What do we lose when we win? What do we win when we lose? Such questioning involves the collective work of reimagining and recuperating places and times from where to engage, again and again, in practices of countering institutionalized injustice and of instituting otherwise. Taking place within -and constrained by- “the measure of the possible” (to recall Walter Benjamin), activist movements and left coalitions struggle to make life more bearable in the present for those whose lives have been subjected to class, racial, and gendered powers, while, at the same time, shifting the conditions of possibility posed by the existing present. Enacting possibilities for the future in the present involves reconfiguring the agonistic temporality of living, acting, and thinking with others in the precarious interstices of “no longer” and “not yet.” Such movements and coalitions are never at one nor at ease with the present time. Rather, they take the present as a historically situated field of performative and transformative possibility. Athena Athanasiou discusses ways of situated knowledge production through which worldmaking is envisioned and performed beyond the normalized order of the present as it has been imposed by the current neoliberal and neoconservative forces.
Athena Athanasiou is Professor of Social Anthropology and Gender Theory at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Athens, Greece). She is the Director of the Laboratory of Anthropological Research and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Among her publications are the books: Agonistic Mourning: Political Dissidence and the Women in Black (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (with Judith Butler, Polity Press, 2013); Crisis as a ‘State of Exception’ (Athens, 2012); Life at the Limit: Essays on Gender, Body and Biopolitics (Athens, 2007); Rewriting Difference: Luce Irigaray and ‘the Greeks’ (co-ed. with Elena Tzelepis, SUNY Press, 2010); Deconstructing the Empire: Theory and Politics of Postcolonial Studies (Athens, 2016); Feminist Theory and Cultural Critique (Athens, 2006); Biosocialities (Athens, 2011). She has been a fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, at Brown University, and at the Center for the Study of Social Difference, at Columbia University. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of several journals (Critical Times, Feminist Formations, Journal of Greek Media and Culture, and others).