2024 Thematic Statement

Rehearsing Refusal

Refusal is an unwillingness to accept. In an ableist imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy, refusal is also a mode of being that requires consistent rehearsal in order for one to sustain themselves against the violence of these interlocking hegemonic systems. [1] How might we conceptualize Rehearsing Refusal? As a practice of consecutive gestures of defiance? [2] Or, as a stepping into the power of otherwise? Might it hold the potential to speak into being healing, provocation, generation, and liberation? Maybe rehearsing refusal, though trying or inconvenient for those on the receiving end, is an act of generosity for future generations. Perhaps it is the process of building a discipline of hope. [3]


1. bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (New York: Washington Square Press, 2005). See also: bell hooks, “bell hooks and Laverne Cox in a Public Dialogue at The New School,” The New School. October 13, 2014, video,1:36:08. https://youtu.be/9oMmZIJijgY?si=w_JIckIelvsXwnn5.

2. bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1989).

3. Mariame Kaba, We Do This Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice (Chicago, USA: Haymarket Books, 2021). In an interview with Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstien, Mariame mentions hearing the phrase “discipline of hope” in conversation with a nun, who is unnamed in the book.