Definition: Extimacy - a Lacanian term disrupting the space between the personal and the social

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The (counter)investment in the body as a site of need, desire, and pleasure and the constancy of unmet needs, repressed desires, and the shortcomings of pleasure are articulated in the very endeavor to heal the flesh and redress the pained body. 

Saidiya Hartman

Challenging the colonial world is not a rational confrontation of viewpoints. It is not a discourse on the universal, but the impassioned claim by the colonized that their world is fundamentally different.





Practicing Extimacy in the Embodied Political Field:

10-Month Online Intensive / Cohort Size – 9 to 11

Course Description:

This online intensive – experiential, existential, and theoretical – is a dialogue with the brilliant works of Denise Ferreira da Silva, Saidiya Hartman, and Sylvia Wynter.  The purpose is to confront what is uncontainable about racialization in the wake of changes that do not yet exist.   We’re living a collective, psychic moment of urgency – the kind that has historically created space for paradigm shifting – where there’s intense desire by many for radical social change, on the one hand, and fiery frustrations around the slowness of systemic change, on the other.  And, if race – in its manifestations through gender, sex, ability, labor, citizenship, religion, and more – operates in practice as a sanctioned relational field that psychically and materially forecloses transcendence of violence, the violence that is race is re-sustained when we’re misattuned to the affective, racialized bindings that supersede every social encounter.  To this end, this online intensive supports engagement in what will be called the interim: an existential space between the violences yet to be healed and what is needed for sustainable living, right now!  The method involves learning to co-track and thus disrupt the things, ideas, and practices that relationally manifest race as the recognizable means of existence in everyday interaction.  We draw upon a practice of embodied political theory – creating and combining everyday skills that integrate somatic awareness and political theorization – to presence and disrupt the violent mundanity of race as an unfamiliar way through.  Such requires expressed awareness that the stakes and consequences of engagement are inherently uneven for racialized and racializing folk because we continue to co-exist in an unrepaired, colonial-capitalist world. Neutrality does not exist here and neither are the solidarity spaces that we co-build.  The Practicing Extimacy process is thus about exploring conditions of praxis that may/might enable the option to choose to vulnerably engage across consequentially, uneven locations, as an unpracticed path.  Here, “safety” is non-existent and there are no guarantees of success; and yet, not exploring the unknown feels unsustainable   

Extimacy/extimité is a psychoanalytic term from Jacques Lacan; its purpose is to disrupt opposition between what is internally experienced as personal vs. external or relational. The ‘Practicing Extimacy’ process dislodges this term from the individual psyche; it is politicized to refer to the interstitial, uncertain spaces between people. This process – inspired in part by James Baldwin’s interactive presencing of liberal hypocrisy in raced encounters – offers an accountable, experiential praxis that may facilitate shared meta-attunement to the work of race in (inter)action. As the psychic and bodily effects of colonial-capitialism existentially supersede intimacies, friendships, and even solidarity projects, this offering is about learning to co-hold, as an existential imperative, 1) the transformative potential in non-affective, political care, and 2) the political constraints that fractally tether every encounter to what is socio-politically unrepaired.   

…To never simplify what is complicated

or complicate what is simple…

Arundhati Roy

…The most revolutionary act is a clear view 

of the world as it really is…

Rosa Luxemburg

Who should enroll:

This advanced course is designed for activists, therapists, bodyworkers, healing artists, conflict mediators, cultural workers, professors/teachers, advocacy professionals, etc., who situate their work in the realms of political and social praxis and are regarded with know-how in one-on-one or group/community work.  It’s also ideally suited for those wanting support integrating such work into one-on-one or community settings.  This is not an introductory course and thus is not suitable for those new to thinking or talking about race and racial-gender.  This course is also for individuals who have experience with community engagement and its inherent challenges and uncertainties. 


The course process is crafted for a sustainable, online community.  The following is required for participation:

  • extensive, long-term and ongoing engagement with processing one’s own racial/racial-gendered location
  • inner capacity to presence social discomforts around racial/racial-gender conflict
  • established and stable support (communal, therapeutic, etc.) to facilitate integration of challenging experiences between modules.  

Support During the Course: 

  • There are currently no assistants for this cohort, but the content and its very delivery are pedagogically designed to support deep individual and collective containment in a setting that is rigorously accountable and inherently “unsafe”. 
  • Conflict management: if you experience unresolving conflict within, with another in the class, or with the instructor, the instructor will intervene in this process within 36-hours of the event/experience.
  • Closed captioning – please inquire about ASL support 
  • 1.5 hr live Q/A reading review in-between each module to support integration of the reading material
  • 1 free, course-related consult or processing check-in between each module.

Course Schedule:

This course is offered in 3 sequences over 10.5 months.  Class meeting time for Modules 1 through 5 is 10:15am to 3:15pm PST / 1:15pm to 6:15pm EST / 18h15 to 23hr15 UK.  Please note that Day 1 of Module 1 starts 45 minutes earlier than the regular scheduled time, @ 9:30am PST / 12:30am EST / 17h30 UK. Class meeting time for Modules 6 through 8 begins at the same time, but ends 30 minutes later: @ 3:45pm PST / 6:45pm EST / 23hr45 UK.  SEE SAMPLE SCHEDULE BELOW:

Sequence I: Social Theory Embodied

Module 1 – Aug 12-13 (Sat-Sun), 2023

Module 2 – Sept 23-24 (Sat-Sun), 2023

Module 3 – Nov 4-5 (Sat-Sun), 2023

Sequence II: Feeling, Writing & Co-narrating Raced Existence [Prereq: Sequence I]

Module 4 – Dec 16-17 (Sat-Sun), 2023

Module 5 – Jan 27-28 (Sat-Sun), 2024

Module 6 – Mar 9-10-11 (Sat-Sun-Mon), 2024

Sequence III: ‘Extimacy’ as Praxis [Prereq: Sequence II]

Module 7 – Apr 19-20-21-22 (Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon), 2024

Module 8 – May 31-June 1-2-3 (Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon), 2024

Fee Structure: 

**You will be required to purchase books for this course.

**There is a course mutual fund – funded by course participants – to financially support those who may need to draw from this source as tuition support.

**Funds for our mutual account are gladly accepted from participants to support those who currently can’t meet the Tier 1 rate.  These funds will be held until the completion of the course.  If no one uses them they are returned to those who funded them.

Tier 1: Gross household income at/under $40,000 AND no retirement, assets, or family income/wealth (at present or in the future via inheritance) & must show proof of income (no narrative explanation required) – Modules 1-5: $180 each / Module 6: $270 / Modules 7-8: $270 each 

Tier 2: Gross household income at/under $65,000 – Modules 1-5: $300 each / Module 6: $450 / Modules 7-8: $550 each

Tier 3: Gross household income at/over $65,001 – Modules 1-5: $390 each / Module 6: $585 / Modules 7-8: $685 each 

FOR MORE INFORMATION – kefikes (@) gmail (dot) com