When ‘crazy’ is a distant relative

Posted by Robyn on October 7, 2014 in iLife |

I’ve not been blogging as of late, largely because I’ve been working on the dissertation.  There’s always something grabbing my attention, though, and Sarah Lund’s new Book Blessed Are The Crazy was it!  As we raise awareness to National Mental Illness week, I’ve decided to break the silence about the reality of mental illness existing in my family!

I have had a long relationship with mental illness existing in my family, but it was like a distant relative; it never affected me.  My Mexican mother raised me with loose connections to her family, I think in part due to the history of mental illness and addiction existing in her family.    These features of life remain taboo, and folks are stereotyped as being crazy!  In fact, following a brain aneurism that I had when I was 16 years old while living in San Antonio, TX, my paternal grandfather called me ‘crazy!’ Just because I had brain surgery!  How naïve I thought as a 16 year old, recovering from two craniotomies.  My father’s family, too, had mental illness; my great aunt was living in a facility and she was being treated for her paranoid schizophrenia.  Again, my family would call her ‘crazy’ for thinking that the TV wires were talking to her.  I remember feeling sad for the folks that my family would call ‘crazy,’ and even would get upset that they (meaning my paternal grandfather) would call me ‘crazy’ for having to have brain surgery.  Mental illness always has a way of finding us, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or something more taboo.  We need to find ways of talking about these illnesses so as to create a safer place in our communities and supporting those who are in need.  I’m writing to break the silence around mental illness–to suggest that we all have the potential of living with masked mental illnesses and that we all can thrive in this world, but we must be willing to accept the differences that other’s enflesh.  So, I say, Blessed Are The Crazy, in a crazy good way!



Consider Supporting a Latin@ Scholar!

Posted by Robyn on July 12, 2014 in Dissertation |



We Have Never Been Queer: The Highs and Lows of Theories of Bodies, Subjects and Desire

Posted by Robyn on April 19, 2014 in Queer |

Consider the following course that the Global Center for Advanced Studies is offering!

Professors Beatriz Preciado (Testo Junkie) and J. Jack Halberstam (Gaga Feminism) will be teaching a seminar entitled, “We Have Never Been Queer: The Highs and Lows of Theories of Bodies, Subjects and Desire” (PARIS, France–September, 2014) [This seminar can also be taken live and on-line in our fully interactive classroom] DESCRIPTION: “Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality. Put another way, we are not yet queer. We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality. We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future.” José Ésteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia, 2009 In this seminar, Beatriz Preciado and Jack Halberstam take Jose’s Munoz provocative idea of “Queerness as something that is not yet here,” and his queer formulation of time and space—“the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality”—to expand upon contemporary forms of resistance to somatic, sexual and colonial normalization. Thinking with and through contemporary body regimes that locate both resistance and compliance at the level of the molecular, the pharmaceutical and the fleshly, Preciado and Halberstam explore the highs and lows of an understanding of embodiment that is simultaneously emergent, already here and still to come. Leading discussions, debates and inquiries of both high and low theory, political histories of the body and social constructions of subjectivities, Halberstam and Preciado will cruise the utopian, the subaltern and the subjugated for insights into the queerness that has never arrived and that spins possibility out of the art worlds and fantasies given over to calling it into being. Rather than respecting the binary of a high/low split, this seminar will soar and cruise, crash and burn, fly and fail while investigating contemporary relations between bodies and power, pleasure and pharmaceuticals, pain and aesthetics. Building on Susan Buck Morss’s rereading of Benjamin in “Aesthetics and Anaesthetics” where she characterizes the realm of the “anaesthetic” as a buffer to contemporary shock and awe, we will discuss the function of the aesthetic in what Preciado calls the “pharmacopornographic” era. If, as Buck Morss proposes, “drug addiction is characteristic of modernity,” and reality itself becomes a “phantasmagoria” in the 20th century, what are the functions of drugs, art, intoxication within this project of rehearsing a queerness of some future world and time? What understandings of self, life, death and pleasure lace new combinations of drugs, spectacle and performance? This seminar asks students to suspend their understandings of queerness, time and space on behalf of the project of newly imagining the future that Muñoz implied lies buried in our collective blasted, ruined, abject past.



Philosophy and Poetry of Difference

Posted by Robyn on March 9, 2014 in Anzaldúa |

I’m lecturing at the University of San Francisco next month and I’ve been thinking about preparing my lecture–what things should be a part of it, what things shouldn’t, and what method the lecture should be delivered.  I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about presentation and delivery before I actually sit down to write.  I like to write at a bar or coffee shop and have a pint of my favorite IPA on hand when I’m writing and tweezing out ideas.  Today, I’m at my favorite coffee shop in Denver (Hooked on Colfax) and am drinking a Macadamia French Soda (an Italian soda w/ the cream).

As I think about the intersection of philosophy and poetry, my mind is drawn to several different thinkers:  Deleuze, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Gloria Anzaldúa.  The lecturing I’m preparing targets Anzaldúa’s philosophy-poetry/poetry-philosophy.  I love working at this intersection of the critical “I” and the creation of theories that are mobilized through difference.  I also think about the issue of becoming different, and the event of difference that takes place as poetry becomes philosophy–see, even there in that sentence, there is an event of becoming.  I’m eager to deliver this lecture, and excited about being in conversation with both students and faculty next month.

