Abolitionist Care - Feminist No Borders Summer School
June 14-18 2023
Nodes: Athens, Berlin, Lisbon, New Delhi, Novi Sad, Palermo
In Palermo, the Summer School is a collaboration beween the Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research and Maldusa
Sixth annual Feminist No Borders Summer School
Feminist no border struggles have to imagine radical relationships of care that do not depend on the state. This year at the Feminist No Borders Summer School, we focus on abolitionist care. We propose abolitionist care as a starting point of reflection on feminist practices of resistance in the context of current anti-carceral and no borders struggles. Abolitionist care is a form of collective care that seeks to prefigure and enact a world without borders, prisons, and carceral logics. Abolitionist care is a political response to the privatisation and deprivation of care, health, food, and housing. It picks up on the transfeminist and queer inheritances of the Feminist Strike.
The annual feminist no borders summer school provides a space of encounter, mutual learning, and inspiration for researchers, activists, artists, and members of community organisations to exchange experiences, strategies, and struggles across and against borders. We seek to dismantle the hegemony of academia as the primary location from which knowledge is produced and distributed. It's an antiracist, abolitionist feminist space that seeks to challenge the division between knowledge and practice and to intervene in the dominant ways in which borders are reproduced in academia, media, and humanitarianism. In the summer school, we practise alternative ways of learning, listening, and speaking to each other, prefiguring and enacting political communities through which we'd like to struggle.
Over the past years, we have been discussing the violence of borders, prisons and patriarchal forms of oppression and control. Whilst doing so, we shared tools and practices on how to deborder, how to dismantle carceral logics, and how to replace humanitarian responses with feminist and anti-racist solidarity. This year, we feel the need to further connect these practices with reflections on collective and abolitionist forms of care. That is, forms of care that are organised outside and against the frameworks of protection, carceral control, privatised resilience, and individual responsibility imposed by neoliberal racial capitalism.
Liberal self-care has become a normative paradigm of individualised responsibility in a context of organised abandonment (the withdrawal of resources and care by the state). It places the burden for coping with and healing from harm caused by systems of oppression on the people whom these systems victimise and blames them or punishes them for "failing to cope." The imperative to self-care constructs care as a product that can be bought, reproducing the logic of consumer capitalism. Under racial capitalism, "self-care" is accessible only to privileged individuals. Privatised care relies on the heteronormative nuclear family and on the exploitation and precarisation of those providing care to others, who are often gendered and racialised as migrant women.
Taking an abolitionist perspective means delinking care from punitive, coercive, and humanitarian approaches, all of which enact carcerality and control. Indeed, daily practices of care, mutual aid, solidarity and radical love, outside the logic of humanitarian aid (e.g., self-organised housing squats, civil search and rescue, collective kitchens, social clinics, etc.) are often targets of criminalisation and state repression. The care/control nexus reproduces violent borders. For instance, in anti-trafficking discourses, people identified as women are often cast as vulnerable and in need of humanitarian "care"; yet, under the border regime, vulnerability is weaponised through systemic disempowerment, encampment, and degradation in carceral institutions (such as camps and detention centres).
Learning from Black feminist insights on the politics of care, we ask: how may we engage in abolitionist care in our collective struggles against borders, prisons, and carceral institutions?
What does abolitionist care mean for each of us?
Who cares? For whom are we taught to care, and who is excluded from care?
How does positionality affect our ability/capacity/willingness to offer care?
What would we need to "abolish" in order to truly care? Or, conversely, how might collective, radical practices of care be a road to abolition?
How do we care for and with each other when we no longer appeal to the police, the law, or to carceral institutions to deal with harm, crisis, or violence?
This year, the Feminist No Borders Summer School will take place in person across six nodes, in Athens, Berlin, Lisbon, New Delhi, Novi Sad, and Palermo. A plurality of nodes in different localities will allow different realities to emerge and connections between them to form. Each node will have 20–30 participants, in addition to the node organisers, according to capacity.
The summer school will take place over five days in June: 14-18 June 2023.
