22 November 2021

Dear Everyone:

Of course it isn’t the case that it’s only on the holiday designated for giving thanks that we offer gratitude for the lives we lead, nor should it be the case that on this holiday, we ignore the foundational devastation that it is designed to occlude. Perhaps, then, as we move into this week assigned to thanksgiving, we may remember gratitude as a name for relation – a name, that is, for acknowledging links between and among people and place, being and living, for acknowledging both the forms of relation (relationality, as it were) and the relations themselves (kin, friends, social formations, communities, collectives, collaborations), without which nothing is possible. Such acknowledgement can take material form – maybe most familiarly as the thanksgiving meal, but are contained in other practices, too – like making a point of deliberately learning of the thick histories that underwrite our place(s) in the world (a starting point might be something as simple as this tour of NYC), and/or pursuing sustained study by reading books like Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, and all the while, allowing gratitude to be visceral, moving in all senses, and sometimes joyously full (by way of music, of course!). In whatever forms take hold of you best, I hope gratitude will find you this week and always.

Saying thank you is for sure a basic practice of gratitude, and I’m glad to do so on all our behalf to Nancy Silverman for organizing and running the prospectus workshop last Friday, and to panelists Caroline Reitz, Woo Ree Heor, Sandra Moyano, and Chris Carpenter, for sharing your experience and insights, and to Sandra Lehnert Goldstein and Dasharah Green for conducting the forum on student concerns later in the afternoon! Programming is comprised by time and effort and energy and engagement and nothing good happens in or for our program without people taking up this work; many, many thanks.

Our next and final Friday events for this semester will be 3 December: open meeting at 4p, followed by ESA’s Revels at 6p-ish!  More details to follow next week.

With abundant thanks and all well wishes, as ever –

Kandice

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