Take Back The Fight

Resisting Sexual Violence from the Ground Up

Felix Kulpa Gallery II | 209 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, California

with additional events atSubRosa: A Community Space | 703 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, California

Exhibition Dates: February 2, 2018 – February 24, 2018

Open Hours: Fridays & Saturdays | 12pm-5pm

Events (all are free and/or by donation):

Exhibition Opening: February 2, 2018 | 6pm | @ FKII & SR

Panel Discussion: February 3, 2018 | 3pm | @ FKII

Reading Group: TBA

Self-Defense Workshop: February 11, 2018 | 12-4pm | @ SR | RSVP to lahanna@ucsc.edu

Collaborative “NO” Patchwork Project: February 11, 2018 | 6-8pm | @ FKII | Hosted by the Fábrica; part of a project by artist Eliza Ferdinand | more info: https://www.facebook.com/thefabrica/

Open Stage: February 15, 2018 | 8pm | @ SR | more info: https://www.facebook.com/subrosaproject


About the show:

[Press Release]

Recovery from trauma after sexual assault is often imagined as a personal, internal experience. However, an exclusive focus on individual narratives of victimization and healing can obscure decades of collective, grassroots struggle by and on behalf of sexual assault survivors. Rape is not an isolated experience, but a pervasive form of violence that acts in concert with oppression in the workforce, at home, and in medical and academic institutions–as well as with structural racism, homophobia, transphobia, and capitalism. Likewise, organizing against sexual violence is intimately linked to struggles for liberation in both public and private spheres. The history of organizing against sexual assault and rape helps us to understand feminist resistance to violence as a collective struggle against patriarchy, and sexual and gender violence as a function of state violence.

Take Back the Fight: Resisting Sexual Violence from the Ground Up, Interference Archive’s in summer 2017 exhibition in Brooklyn, New York will be in Santa Cruz at the Felix Kulpa II Gallery for the month of February 2018. The exhibition focuses on organized responses to gender and sexual violence, highlighting the ways individuals and communities have developed creative and powerful grassroots and non-institutional justice and healing practices. A collaboration with Lesbian Herstory Archives, Take Back the Fight narrates intersecting histories of activism by and on behalf of survivors of sexual violence and their communities. The exhibition will coincide with a series of public events in order to collectively engage with the exhibition material, relating the histories presented to ongoing efforts to end and heal from sexual violence.

Archival materials in this exhibition are primarily drawn from the collections of the Interference Archive and Lesbian Herstory Archives. Taken as a whole, these documents reveal both the breadth of organizing against sexual violence and its fragmented, conflictual history, echoes of which continue to be felt in contemporary feminism. The exhibition makes visible some of the fault lines that developed between activists: the pornography debates of the “Sex Wars,” the limits of single-issue organizing, and conflicts and tensions around whether to work within state institutions or develop community-centered justice models.

Archival materials are complemented by materials created by contemporary artist/activists. These will include a quilt from The Monument Quilt, an evolving collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse; and Bordados (embroideries) by the organization Bordamos Feminicidios based in Mexico created in response to feminicide.

This exhibition situates multiple histories of resistance to sexual violence within a broader narrative of feminist, anti-racist, and queer activism. It presents strategies of resistance, both

historical and contemporary, looking at the ways in which activists have sought justice outside of the courts and the criminal justice system. Ultimately, Take Back the Fight demonstrates the crucial role of grassroots organizing in the struggle against sexual violence and the importance of this activism as a tool of both healing and resistance.

Take Back the Fight is organized by Lani Hanna, Louise Barry, Melissa Forbis, Monica Johnson, and Rachel Corbman. In Santa Cruz Take Back the Fight is in collaboration with Felix Kulpa Gallery II, SubRosa Community Space, The Hub, and What Goes Up, Must Come Down – a platform for contemporary activist scholarship organized by Gabriel Saloman Mindel and Lani Hanna. Support for the traveling of this project is from the Santa Cruz Arts Council and University of California Santa Cruz Feminist Studies Department. Please contact lahanna@ucsc.edu with questions about the exhibition, or for class tours.

Veda Popovici

Feminist Studies, the History of Consciousness and Center for Cultural Studies present…


Tuesday, APRIL 18   |   3:00-4:30   |   HUM 1-210; UCSC

Comparative urban studies are on the rise, raising new questions about translation, fungibility, and transit. How can we study the material effects of global capital in various urban spaces without conflating the spatial struggles and transformations of one space upon another? How can superimposing Western understandings of gentrification upon non- Western places impose onto- epistemological violence? This talk, moderated by Feminist Studies doctoral candidate and Anti- Eviction Mapping Project co-founder Erin McElroy, will feature Bucharest-based housing justice activist, artist, and scholar Veda Popovici. Veda will share more about the Bucharest’s direct action collective, the Common Front for the Right to Housing, as well as histories of postsocialist neoliberal housing restitution laws that have incited current Romanian spatial struggles. Erin and Veda will discuss a growing call to think both global capital formations and comparative urbanism in Romania through decolonial analytics.


