The mediated politics of identity have animated movements as diverse as anticolonial nationalisms, multiple forms of feminism, transgender and disability rights struggles, and Indigenous protests for environmental justice. In all of these examples, media has been a primary and deeply public means through which such identity politics battles are fought, often in unpredictable ways.
The guest for today’s episode is media studies scholar Ani Maitra, who has a new book out that offers a fresh take on identity politics. Ani’s work highlights the vital need for critical media analysis and scholarly public engagement in our contemporary moment, particularly for marginalized populations.
In episode 113 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Ani about the role of scholarly public engagement in debates over identity, the transnational politics of global queer cinema, how to write for diverse audiences beyond the academy, and why centering affinity and difference is how Ani imagines otherwise.
Guest: Ani Maitra
Ani Maitra is an associate professor of film and media studies at Colgate University. He also teaches in the LGBTQ studies and Asian studies programs.
Ani’s scholarship explores how media cultures inform and are informed by race, class, gender, and sexuality. If the term “identity politics” has come to mean collective struggles around these categories, Ani examines how and why media production, reception, and theory become valuable sites to reflect on both the conditions and effects of identity production in a critically global frame.
His writing has appeared in differences, Film Quarterly, Counterpunch, and Camera Obscura, and he is also a contributing editor at Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture.
In his book Identity, Mediation, and the Cunning of Capital (Northwestern University Press, 2020), Ani argues that identity politics is an aesthetic maneuver regulated by global capitalism. He demonstrates that the minority subject is split between multiple sites of aesthetic mediation while remaining firmly tied to capitalist systems of domination. This reflexive scrutiny of identity through an expansive view of media and mediation, Ani suggests, is a critical step toward imagining difference otherwise, in more egalitarian terms.
We chatted about
- Ani’s journey to theorizing identity (01:42)
- The interplay between identity, media, and capitalism (06:34)
- Mediating LGBTQ politics in postcolonial India (11:51)
- The importance of critical public scholarship (15:38)
- Academic knowledge production as a neoliberal commodity (17:31)
- Writing for diverse audiences beyond the academy (22:50)
- Imagining otherwise (26:35)
I started thinking about identity first when I was a teenager growing up in India in the 1990s. This was in the context of navigating my own gender and sexual identity and discovering my own identity and identifications as being different from the heterosexual norm. This was my earliest encounter with identity through difference….I began to experience identity as something that is not only lived and practiced by an individual but simultaneously imposed by these cultural and political forces that the individual cannot fully control.
Identity politics and capitalism
The capitalist system of exchange, I’m suggesting, creates a very unequal political, economic, and social environment within which identities are constructed through linguistic and visual media. Under certain conditions, capitalism allows certain identities to be commodified, to gain a certain value in the global marketplace of identities, if you will, so that these identities become entangled in and also begin to support, whether they like it or not. This inherently unequal and unfair system of exchange includes some identities while excluding others. So identity politics, even as it emerges out of protests against capitalist and, more broadly, social oppression is not safe from the threat of being co-opted by capitalism and its market economy.
I find my work to be intervening in debates around what cinema can do to either allow us to gain something from identity politics or move beyond identity politics. I’m trying to contribute to that discussion by arguing that cinema itself is not enough for us to deal with the complexities produced by identity politics. Cinema raises questions of consumption, questions of spectatorship, but they have to be placed in a much larger socioeconomic matrix within which we can understand how cinema functions alongside other media—hence my insistence on thinking about identity intermediarily.
Writing beyond the academy
Making one’s work legible to a broader audience is crucial, but it’s also important to find ways to join bigger conversations unfolding the local, national, or transnational stage with or without the support of one’s research or field work. Personally, while writing a nonacademic piece, that bigger conversation that I’m having with an imagined audience becomes much more important than my own research. At a more practical level, I think I try to emulate the qualities of writers and op-eds that I appreciate. Whose op-eds do I like the most? Why do I like them? What makes these pieces accessible and interesting to me, even when they’re often outside my area of expertise? I think it’s really helpful to ask these questions when writing for a bigger audience outside academia.
Identity has undeniable social, political, and economic consequences. But can we imagine a world where what defines me and others like me does not hinge on exploitation, oppression, or exclusion in some form?…Now, the million dollar question for many, many scholars has been, how do we get there? My attempt to answer that question has been to suggest that instead of celebrating or dismissing identity, we need to rethink its production and persistence. We need to reexamine how identities are mediated by capitalism and how these multiple mediations are, in fact, designed to pit identities against each other.
