, scholarly rigor, and leadership these graduate students bring to academia, they created this guide to center the worldviews and lives of Latinx communities in graduate education. In their conversation, Magdalena and Genevieve share about their process for researching and writing the book, particularly how they navigated the co-authoring process amidst busy teaching and administrative responsibilities. They also explain how faculty and advisors can support prospective and current graduate students in embracing their full lives—lives that extend beyond many graduate programs’ myopic focus on research productivity alone. Cathy, Magdalena, and Genevieve close out their conversation with Magdalena and Genevieve’s vision for remaking PhD and MA programs in the service of a culturally liberatory education. Magdalena L. Barrera is the vice provost for faculty success at San José State University, where she provides leadership on all aspects of faculty recruitment and professional advancement. Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales is a professor in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, where her research focuses on the educational and political lives of Latinx communities, undocumented young people, and immigrant families at the Mexico–US border. Transcript and show notes:
In episode 151 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Indigenous studies and literature professor Katie Walkiewicz about states’ rights and the role this concept has played in US settler colonialism, enslavement, and dispossession as well as in radical projects seeking to create alternative political structures. Katie Walkiewicz is an enrolled citizen of Cherokee Nation, an assistant professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego, and the associate director of the Indigenous Futures Institute. They chat about Katie’s new book Reading Territory: Indigenous and Black Freedom, Removal, and the Nineteenth-Century State. The book shows how federalism and states’ rights were used to imagine US states into existence while clashing with relational forms of territoriality asserted by Indigenous and Black people. They also explore how states rights have been mobilized in two landmark Supreme Court cases: McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020) and Haaland v. Brackeen (2023). In addition to tracing the violent imposition of states’ rights as tools for anti-Indigeneity and anti-Blackness, they also investigate how Black communities and Indigenous nations have sought to reimagine what a state could be, including through statehood campaigns for Black- and Native-run states. Finally, they close out our conversation with a vision for a world of Indigenous and Black freedom, one beyond the bounds of both the nation and the state. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews Black visual studies scholar Jasmine Nichole Cobb about haptic blackness and the cultural politics of Black hair in US visual culture. Jasmine is a professor of African and African American studies and of art, art history, and visual studies at Duke University. Her recent book New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair traces the history of Black hair in visual culture across documentary films, portrait photography, advertising, sculpture, and television. In the episode, Jasmine shares how haptics—or the mixing of touch and vision—has been central to how blackness has been lived, represented, and imagined across historical periods. Jasmine and Cathy also discuss why the 1990s and early 2000s were such a rich period for independent documentaries about Black women’s hair in particular and how more recent series like The Hair Tales and Hair Love adapt this genealogy to our contemporary moment. Finally, they close out the episode with Jasmine’s vision for a haptic Black futurity centering Black embodiment and freedom. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews women’s and gender studies professor Mairead Sullivan about the histories and futures of lesbian feminism. Mairead is the author of the new book Lesbian Death: Desire and Danger between Feminist and Queer, which offers a love letter to lesbian feminist world building while also refuting the weaponization of lesbian identity against trans lives and trans communities.  In their conversation, Mairead and Cathy explore how the political and economic project of lesbian feminism has evolved over time and how different generations of queer and trans folks have remade what the identity of lesbian can and does mean.  They also delve into our experiences of aging, anxieties over the loss of the lesbian bar scene, and the complex ways ambivalence and nostalgia play out in contemporary queer and feminist politics. Finally, they close out the interview with a vision for a lesbian feminist future, one grounded in intersectional, trans-inclusive, and capacious ways of imagining otherwise.  Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews ethnic studies and women and gender studies professor Josen Masangkay Diaz about US–Philippine relations during the Cold War and how that history shapes Filipino America today. In their conversation, Josen and Cathy explore the role of race, nation, and gender during the Cold War, particularly how they were renegotiated in the wake of decolonization and the postcolonial nation-building projects that followed. They discuss Josen’s research into how postcolonial projects undertaken during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship as well as during various US presidencies transformed relations in the Transpacific. These projects bound together cultural diplomacy, immigration law, and humanitarianism with struggles over political and economic influence in the region. They also delve into the politics of what it means to name and remember the intimate interactions between fascist authoritarianism and liberal democracy. Memory is something we get into in detail, both the power relations inherent in what is remembered and how—on both national and transnational scales—but also how memory and memorialization are key sites for resistance as folks remake what Filipino America means today. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews anthropologist Erin Durban about the past and present relationship between the United States and Haiti as it shapes the lives of queer and trans Haitians. In their conversation, Erin and Cathy talk about the history of US occupation and imperialism in Haiti and how it shapes the work international LGBTQ organizations began doing there in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Erin also shares how their approach to ethnographic research has shifted over their career, particularly in terms of challenging colonial unknowing even when it appears in one’s own family narratives and community. They close out the episode with Erin’s vision for a queer disabled university, one that centers the needs and liveability of not only those working within the academy but also those whom it affects, including folks we write about. