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Geography and the Environment Colloquium Series

Eggers Hall, 018

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"The Politics of Caring in the Academy"

Lorraine Dowler, professor of geography and women's, gender and sexuality studies at The Pennsylvania State University

The Politics of Caring in the Academy: Care theory is a resource for mutual aid, a colonial ideology, a method of non-capitalist resistance, and a collective survival strategy. Parvati Raghuram (2016) advocates for a “multiplicity in care ethics” beyond the Global North, and indigenous feminist scholars Melanie Yazzie and Cutcha Risling Baldy see care as a form of radical relationality. Before COVID-19, the academy had already intensified work demands under competitive neoliberal performance practices, while the post-COVID academy culture welcomes a return to "normal." The wistfulness for normality entails a return to power relations that are potentially uncaring, and violent in the academy. This talk focuses on the relationship between feminist care theory and acts of everyday resistance in the academy and will highlight two cases of care resistance. The first was the pushback by faculty and students at Penn State, for hosting former proud boy leader Gavin McInnes. The second case focuses on building a harassment-free national AAG meeting. The talk is structured to allow ample time to discuss how to integrate radical relationality into the academy.

Lorraine Dowler is a professor of geography and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State University. Her research examines everyday violent processes which are at the heart of the life of any nation. She explores the role of hypermasculine state practices in everyday life, private spaces, and the lives of women and other non-privileged individuals. For this reason, her research focuses on how individual vulnerabilities to violence are rendered invisible through spatial processes such as border making, cultural privilege, militarization, and nationalism. 


Social Science and Public Policy





Open to




Students, Graduate and Professional

Students, Undergraduate


MAX-Geography and the Environment


Deborah Toole


Contact Deborah Toole to request accommodations