14 June: arrival and welcome. Welcome assembly (Booq, Palermo)
15 June: abolitionist care and struggles over housing (Booq, Palermo)
16 June: abolitionist care and struggles over health (Anomalia, Non Una di Meno, Palermo)
17 June: abolitionist care and struggles over food. Closing assembly (Associazione Senegalese and Maldusa, Palermo)
18 June: abolish work and have fun together! (Maldusa, Palermo)
The main language of the summer school will be English, but we will try to provide interpretation, when possible.
If you need support with a visa application, we can provide an invitation letter.
Each local node will make sure that in-presence activities are organised in order to keep people safe from Covid-19, according to the needs and regulations of the time and place where the meetings will take place, as well as according to participants' accessibility needs.
The organisation of the Feminist No Borders Summer School is a work of love and all organisers and invited participants volunteer their time. This is how there are no tuition fees to attend this summer school. By April 21, we kindly ask all confirmed participants to:
(1) become members of FAC and (2) make a solidarity contribution, which will be distributed to the community organisations involved in the summer school, in order to support their actions in the struggle against borders. For each, there is a sliding scale from €0 to €200, according to your capacity. If you have an institutional affiliation and have access to funding, please choose a higher scale of membership and solidarity contribution.
Code of contact:
The summer school is an antiracist, feminist LGBTQI+ affirmative space and the participation of trans, intersex, non-binary, queer, lesbian, bisexual, and gay people is encouraged. No TERFS! Prior to sending an expression of interest, please read and commit to our code of contact.
20 February 2023: Call for Participants Opens
24 March 2023: Call for Participants Closes
10 April 2023: Participants notified
21 April 2023: Date by which to confirm participation (participants)
21–28 April 2023: Visa letters sent
12 May 2023: Finalised programme circulated
14–18 June 2023: Summer School takes place
To express interest in participating in the summer school,
please complete this form.
The sixth annual Feminist No Borders Summer School is organised by the Feminist Autonomous Centre for research in collaboration with organisers in each of the local nodes:
Athens: Aila, Anna, Marleno, Myrto, Valentina
Berlin: Doro, Klara, Lola, Mitch, Ricki
Lisbon: Erica, Francesca, Roxana, Sara, Vania, Magdala, Ema, Laura, Vera
New Delhi: Sreejata, Khirkee Collective, Nian, Salman
Novi Sad: Lara, Laura, Ljiljana, Nađa, Vanja
Palermo: Camille, Deanna, Eva, Jasmine
If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to get in touch! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Care Dossier. Krisis 42(1): 2022 journal special issue).
Pirate Care Syllabus. 2019–2020 (online resource).
Alexia Arani, Abolitionist Care: Crip of Color Worldmaking in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. PhD dissertation, University of California San Diego, 2022 (dissertation)..
Eva Boodman, COVID-19, Biopolitics and Abolitionist Care Beyond Security and Containment. Abolition: A Journal and Community of Radical Theory and Practice, 8 May 2020.
El Jones, Abolitionist Intimacies. Fernwood: 2022 (book).
Prentis Hemphill, Finding Our Way S2E7: Navigating conflict with Kazu Haga and S2E12: Harm, punishment, and abolition with Mariame Kaba, 2021 (podcast).Mariame Kaba, Free Us All. The New Inquiry, 8 May 2017 (article).
Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light: and Other Essays. Foreword by Sonia Sanchez. Ixia Press (1988) 2017.Farzana Khan, Moving from 'No Borders' to Broaderland for the Borderless. New Internationalist, 17 December 2015 (article).Q Manivannan, Imagining a Care Curriculum. Feminist Perspectives, 11 May 2022 (essay).
China Medel, Abolitionist Care in the Militarised Borderlands. The South Atlantic Quarterly 116(4): 2017, 873–883 (article).
The Creative World of Care: A Portfolio of Abolitionist Imagination. A World Without Cages, Asian American Writers' Workshop, 2020 (essays).
Krystle Okafor, What Is Collective Care Today? 2020 (zine).
Vanessa E. Thompson, Policing in Europe: Disability Justice and Abolitionist Intersectional Care. Race and Class 62(3): 2021 (article).
Dean Spade, Andrea Ritchie, Victoria Law, Pauline Rogers, Jarvis Benson, Study and Struggle 2: Abolition, Intersectionality, and Care. Haymarket, 30 September 2020 (video).