Veda Popovici: The Light Revolution and its Aftermaths

Wednesday, APRIL 19   |   8:00pm   |   SUB ROSA, 703 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz

Throughout all of February, tens of thousands took the streets in Romania to protest corruption of the political class. Far from being the first spontaneous mass protests in recent local history, they were the first of such magnitude to affirm a clear right-wing position. Corruption, an exclusively right-wing issue, works as a discursive mechanism portraying Romanian society as backward. Self-defined as messianic multitude, the aspirational middle-class that asserted itself through these events is on a mission to save us from backwardness and correctly implement the civilizational imperative of the Western world.

Western media embraced what turned out to be the confirmation of its post-Cold War narrative of the political coming of age of Romania through liberalism and capitalism. As local radicals, the Light Revolution meant the further demonization of the broad left and of direct action tactics. As international radicals, we expect solidarity not with the imperialist narrative of the “at last enlightened East” but with local resistance to the liberal paradigm of civic, peaceful protest.

About Veda Popovici

Veda Popovici is a Bucharest-based housing justice activist, artist, and scholar. She will talk about current political action and concerns in Romania, including recent mass protests.



Sylvia Federici

The Public School: Santa Cruz, the Anthropology and Social Change Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the Center for Creative Ecologies present…




The Public School: Santa Cruz will be hosting Silvia Federici for an open dialogue about strikes and social reproduction on Saturday March 4th, from 12-2:30PM. This event will be co-sponsored by the Anthropology and Social Change Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, the What Goes Up, Must Come Down speaker series, and the Center for Creative Ecologies at UCSC. The event will include childcare, food, and literature.

About Silvia Federici

Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, and a teacher. In 1972 she was one of the co-founders of the International Feminist Collective, the organization that launched the international campaign for Wages For Housework (WFH). In the 1990s, after a period of teaching and research in Nigeria, she was active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti-death penalty movement. She is one of the co-founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, an organization dedicated to generating support for the struggles of students and teachers in Africa against the structural adjustment of African economies and educational systems. From 1987 to 2005 she taught international studies, women studies, and political philosophy courses at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. All through these years she has written books and essays on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education and culture, and more recently the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons.

AK Thompson

Feminist Studies, The History of Consciousness and Center for Cultural Studies present…

AK Thompson

Thursday, DECEMBER 1   |   12:20-2:00  |   HUM 210; UCSC

Since the visual turn in the social sciences at the beginning of the twenty-first century, images have become important points of engagement both as objects and as modes of analysis. For this reason, along with its 50+ entries exploring the keywords used by contemporary activists, Keywords for Radicals (AK Press 2016) incorporates data visualization to show how the “vocabulary” shared by radicals constitutes a kind of self-supporting small world network.

Such visualizations can help readers to map how the project’s vocabulary “works” and how struggles over word usage and meaning might most effectively be carried out. But while data visualization of this kind can be useful, it also raises significant epistemological questions about the relationship between representation and what’s real.

In this presentation, Keywords for Radicals editor AK Thompson will discuss the theoretical and aesthetic foundations of the project’s data visualization in order to evaluate the promise and perils of this technique in the age of the infographic.


Friday, DECEMBER 2   |  6-8pm   |   SUB ROSA; 703 Pacific Ave

Join activist, writer and scholar AK Thompson for an informal discussion about his recent book, Keywords for Radicals. What is the power of language and how does the struggle for what words mean reflect the very struggles that

development—asks: What vocabulary might illuminate the social transformations marking our own contested present? How do these words define the imaginary of today’s radical left?

With insights from dozens of scholars and troublemakers, Keywords for Radicals explores the words that shape our political landscape. Each entry highlights a term’s contested variations, traces its evolving usage, and speculates about what its historical mutations can tell us. More than a glossary, this is a crucial study of the power of language and the social contradictions hidden within it.

About AK Thompson

AK Thompson got kicked out of high school for publishing an underground newspaper called The Agitator and has been an activist, writer, and social theorist ever since. Currently teaching social theory at Fordham University, his publications include Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti- Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent (2010) and Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (2006). Between 2005 and 2012, he served on the Editorial Committee of Upping The Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.