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews feminist studies and ethnic studies professor Jennifer Lynn Kelly about her new book Invited to Witness. In their conversation, Cathy and Jennifer talk about the temporality and pace of doing ethnographic research for this book while also navigating state visa politics, job search demands, and family commitments can pull in multiple directions. Jennifer also shares the importance of letting a writing project change itself and change its writer over time, and why slowing down and listening to where our research wants to go makes for richer scholarship. They close out the episode with a vision for a demilitarized and decolonized future, as well as how we can make space for joy while building that world. Transcript and show notes:
Cathy Hannabach interviews digital media scholar Josef Nguyen about the promises and perils of flexible planning, why cultural anxieties over uncertain futures are so often routed through debates over flexible educational technology, and ways to put flexibility to use in the classroom, on the page, and in our daily lives in ways that center collective support and more just worlds. Transcript and show notes:
The massive changes we’ve collectively experienced over the past two years of a global pandemic have caused many of us to ask some big questions about who we are and what we want to be doing. It’s also pushed us to embrace our embodied capacity and make conscious changes to nourish our spirit as well as our creative, professional, and communal goals for the future. It seems only fitting that we close out 2021 with an episode about intuition, or how we learn to listen for and heed that internal voice, that internal sensation, that tells us what we really need. In episode 144 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Anima Adjepong. Anima is the author of Afropolitan Projects: Redefining Blackness, Sexualities, and Culture from Houston to Accra and their wide-ranging activist and scholarly work focuses on identity, culture, and social change. In their conversation, Anima and Cathy chat about letting go of a scarcity mindset to make a big career leap before knowing how it will all play out. Anima also shares how to use intuition to identify the book you really want to write rather than the one that feels more disciplinarily safe. Finally, we wrap up the episode with a discussion of how we can embrace intellectual promiscuity to build a world in which community means being together in our differences. Transcript and show notes:
We’re reaching that time of year when the days shorten and we start to wonder if we’ll get everything done we wanted to this year. In this season, many of us yearn for more balance in our daily routines and the second year of an ongoing global pandemic has made that feeling even more intense. What does balance even mean in this context and how can we cultivate it in ways that feed our collective desires for justice? In episode 143 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Nitasha Tamar Sharma, whose scholarly, pedagogical, and creative work demonstrates the worldmaking possibilities that live at the intersections of movements for racial, gender, and sexual justice. In their conversation, Nitasha and Cathy chat about what balance means during a pandemic as well as across the course of interdisciplinary careers. Nitasha shares how she has learned to recalibrate her work and life to better align with the impact she wants to have on the world, including privileging holistic mentoring and collective care in how she approaches publishing and book promotion. Finally, they close out the episode with Nitasha’s vision for forging solidarities that can extend beyond the present and into more just futures. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews digital studies scholar and professor Catherine Knight Steele, whose work reveals the central role Black women and Black feminists have played in developing, challenging, and transforming our digital technologies. Approaching Black digital studies holistically, Catherine shows how marginalized groups build lasting community through online, in-person, and hybrid practices, including sustainable models for mentorship and mutual support. In their conversation, Catherine and Cathy chat about why extensions of grace and collaboration are so crucial to building the future of Black digital studies as well as a supportive world more broadly. They also explore the nonlinear paths that bring us to our areas of research and how learning to value that nonlinerarity can often be the key to writing a book or creating a project that feeds your soul, not just professional requirements. Finally, they close out the episode with Catherine’s techniques for redefining the history and future of technology in ways that place Black women at the very center. Transcript and show notes:
Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic, access to reliable, high-performance broadband internet was a necessity for many of us to be able to meaningfully participate in our workplaces, schools, and communities. The pandemic has made this even more apparent. The digital divide separating those with access from those without is hardly a new issue but what is less often discussed is how that digital divide looks different in rural versus urban spaces. In episode 141 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Christopher Ali, who argues that rural broadband access and connectivity is a crucial social justice concern—one with implications for everything from education and healthcare to the food available for us to eat. In the conversation, Chris and Cathy chat about why federal policy has so consistency failed to bring broadband to rural communities and what a rural broadband plan would look like that put the needs of local populations first. Chris highlights the community groups that are connecting themselves and offering creative infrastructure models in the process. They also discuss Chris’s unique interdisciplinary research methodology that involved a 3,600-mile road trip with his adorable hound dog Tuna. Finally, they close out the episode with a vision for a more connected world and what it would take to get there. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews filmmaker and media studies scholar Sandra Ristovska about the complex ethical, political, and legal relationship between imagery and human rights. They discuss the role of video evidence in simultaneously exposing and reproducing injustice, the often life-and-death stakes of critical visual interpretation, and what it means to turn the act of seeing each other into a practice of human rights. Transcript and show notes:
Publishing plays a central role in higher education, primarily through the hiring, tenure, and promotion process. Because of this, transforming academic publishing means transforming how scholarly knowledge itself is produced, circulated, and applied. The research process, writing process, and publishing process are all deeply intertwined and all offer opportunities to build the kinds of worlds we want to inhabit. To explore how this process works and the worldmaking possibilities it opens up, in episode 139 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Dena’ina musician-scholar Jessica Bissett Perea. Jessica is the founder of the Indigeneity Collaboratory, an Indigenous-led and Indigeneity-centered research collective that advances relational ways of being, knowing, and doing. She’s also an associate professor in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. In the conversation, Jessica shares various entry points for decolonial intervention that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, editors, and publishers can explore. First up, Cathy and Jessica chat about Jessica’s experience switching research topics early in her career. She shares practical tips on how to find the research topics that inspire you and give back to the communities you care about as well as how to think critically about your specific positionality in relation to your research. They also tackle the writing process. As they discuss, everything from stylistic choices like capitalization and italicization to the citation politics of bibliographies offer opportunities to remake how intellectual labor is exchanged and valued. Finally, Jessica and Cathy turn to academic publishing itself. This is a field that has seen some encouraging progress lately but still has a long way to go toward equity and inclusion. They chat about what faculty journal editors, professional copyeditors, and authors can do to build a more justice-focused publishing world. Transcript and show notes:
We’ve all experienced a LOT of change over the past year and a half. Many of the things we assumed to be stable anchors suddenly turned out not to be, as everything from the global economy and education to politics and media were irrevocably transformed. Many with privilege have responded to such upheaval by demanding a swift and complete return to the same capitalist normal that unevenly organized life in the before times. But those for whom the old normal was a source of oppression rather than comfort have had a different reaction to such changes. Folks have instead invested in practices like mutual aid, unlearning, and interdependency, all which provide models for more just social foundations. In episode 138 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews gender, sexuality, and ethnic studies scholar and professor Priya Kandaswamy. Priya has long been fascinated with how institutions and individuals shape and reshape one another in the context of power. As she details in their conversation, Priya’s career shifted dramatically earlier this year. In March 2021, one full year after COVID-19 had forced major shutdowns across the US, Priya’s employer, Mills College, announced that fall 2021 would be its last year admitting new students and the beloved liberal arts college in Oakland, California, would completely close by 2023. As a result, all faculty and staff would thus need to find other employment. Priya shares how personal upheavals (like a career change) combined with collective upheavals (like a pandemic) provide glimpses into a new normal, one that is organized around permanent change. Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as prison abolition movements, radical herbalism, feminist of color welfare histories, and the mycorrhizal bonds between trees and fungi, Priya explains how she is learning to embrace permanent transformation as a way to individually and collectively build new worlds. Transcript and show notes:
Host Cathy Hannabach interviews filmmaker and hip-hop scholar Mark Villegas, who has built his career foregrounding the power of collective abundance. Highlighting the strength, inspiration, and generosity that emerges from collaboration, Mark’s endeavors illustrate the transformations that take place when diverse ideas and cultural traditions are brought together. In the conversation, Mark and Cathy chat about why multiracial, transnational, and cross-generational hip-hop cultures have been such a vibrant model of political and artistic abundance. Mark explains how his new book Manifest Technique traces these genealogies as well as how Filipino American DJs and cultural producers use hip-hop to theorize transition and resist colonial legacies. They also talk about the new communication strategies and gathering practices that Brown and Black hip-hop communities have developed during COVID-19 and discuss how they can serve as models for life beyond the pandemic. Finally, we close out the episode with a vision for an abundant relationality, one that can shape new collaborative futures. Transcript and show notes:
Community building is a cornerstone of progressive social and intellectual movements. Resisting capitalist individualism, we know how vital social bonds are in sustaining our identities, our dreams, and even our very lives. But it’s easy to romanticize community and forget the work involved in forging and tending those social bonds—labor that often reflects the very power dynamics that we seek to dismantle. In episode 136 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Kānaka Maoli feminist scholar Maile Arvin, who explains why she approaches community building through the Native Hawaiian concept of kuleana, or a reciprocal relationship of responsibility. In the conversation, Maile and Cathy consider the racially gendered labor of community and responsibility as well how Native Hawaiian communities and curators are drawing on both to transform colonial legacies. The episode wraps up with Maile’s vision of imagining otherwise in the classroom through centering decolonization and accessibility in her Indigenous feminist pedagogy. Transcript and show notes:
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