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By Takiyah Nur Amin
How might love be re-imagined as a radical praxis that can bring about social transformation?
Those of us committed to social transformation — a change intended to bring about a more just and ethical world – would do well to re-imagine love in the manner this question suggests. This is not about having warm, fuzzy feelings towards each other. To me, love as a radical praxis draws us into compassionate relations with both self, other and our environment. It demands that we answer the question, “How might I respond (to myself, to another, to a situation that arises) in a manner that places care at the center of the interaction?” This ethics of care, a contribution of feminist thought, requires that we consider context in our interactions and uphold the value of relationships — the sense that we are interdependent — at the core of our being/life/work. To enact love, then, requires that we move — that we “do” — that we act — with a commitment to creating spaces, engendering practices and fostering relationships that recognize and honor our connections to each other and upholds compassion, understanding and a willingness to act on the best of what we know to be right. This is about is waking up each day, choosing to be conscious of our interdependence and acting accordingly. Love requires that we must want for others not only the best of what we want for ourselves, but that we are willing to listen to the deepest needs of another and to respond with gentleness and care.
Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin is Assistant Professor of World Dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned a Ph.D. in Dance with a concentration in Cultural Studies, as well as certificates in Women’s Studies and Teaching in Higher Education from Temple University. She has published in Conversations across the Field of Dance Studies, Dance Research Journal, and the Journal of Pan-African Studies, among others, and has presented her research at the Congress on Research in Dance Annual Meeting, the Society of Dance History Scholars Conference, and the American College Dance Festival, to name a few. Dr. Amin is on the Board of Directors for the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD), co-founder of CORD’s Diversity Working Group, and co-convener of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance. She is also the host of the Dance Channel on the New Books Network. Dr. Amin is also COO and Administrative Director of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, a Philadelphia-based dance company, and a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Association of University Women, and Sisters of the Academy. Read more at: http://www.takiyahnuramin.com/.