More from Ani Maitra
- Ani’s new book Identity, Mediation, and the Cunning of Capital
People and projects discussed
- CALERI: Campaign for Lesbian Rights
- Identity politics
- Deepa Mehta’s film Fire
- Controversy and attacks over Fire
- Michel Foucault
- Judith Butler
- Stuart Hall
- Frantz Fanon
- Rosemary Hennessy
- Walter Mignolo
- Kimberlé Crenshaw
- Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket” controversy
- Emmett Till
- Anti-Asian racism in COVID-19
- Liberalization of the Indian economy (1990s)
- Hijra identity
- Kothi identity
- Lawrence Cohen
- Rey Chow
- Roderick Ferguson
- Robyn Wiegman
- 2018 repeal of British colonial sodomy law in India
- Chela Sandoval
- Donna Haraway
- Gayatri Spivak
- Lauren Berlant’s book Cruel Optimism
About Imagine Otherwise
Imagine Otherwise is a podcast about the people and projects bridging art, activism, and academia to build better worlds. Episodes offer in-depth interviews with creators who use culture for social justice, and explore the nitty-gritty work of imagining and creating more just worlds.
Imagine Otherwise is hosted by Cathy Hannabach and produced by Ideas on Fire, an academic editing and consulting agency helping progressive, interdisciplinary scholars write and publish awesome texts, enliven public conversations, and create more just worlds.
Cathy Hannabach (00:03):
Welcome to Imagine Otherwise, the podcast about the people and projects, bridging art, activism, and academia to build better world. Episodes offer in-depth interviews with creators who use culture for social justice and explore the nitty gritty work of imagining otherwise. I’m your host, Cathy Hannabach.
Cathy Hannabach (00:23):
The mediated politics of identity have animated movements as diverse as anticolonial nationalisms, multiple forms of feminism, transgender and disability rights struggles, and Indigenous protests for environmental justice. In all of these examples, media has been a primary and deeply public means through which such identity politics battles are fought, and often in some unpredictable ways.
Cathy Hannabach (00:47):
My guest for today’s episode is Ani Maitra, whose new book traces the diverse ways that our identities in both the past and the present are produced through encounters with global media forms like film and television.
Offering a fresh take on identity politics, Ani’s work highlights the vital need for critical media analysis and scholarly public engagement in our contemporary moment, particularly for marginalized populations.
In our conversation, Ani and I chat about the role of scholarly public engagement in debates over identity, the transnational politics of global queer cinema, how to write for diverse audiences beyond the academy, and why centering affinity and difference is a key part of how Ani imagines otherwise.
Cathy Hannabach (01:32):
Thanks so much for being with us today, Ani.
Ani Maitra (01:34):
Thank you, Cathy. Thank you for inviting me and allowing me to be part of this Imagine Otherwise conversation. I’m really excited.
Cathy Hannabach (01:42):
So you are the author of a brand new book called Identity, Mediation, and the Cutting of Capital, which traces the ways that identities like race, gender, sexuality, and class are produced and transformed in some really complex ways by capitalism and specifically through media technologies and practices. What got you interested in analyzing identity in that way?
Ani Maitra (02:07):
Looking back, I think I started thinking about identity first when I was a teenager growing up in India in the 1990s, and I’ll probably have an opportunity to come back to that moment later. But this was in the context of navigating my own gender and sexual identity and discovering my own identity and identifications as being different from the heterosexual norm or what was considered to be the norm at the time. So this was my earliest encounter with identity through difference, very much a feeling of being different from others around me.
Ani Maitra (02:47):
This was also when, at some level, I was starting to realize that minority identities are not predetermined or fixed. They just don’t materialize out of nowhere but in fact, they have a very material history. Minority identities are constructed by social and cultural forces that both shape and exceed the individual who’s given or ascribed a particular identity and that feeling of belonging to a race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality that is marginalized, that is othered by the mainstream.
So somewhere deep down inside of me, I think I began to experience identity as something that is not only lived and practiced by an individual but simultaneously imposed by these cultural and political forces that the individual cannot fully control.
Ani Maitra (03:42):
Of course, much later in life as a graduate student, I was heavily inspired by thinkers, activists, and scholars whose work dwells precisely on this question, on this constructed nature of identity. I’m here especially thinking of the work of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Stuart Hall. But as you rightly noted, in my book I argue that identities are also in part the effects of the media that we consume.
