Paola Bacchetta

Co-Motion: Co-Formations, Co-Productions, and the Planetary in Feminist and Queer Alliances
Gender and Women's Studies
Spring 2014

Paola Bacchetta is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at University of California, Berkeley. She is on the Executive Committee of the University of California-wide Center for New Racial Studies. She is former Coordinator of the Gender Consortium at Berkeley. She is also former Director and current Advisory Board Chair of the Beatrice Bain Research Group, Berkeley’s research center on gender. She is an Advisory Board Member of Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements and Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures. Professor Bacchetta is the author or contributing co-editor of the following books:  Right-Wing Women: From Conservatives to Extremists around the World (New York: Routledge; with Margaret Power, 2002); Gender in the Hindu Nation: RSS Women as Ideologues (India: Women Ink, 2004); Textes du Mouvement Lesbien en France, 1970-2000 (Texts from the French Lesbian Movement, 1970-2000; On DVD; with Claudie Lesselier, 2011). Her co-edited book Trans-Q Fem: Elementi per una critica femminista queer e transnazionale (Trans-Q Fem: Elements for a Queer Transnational Feminist Critique) with Laura Fantone is in press. She has published about forty journal articles and book chapters. For more information see

Our present is characterized by new insurgencies and uprisings of many types which have generated a plethora of alliance formations. The movements have brought down regimes, forced States to adopt new policies and directions, and created unprecedented transnational links across otherwise isolated sites. Along with highly publicized revolts many less visibilized local to transnational activisms and solidarities are also unfolding. Our scholarship has yet to catch up with the current developments. Scholars are still using earlier approaches, categories and methods to analyze new phenomena in our new historical period. This book length manuscript proposes a different vision, theoretical inroad, set of empirical materials and methods to think about our present situation. To do so, it draws upon insights from Foucault, Deleuze, Gramsci, feminist and queer of color theory, postcolonial and decolonial theory. Its focus is on one slice of the contemporary activisms: the liberation-oriented co-motion of feminists and queers of color, and of all colors, who centrally engage with gender and sexuality inseparably with racism, class relations, colonialism, neo-colonialism, occupation, class, specism. The manuscript’s geopolitical sites of attention are France, India, Italy and the U.S., including areas of their colonial and postcolonial connectivities. A key term here is co-motion, a large rubric encompassing many very different styles of alliance formations: solidarities, unity, community, coalitions, convergences, unions, networks, etc. Instead of presuming alliances or simply arranging them all under one umbrella, the manuscript analyzes many distinct varieties of political links. Its subjects include: social movements, militant collectives, activists, urban and rural insurgents, performance artists, musicians, graffiti artists, painters, poets, subalterns in revolt and other creative social actors who unite to invent radical change. The materials for analysis are written, oral, artistic, filmic and other creations and tools produced by these subjects as well as notes from participant-observation in political actions and community living.