Traveling through Covid with Love and Solidarity

Back in early May as classes via Zoom were winding down, I decided to reach out to my desi Feministas— the 4 women of Indian origin, immigrant academics like me with South Asia as our heritage in common, and who were founding members with me of the South Asian Feminist Caucus of the National Women’s Studies Association of N America that is one of our professional homes.

Initially, I just wanted/needed the comfort and camaraderie of our long term friendship, with its professional edge that has kept us sharing our work and presenting it together at the annual conferences of the NWSA, as a ballast in these crazy anxiety-ridden times we are living through. And so we raised a glass of wine (or water!) to toast each other’s resilience in the time of Corona, to share our stresses and worries for the future of our worlds— back home, this home, the literal travels and shuttling between them now on hold (who knows for how long, we wondered, with sadness and angst, esp those of us with family/aging parents awaiting our annual visits in our countries of birth).

And then, in the way of feminist travels, we opened up our weekly zoom sessions to friends and neighbors, and then, soon enough, to shaping these sessions into serious musings on the rapidly unfolding picture of the intertwined social, political, economic and dimensions of this dreaded plague of our times, blowing open the racism and sexism that underpins everything.

And thus, May and June were dedicated to weekly Zoom meetings that lasted 75-90 minutes apiece, bringing so many engaged and concerned feminist minds together to think on the state of our world and offered ideas on how we might be part of the change that is surely coming— a new journey, to a new place.

I am honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to listen to so many wise voices in friendship and solidarity over these past few challenging months. And how fortuitous that Prof Diana Fox who I know through my connection to the great feminist icon of our times, Dr Nawal el Saadawi, should show up as an attendee and participant in our sessions, and offer to archive our humble journey in the pages of the online journal she edits, the Journal of International Womens Studies (JIWS).

Here is a short description of this venture, and links to where those of you who would like to be part of these travels, can access our sessions.

Current Issue of JIWS ( Journal of International Womens Studies), Volume 21, Issue 4 (2020):

Three Months of the Global Covid-19 Pandemic: A Selection of Liberatory, anti-racist, feminist webinars, panels and interviews.

This special issue can be accessed at the link below. Once inside the journal, sub-links are provided to each of the Zoom sessions of “Love and Solidarity in the Time of Corona,” organized and moderated by Fawzia Afzal-Khan with the support of the South Asian Feminist Caucus of the National Womens Studies Association (NWSA).

https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/

Joint Introduction by Diana Fox and Fawzia Afzal-Khan can be accessed at:

https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol21/iss4/1/

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