Back to thinking…



The Future or Death of Religion

Posted by Robyn on March 8, 2014 in Religion |



The Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium @ Drew

Posted by Robyn on February 24, 2014 in Research |

Here’s my Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium paper as a Wordle.  I present the paper next month at Drew Theological School.  I’m very excited about this opportunity to be a part of the TTC, the papers I will hear, and the new collegial relationships that will be formed!  I am also grateful that I have continued to become a theological nomad, materializing along the plane of borderlands.





Posted by Robyn on February 18, 2014 in Religion |

Call for Papers| 19-20 November 2014, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA



Conveners: Ryan Cragun (ryantcragun@gmail.com), Christel Manning (manningc@sacredheart.edu), and Phil Zuckerman (phil_zuckerman@pitzer.edu)


Keynote speakers:


Professor Darren Sherkat (Sociology, Southern Illinois University)

Professor Lori Beaman (Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottowa)


The study of nonreligion and secularity, long neglected by religion researchers, has recently become a growing field of inquiry. The NSRN is an international, interdisciplinary association of scholars from various fields (religious studies, sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, history, etc.) who are interested in nonreligion, atheism, secularity, secularism, secularization – and related issues. Since the NSRN convened its first international conference in 2009 at the University of Oxford, UK, research and publications dealing with nonreligion and secularity have continued to increase and diversify. The third NSRN conference will reflect upon accumulated and newly emerging empirical work and focus attention on how these diverse phenomena can be explained. To what extent do they fit into existing theoretical frameworks, such as secularization theories, ‘desecularization’ theories and pluralist or ‘postsecular’ models? Do we need to refine these models, or even generate new theories altogether in order to understand the occurrence and nature of contemporary secular populations and nonreligious cultures?


The conference welcomes papers that further expand our understanding of nonreligion and secularity, including topics such as:


  • Theoretical development in the study of secularity and nonreligion
  • The explosion of the so-called “Nones” in the United States in the last two decades
  • Nonreligion and secularity in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East
  • Cross-cultural comparisons/contrasts of nonreligion and secularity
  • Secularism and politics in the USA and around the world
  • Intersections of non-religion and secularity with race, class, and gender
  • The varieties of nonreligious experience
  • Typological development in the analysis of secular people and secular movements
  • Neurological and emotional aspects of secularity
  • Secularity and sexuality
  • Prospects for the further development of secular studies
  • Ritual and community within secular culture
  • Secular-religious conflict and cooperation
  • Apostasy and religious rejection


Abstracts for panels and presentations should be submitted to Ryan Cragun at ryantcragun@gmail.com by 1 June 2014. Abstracts should be 250 words long and accompanied by a short biographical note.

Registration will open in April 2014. Full conference (includes all meals, does not include accommodations) is $155.

For hotel options, go to: https://www.pitzer.edu/about/visiting/lodging.asp



Seeking Participants for 2015 MLA Panel “Queer Ethics”

Posted by Robyn on February 15, 2014 in Ethics, Queer, Research |

Please see the following message about an MLA panel on “Queer Ethics.”

I am seeking participants for a 2015 MLA panel “Queer Ethics.”  Exciting news: Lynne Huffer has agreed to be a respondent if the panel is accepted!  Here is the CFP:

In “Mad for Foucault” (2010) and “Are the Lips a Grave?”” (2013) Lynne Huffer challenges Queer Theory’s founding assumptions and calls for a revitalizing “ethic of eros.”  This panel seeks papers that explore the contemporary promise of Huffer’s provocations around ethics and pleasure across a range of fields such as English Studies, Queer Studies, and Feminist Scholarship. Please send a 250-word abstract and CV to krusem@newschool.edu by 3/15/2014.  The 2015 MLA will occur in Vancouver, Canada from January 8-11.

Meridith Kruse, PhD
Eugene Lang College
The New School for Liberal Arts

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The Future or Death of Religion

Posted by Robyn on January 29, 2014 in Politics, Religion |

interfaithAn Interfaith Discussion about the Future or Death of Religion, hosted by Mark W. Gura

With the turn of the new year and recent depictions of religion in the media, many are asking where religion is heading in 2014. The Rise of the Nones, the recent Pew Study on Religious Hostility, Pope Francis, and current issues in Religious Freedom, have shown the changing and dynamic landscape of religion in the United States and worldwide. Issues of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, the portrayal of Muslims and atheists in the media, and the rising interest in different forms of Buddhism, make this conversation pertinent and cutting-edge. In this interfaith conversation, we have an atheist (Kile Jones, Founder of Interview an Atheist at Church Day), an Ahmadi Muslim (Qasim Rashid, Author of “The Wrong Kind of Muslim”), a Queer-Mestizaje-Agnostic (Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Researcher at Iliff School of Theology), and a Buddhist (Justin Whitaker, Blogger at American Buddhist Perspective) talking about where we see religion going in 2014. So come join us for a lively discussion with a diverse group of people!

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AnaLouise Keating interviewed on ‘Against the Grain’

Posted by Robyn on January 28, 2014 in Ethics, Politics |



If you’re looking for a great interview, please consider this one!  My friend, mentor, and thinking comadre Dr. AnaLouise Keating, talks about post-oppositional politics, among other things!  It’s very good!  Keating talks about this bridge called my back, this bridge we call home, and her latest book:  Transformation Now!:  Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change.


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