Going back to my childhood, an event that left a deep impression on my teenage mind was the controversy around Deepa Mehta’s 1996 film Fire. On the one hand, right-wing groups in India protested the film because it was a story of lesbian desire and lesbian desire set in India. Lesbianism in their view was a Western import. It did not fit in with the right-wing Hindu image of India and Indianess.
Ani Maitra (04:45):
On the other hand, the same film, Fire, played a really important role in shaping lesbian activism and identity politics in India in the 1990s. CALERI, or Campaign for Lesbian Rights, was an activist group that emerged out of the Fire counterprotests led by women. Later in grad school, I would keep going back to this example while developing my dissertation project, which would then become this book about identity politics in a global context.
Ani Maitra (05:15):
Finally, there’s the capitalism piece of it. The capitalist system of exchange, I’m suggesting, creates a very unequal political, economic, and social environment within which identities are constructed through linguistic and visual media. Under certain conditions, capitalism allows certain identities to be commodified, to gain a certain value in the global marketplace of identities, if you will, so that these identities become entangled in and also begin to support, whether they like it or not.
This inherently unequal and unfair system of exchange includes some identities while excluding others. So identity politics, even as it emerges out of protests against capitalist and, more broadly, social oppression is not safe from the threat of being co-opted by capitalism and its market economy.
Ani Maitra (06:14):
Now, obviously I wasn’t thinking of capitalism as a teenager. Again, that happened much later in college when I started reading work by anticolonial thinkers like Frantz Fanon, as well as more contemporary scholars of race and gender like Kimberlé Crenshaw, Walter Mignolo, Rosemary Hennessy, and others.
Cathy Hannabach (06:34):
You mentioned Fire, which is a really powerful example of how identity politics play out in some very intense ways in the protests that you were talking about. What other examples or case studies, because you have so many of them in the book that I think work really well, what are some of your favorite case studies or examples from the book that you came across when trying to tease out how identities on a global scale are wrapped up with these processes of capitalism and media?
Ani Maitra (07:05):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Great question. For the book, I really wanted to find and include examples that would speak to each other across different social and political contexts. So in other words, the goal was to show how these individual examples, or as I call them “scenes of production,” scenes of identity production, they all tell a larger story about identity’s origins in mediation and in capitalism. So to my mind, all the examples in the book are useful, not only because they’re individual narratives of identity production but also because they animate each other.
Ani Maitra (07:45):
So I’ll give you maybe three examples. I open the introduction to the book with a very recent protest against Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket, which was exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in 2017. You’ll remember that a number of Black artists and scholars protested this painting because it was based on a well known photograph of the lynched African American teenager Emmett Till, taken at Till’s open casket funeral in Chicago in 1955.
Ani Maitra (08:17):
The protesters argued that by using Till’s photograph, the painter was turning Till’s suffering into a spectacle or a commodity for an elite and primarily white audience at the Whitney. Now, one could agree or disagree with this argument, but I found these protests to be important because they revealed how the experience and assertion of Black identity is, in fact, split between multiple media—in this case, between the Black body reacting to the painting, the abstract painting itself, and the iconic photograph that is at once present and absent in the painting.
Ani Maitra (09:15):
A number of scholars, in fact, have examined how Till’s murder and this iconic photograph taken after his death played a really important role in shaping the civil rights movement. So that’s my opening example of identity as a multiple remediated construction, one that comes from our contemporary moment but is also inseparable from the history of American capitalism and its connections with antiblack violence, the horrific violence that is inflicted on the non-white body, that we encounter through that photograph of Emmett Till.
Ani Maitra (09:39):
Now, while there was controversy around Open Casket in 2017, and Manhattan is a very particular and a historically specific example, it spoke to me because it reminded me of accounts of identity production in other historical moments in other parts of the world.
For example, in the very first chapter of the book, I turn to the writings of Frantz Fanon, who I mentioned. He was a philosopher, a psychiatrist, but also a political activist. I turn to those writings in which Fanon recalls how he came to see himself as a Black subject through his repeated encounters with media circulating in colonial France—with novels, newspapers, advertising, and even Hollywood cinema that constantly reminded Fanon out that he was somehow different because he was not white.
Ani Maitra (10:32):
So here two Black identities split between representations in different media. And this identity is constructed through and between media ultimately to benefit a colonial capitalist system of exchange that protects or preserves whiteness as the commodity par excellence. So by examining the production of blackness in this way, Fanon offers us a robust anticolonial critique of identity that is particularly relevant to our current moment to understanding the role that, for instance, social media play in constructing minority identities.
