The thick clusters of roses are pale pink on the outer edges and darker as they get closer to the center, which is a bright deep red. Maybe ten feet high, the almond-shaped arch beckons deliciously, obscenely. It could be a surreal set in a Pedro Almodóvar film, or some tamed version of Allyson Mitchell’s 2004 installation, “Hungry Purse: The Vagina Dentata in Late Capitalism.”1 Then Gwyneth Paltrow steps in front of it. You wish she would get out of the way so you could continue to gaze at the beckoning carmine center, though her ivory-colored midriff-exposing outfit sets her off to good advantage against the floral backdrop. Her grin is exuberant.

Our task in this volume is to speculate on what solarity looks like “in terms of social systems, asking questions not about technology but about relationality and modes of being” (Szeman and Barney, this issue). I take this to be an invitation to imagine the different intimacies that solar could afford, intimacies that have the potential to be radically different from the relational structures afforded by petro modernity. If we let ourselves fantasize about it, we may hope for solar intimacy to be non-possessive, non-hierarchical, and non-individualized. Without the scarcity model of fossil fuel, maybe we could enter into some realm of being in which we can loosen our grip on things, on people, on the world that surrounds us. In that potential future, our subjectivities may be less bound by the systems
of oppression, categorization, and anxious identification that we now experience and inhabit.

This future has the potential to be very bright. In solarpunk imaginaries and plans for off-grid communes, it has been already been imagined and partially enacted, as Rhys Williams (2019) and Elvia Wilk (2018) so cogently describe. When I first began to think about writing this essay, I planned to examine these countercultural instances of the potential rejection of the fossil-fuel regime. I read solarpunk stories and pored over intentional community websites, looking for the ways in which they subverted our current paradigms of inequality and power, not only in their energy sources but also in their relational structures. These seemingly utopian visions couldn’t, however, keep my attention, in their liberal humanist assumptions that equality and non-hierarchical relationality could be obtained through earnestly willing it.

Instead, I was drawn to images that were not, at first glance, subversive or radical. Inscribed as they were in a popular culture version of self-care, they did not fit my idea of what a scholarly essay, no matter how informed by cultural studies it is, should examine. These came from what I quaintly imagine to be the other to my current academic life—Netflix watching, yoga practice, and French feminist texts that I haven’t read since my zealous days as a deconstructionist undergraduate. Anglo (white, cis-woman) liberal popular culture would not seem, at first glance, like the best place to find new paradigms for a solar future. Nor, perhaps, would the French theory that was so prevalent in English departments in the 1980s. Why then is this jumble of images, ideas, and concepts connected in my mind to solidarity and to possible visions of solarity?

Best to start from the premise that I’m going to get any answer to that question wrong. And to carry on anyway. Because I do think there’s something right in drawing upon what surrounds me, right now, right here, in the mainstream currents of my everyday life. In imagining the social and political possibilities that solar might offer, how else can I envision the future than to peer through the myopic lens of the present? The systems, structures, and objects that we have at our disposal now contain and conscript and expand our horizons. It’s the conundrum of all utopian thinking, as Fredric Jameson (2004: 46) reminds us: “Its function lies not in helping us to imagine a better future but rather in demonstrating our utter incapacity to imagine such a future—our imprisonment in a non-utopian present without historicity or futurity—so as to reveal the ideological closure of the system in which we are somehow trapped and confined.” Knowing this, I fear that every time I describe a possible opening of radical potential, my next sentence will reinscribe it within possessive individualism, body essentialism, or just plain sexism. I feel a little woozy already, just thinking about the sharp veering in and out of focus that I’m going to be enacting in this essay. Woozy from the woo-woo that we’ll wander through together.

The rest of this text is available at the following address:

https://doi-org.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/10.1215/00382876-8795694 or on my Academia page

WHAT I CALL “DEPERSONALIZED INTIMACY” posits modes of being with one another that are not predicated on a self that is in control of its own value, its own self-knowledge, or its own interpersonal interactions. The demand to be a knowable, self-aware, and authentic self thwarts many a friendship, love affair, and intimate conversation, and yet we continue to turn to the self-help aisle or Oprah to learn to be better at expressing and knowing ourselves. When that fails, we lament that we are misunderstood, unheard, and unmet by the other. This disappointment suggests that there is a transparent, authentic, and real self that needs recognition and mirroring. But this self is, I believe, a product of the neoliberal economization of the self, in which human capital becomes another site of investment and entrepreneurial ventures.1 As an antidote to this harmful and illusory expectation for the self, I suggest an ethics of depersonalized intimacy, in which we disinvest from an imagined relational self who is in charge of her actions and emotions and expected to perform herself to the other in an authentic and coherent manner.

The rest of this text is available at the following address:

https://doi.org/10.1353/esc.2016.0004

The younger stands in his underwear, his tongue contorting the way it always has when he concentrates. He paints one of the keys with the blue nail polish, the other with the green. The little crease in his lower belly leaves a pink imprint of a line when he straightens up. As I lie on my bed and gaze at him, I think also of his older brother’s belly, so long and skinny that there is no wrinkle when he leans over, a permanent washboard. I used to tickle him when he walked by without a shirt on, and he would falsetto shriek. Now he towers over me when he comes home from university, but I still stroke his neck when he’s sitting next to me, or touch his fingers as they rest on the table.

The rest of this text is available at the following address:

https://gutsmagazine.ca/on-becoming-an-imperfect-mother/

On Becoming an Imperfect Mother.” Guts Canadian Feminist Magazine. May 2015. Online.

Through storytelling, this essay explores hunger and desire as it weaves fairy tale with theories of orality. Jagoe links an infant’s need for nourishment with the confusion of love that can morph into a devouring possessiveness. The motifs of eating, of taking in, and of containment are discussed in relation to Little Red Riding Hood, Maurice Sendak, Slavoj Zizek, and family memoir. From the ghoulish imagination of children and fairytale, to the sexual complexity of adolescence, and on to the limits and capacities of maternal love, Jagoe interrogates an intimacy that nourishes instead of devours, that contains instead of consumes.

The rest of this text is available at the following address:

I’ll Eat You Up: Fears and Fantasies of Devouring Intimacies.” Writing From Below.

Originally published in: Toronto Star, Jan 5, 2018.

Albert Schultz was sympathetic in a play about an unfaithful husband, but as sexual assault and harassment allegations have swept Hollywood and local theatre, the conversation has shifted to ask hard questions about the differential positions of authority and privilege that shape our sexual encounters.

The rest of this text is available at the following address:

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/sexual-harassment-allegations-have-changed-how-we-interpret-theatre/article_dc820580-d27e-50a6-a7ba-93d223783ef4.html