M.E. O’Brien presents "Family Abolition" in conversation w/Jo Giardini and Jules Gill-Peterson

M.E. O’Brien presents "Family Abolition" in conversation w/Jo Giardini and Jules Gill-Peterson

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Saturday, July 1st 2023
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
How do we take care of each other? Who raises us as children, is with us when we are ill, provides a place to sleep when we need one? We often rely on family for the care we all need. Yet even at their best families cannot carry the impossible demands placed on them, and for many the family is a place of private horror, of coercion and personal domination.

M. E. O'Brien uncovers the long history of struggles to go beyond the private family. She traces the changing family politics of racial capitalism in the industrial cities of Europe and the slavery plantations and settler frontier of North America, through the rise and fall of the housewife family. From Marx to Black and queer insurrection to today's mass protest movements, O'Brien finds revolutionary movements seeking better ways of loving, caring, and living. Family Abolition takes us through the past and present of family politics into a speculative future of the commune, imagining how care could be organised in a free society.

M. E. O'Brien writes on gender and communist theory. She co-edits two magazines, Pinko, on gay communism, and Parapraxis, on psychoanalytic theory and politics. Her work on family abolition has been translated into Chinese, German, Greek, French, Spanish, and Turkish. She received her PhD from NYU. She is the co-author of the novel Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052–2072. She tweets @genderhorizon.

Jo Giardini is a post-doctoral fellow with the Program for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality and with the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center at Johns Hopkins University. They are presently writing on the politics of communalism and separatism in the 1970s, and working on a critical history of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic, its relationship to trans communities in Baltimore, and its often noxious effects on access to trans care and affirmation.

Jules Gill-Peterson is an American historian specializing in transgender history. She is an associate professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. Her best-known work is the 2018 book Histories of the Transgender Child, which documented the pervasiveness of children identifying as transgender in the United States well before the twenty-first century. This book received a Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Literature and the Children’s Literature Association Book Award.

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