Ani Maitra (11:19):
For instance, think of the violent anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiments that are circulating online on social media because of COVID-19. If I’m someone who’s considered Asian and who identifies as Asian, I’m bound to be, to some degree, affected by these representations online. Even if I haven’t personally been insulted on the street or in the supermarket, these mediated representations will in some way wound my sense of self and identity. It’s this notion of identity as a multiply mediated wound that I track in the book in different contexts of commodity capitalism and capitalist exploitation.
Ani Maitra (11:51):
I’ll mention one more example, and this was perhaps the hardest to work through because I had a personal connection with it. I mentioned my interest in the history of queer politics in India a moment ago. In the final chapter of the book, I examine the multiple mediations that shape LGBTQ politics in postcolonial India.
During my research, I realized that the work of media or mediation has to be understood at least two different levels. First, in terms of the technologies themselves and the kind of content they make possible. So the role that print culture, radio, and cinema collectively play or began to play in the construction of LGBTQ politics in the 1990s.
Ani Maitra (12:37):
Second, mediation also has to be understood through the environment, the neocolonial and neoliberal environment within which these media technologies operated and were accessed, or began to be accessed, by Indian consumers. The 1990s was also when the Indian economy was liberalized, meaning that the Indian economy opened itself up to foreign investment and foreign capital.
The liberalization had positive effects, of course, but also had a number of negative effects, and so it’s a kind of contradictory process. On the one hand middle-class Indians in urban India had access to the global marketplace, what it had to offer in terms of commodities and consumables, which included mass media. But the vast majority of Indians—the working class and especially the agricultural working class in rural India—did not perceive any of these economic and cultural gains that we associate with liberalization.
Ani Maitra (13:36):
Now, I mentioned the Indian activist group CALERI earlier. This lesbian organization could be formed in Delhi, the capital of India, because a group of urban Indian women had the resources to watch Deepa Mehta’s film Fire at a movie theater or on tape, and then identify with a transnational notion of lesbian identity and organize against right-wing homophobia.
But at the same time, there were many other Indian women in smaller towns in rural India who experienced same-sex desires and who had same-sex relationships but lacked the transnational cultural capital or resources that would allow them to assert their social identities as lesbians. This resource can be as basic as language as a medium of communication and self-expression. I’m thinking of terms like “lesbian,” “gay,” and “transgender” that were unavailable or very partially available as sites of identification for the vast majority of non-heteronormative or queer Indians in liberalized or neoliberal India.
Ani Maitra (14:47):
It’s in that context of inequality that we have to understand the mediation and the politicization of local or vernacular queer Indian identities like “hijra,” which can only very loosely be translated as transgender, or “kothi,” which can very loosely be translated as a non-elite, working-class gay man.
So it’s this very sort of unequal mediation, or the story of uneven and unequal mediation of queer identities, that I try to tell in the last chapter of the book, with a lot of help from Indian activists and film, media, and anthropological work on queer activism, and, last but not least, scholars of global queer cinema.
Cathy Hannabach (15:38):
I’m glad you brought up cinema because so much of your work, both in this book as well as your other research, focuses on the complexity of global cinema—particularly the ways that it’s this really rich site for how global conversations, globally uneven conversations, about sexuality and colonialism play out. A lot of your work on this, I think, lends itself very well to a broad spectrum of public debates on movies, media, global queerness, and identification.
I’m curious where you see, first of all, your own work fitting into these public debates but also how you see scholars being able to participate in, shape, transform, or continue these kinds of public debates in the future.
Ani Maitra (16:31):
Again, that’s a great question. Speaking specifically about cinema, I think I find my work to be intervening in debates around what cinema can do to either allow us to gain something from identity politics or move beyond identity politics.
I’m trying to contribute to that discussion by arguing that cinema itself is not enough for us to deal with the complexities produced by identity politics. Cinema raises questions of consumption, questions of spectatorship, but they have to be placed in a much larger socioeconomic matrix within which we can understand how cinema functions alongside other media—hence my insistence on thinking about identity intermediary.
Ani Maitra (17:31):
That also relates to bigger questions about academic knowledge and academic disciplines. I’m thinking of the work of scholars like Rey Chow, Roderick Ferguson, [inaudible], Robyn Wiegman, who’ve pointed out that academic disciplines and academic are not safe from the machinations of capitalism, or what in the book I call the “cunning of capital.”
