The Threshold for Gathering

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Georgeson-Usher, Camille
Embodied literature , Indigenous Autotheory , Social Gathering
The Threshold for Gathering takes shape as an ontology of gatherings, highlighting the liminal elements that build gatherings, and how we collectively change the shape of space. Gatherings have the immense capacity to show us how the micro and macro elements of how we come to these spaces are representational of larger societal patterns. Through this research-creation based dissertation, the autotheoretical approach brings theory together with the methodology of long-distance running to create poetic interventions and ideas for gathering differently. Individual workouts represent a series of physical gatherings, that shift the rhythm of the writing through a sensed and embodied literary structuring. This dissertation questions what it might look like if we were to gather with all of ourselves—the messy, (un)prepared, undone, contradictory compositions of what it means to be human—and how these types of gathering might be the elements required for a future that is more just and equitable. The three key questions are: 1. At what point do our intimate lives bleed over into the spaces for gathering? 2. How do we hold ourselves and one another in the spaces between gathering? 3. What marks the threshold for gathering? This dissertation highlights some complexities of what it means to be a diasporic Indigenous person who lives on lands that are not where their ancestors are from, with the mounting pressure to know everything about who they are all at once, but instead find themselves between knowing and unknowing, belonging and unbelonging. The writing’s shape follows suit of the ocean, continually moving towards its next shape, colliding with new bodies of water, removing that which does not serve it anymore. In The Threshold for Gathering we might come to understand how we each have the immense capacity to shift space and in making these shifts we find new possibilities outside of oppression and colonialism, but futures otherwise.
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