The profit-driven neoliberal university is where identity politics is domesticated and contained, often depoliticized. Fields associated with minority identities, like queer studies, women’s studies, Asian American studies, Native studies, and African American studies, they’ve all been institutionalized. And in that sense, they also risk becoming commodities in the new liberal marketplace.
Ani Maitra (18:24):
At the same time, the universities is also a site where a certain strand of humanities scholarship, and media scholarship is also part of this, asks us to move past identity politics through aesthetics, a sort of dedicated immersion, if you will, in the poetics or artistics of form. So a kind of formalism, whether it’s literary form or cinematic form or the fine arts, that’s meant to be a solution against for these kinds of limits to identity politics.
Ani Maitra (18:58):
Earlier I mentioned the protests against Open Casket at the Whitney. You’ll remember that several scholars and artists are, in fact, critical of these protests, seeing them as a form of censorship and an misreading of the artist’s antiracist intentions. From this anti-identitarian and often disciplinary perspective, the power of the aesthetic ostensibly lies in its ability to sort of unite us across our identitarian divides and differences. There is an implicit assumption of work here that I’m trying to point out and critique in my book, that we are all supposed to have this kind of same emancipatory experience of the aesthetic or artistic form, often of a particular aesthetic medium like literature, cinema, or painting, when we clearly know that that’s not the case. We all come to different art objects from very different sociopolitical positions and we read them very differently.
Ani Maitra (19:57):
So what you described as public scholarly engagement is precisely the site where institutional celebrations and these kinds of formalist aesthetic dismissals of identity can learn from lived experiences of identity. This is where academic knowledge can start to resist its commodification, not just through its encounter with activism, which is also becoming corporatized, but by listening to marginal voices outside the academy and visible activism. The public element of the scholarly and activist engagement here then needs to include these marginal voices.
Ani Maitra (20:36):
So for example, while doing research in India for the final chapter of the book, I found it crucial to be in dialogue with media makers and activists who insist that the mediation of queerness in the Indian context is inseparable from oppressions based on gender, class, and cast. So it’s not just a matter of sexuality or not just a matter of gender. These are critical voices then whose intersectional approaches challenge very eloquently both the dominant Euro-American account of LGBTQ politics as well as the anti-identitarian theories of queerness coming out of the North American academy.
Ani Maitra (21:18):
As you know, in September 2018, the Supreme Court of India finally repealed the British colonial antisodomy law that had criminalized homosexuality since the nineteenth century. While it is certainly cause for celebration, it is also the task of critical public scholarship and activism to ensure that queerness and queer politics are not reduced to privatized same-sex desire or to individualized narratives of transitioning or to depoliticize politicized aesthetics. As I try to show in the book, this vital political work is already happening in India and ironically under a right-wing and neoliberal Indian government.
Cathy Hannabach (22:07):
It seems like one of the ways that scholars can become more attuned to participating in these kinds of public debates and avoid some of the pitfalls that you just named about reproducing these violences is how they address their topics. So not just the content of what research is happening or what concepts are being explored, but also literally how they say stuff, how they write things. I know that you write for a variety of different audiences, obviously scholarly audiences in the fields that you’re speaking to but you also write for a large array of nonacademic audiences in publications like Al Jazeera, CounterPunch, and things like that.
Cathy Hannabach (22:50):
What advice do you have for scholars on getting away from academese or translating some of these concepts that we have come to know and be familiar with and use in our everyday language but maybe aren’t so accessible to those who have different kinds of backgrounds? Do you have any advice either from your own work or from collaborations that you’ve done on how scholars can make their writing, in particular, more accessible to diverse audiences?
Ani Maitra (23:20):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I have to admit that writing for a broader audience and a more diverse audience does not come easily to me. But it is an exercise that is absolutely vital to any academic enterprise that wants to be inclusive and is committed to questions of social justice and equity.
Ani Maitra (23:41):
It’s also related to the question of disciplinarity that I raised earlier. The neoliberal academy wants us academics to specialize and super-specialize in our disciplines and areas of expertise and somehow create models for a better world primarily through our disciplinary and intellectual investments. Even interdisciplinarity, a buzzword that we academics love to use, is very often limited by our disciplinary attachments.
Ani Maitra (24:10):
So writing for a “nonacademic” audience is for me a way to think with and beyond my disciplinary investments. I’m trained in and teach film and media studies, but I do care about and want to write about things that are not film and media related sometimes. So I guess my advice to other scholars would be to write about things that might be related to but are not entirely shaped by their field of expertise. It’s easier, I feel, to get away from academic jargon in that way.
Ani Maitra (24:48):
That’s said, I don’t mean to imply that writing in this mode does not require research and rigorous thinking. In fact, sometimes it’s a lot harder because I’m writing about issues that I don’t necessarily teach in the classroom or give conference papers on.
So yes, making one’s work legible to a broader audience is crucial, but it’s also important, I think, to find ways to join bigger conversations unfolding the local, national, or transnational stage with or without the support of one’s research or field work. And personally, while writing a nonacademic piece, that bigger conversation that I’m having with an imagined audience becomes much more important than my own research.
Ani Maitra (25:37):
At a more practical level, I think I try to emulate the qualities of writers and op-eds that I appreciate. Whose op-eds do I like the most? Why do I like them? What makes these pieces accessible and interesting to me, even when they’re often outside my area of expertise? I think it’s really helpful to ask these questions when I’m thinking of writing for a bigger audience outside academia.
Ani Maitra (26:04):
And of course, like a lot of writers, I try to imagine my audience and think of the expectations of the audience as I work on an op-ed. But I think beyond a point, that is a futile exercise. I cannot control or determine the readership in any way, other than sending it to a particular venue. It’s very rewarding when I get emails from readers that are whom I’ve never met, especially those whose backgrounds are very different from mine. So those would be my two cents.
Cathy Hannabach (26:35):
This brings me to my favorite question that I get to talk with folks about that really, I think, ties together all of these different projects that you’re participating in and that you’re advocating for. That’s that version of a better world that you’re working towards when you write these pieces, when you do your research, when you collaborate with activists and media makers. So I will ask you this ginormous question that I think is also a really important question and one we don’t get enough opportunities to talk about. What kind of world are you working toward? What kind of world do you want?
Ani Maitra (27:11):
You saved the best but also the toughest question for last. I think that would be a world in which identity as difference is no longer tied to oppression. A world in which identity is no longer the fodder for this devastatingly unequal system of exchange and sociality that we call capitalism.
Of course, I imagine this world knowing that we do not live in a post-identitarian world, knowing that for very established and enduring historical reasons identity matters a lot to a lot of people, defines who they are. Identity has undeniable social, political, and economic consequences.
Ani Maitra (28:06):
But can we imagine a world where what defines me and others like me does not hinge on exploitation, oppression, or exclusion in some form? Can we imagine a world in which all differences are treated equally? Those aren’t new questions, for sure. I’m guided here by, again, the thinking of scholars like Chela Sandoval, Donna Haraway, Gayatri Spivak, and many others for whom identities are, by definition, partial, contradictory, and necessarily sort of temporary gestures.
Ani Maitra (28:42):
The goal would be to dispense with the need for identity with the help of something like affinity. As Haraway reminds us, affinity is a bond determined not by blood or biology but by choice. Affinity’s a form of social and political cohesion that refuses the capitalist logics of appropriation, incorporation, or naming our taxonomic identification.
Now, the million dollar question for many, many scholars has been, how do we get there? My attempt to answer that question has been to suggest that instead of celebrating or dismissing identity, we need to rethink its production and persistence. We need to reexamine how identities are mediated by capitalism and how these multiple mediations are, in fact, designed to pit identities against each other.
Ani Maitra (29:40):
So it’s by no means a conventionally optimistic analysis of the problem, but I like to go back to Lauren Berlant who reminds us that optimism might not feel optimistic. In that sense, you could say I’m able to imagine otherwise through my pessimism and skepticism about the present and the world we currently live in.
Cathy Hannabach (30:06):
Well, thank you so much for being with us today, Ani, and sharing all of the creative ways that you imagine otherwise.
Ani Maitra (30:14):
Thank you so much, Cathy. It’s been a pleasure
Cathy Hannabach (30:20):
Thanks for listening to another episode of Imagine Otherwise. Imagine Otherwise is produced by Ideas on Fire, and this episode was created by Christopher Persaud and myself, Cathy Hannabach. Audio editing was provided by the awesome folks at Pro Podcast Solutions. You can check out the show notes and transcript for this episode on our website at ideasonfire.net, where you can also read about our fabulous guest and find links to the people in projects we discussed on the show.