A jumbled stack of vintage maps
Behind the Scenes

Welcome to Disorient

Disorient is a living and growing resource for intersectional feminist thought, education, and activism created by Dr Helena Liu.

It’s born out of a charge to bear witness to these times of explicit violence, following Beth Kamunge, Remi Joseph-Salisbury, and Azeezat Johnson’s call to “work towards changing our fates” in the face of systemic oppression.

As the blog progresses, you’ll find a wealth of comprehensive explainers, readings, activities, tools, and critiques. To sustain our activism, the practices shared here will offer vital opportunities for self-care.

My mission is to create a rich and nurturing support system for those seeking to dismantle the interlocking systems of oppression in the world.

We Are Here Now

This blog emerges in a year that has seen a steady succession of traumatic events.

Just as the bushfires that ravaged Australia extinguished, we succumbed to a global pandemic that exposed the vulnerability of people of color, the working poor, and our friends and family in the Global South.

COVID-19 gave rise to soaring unemployment around the world with the worst effects of job insecurity, poverty, and homelessness yet to be seen.

This year, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd joined the long list of Black people who have been killed by police in the United States.

In my own country, three Indigenous people also died in police custody.

So we marched in the streets again, hoping with all our hearts it’s the last time we’ll have to march, yet knowing the struggle is far from over.

black lives matter protestors kneeling
Photograph by Clay Banks

We Are The Revolution

We stand against white supremacy, imperialism, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, patriarchy, and neoliberal capitalism.

We stand against the structural barriers that limit our ability to work, live, go to school, graduate, get paid, get promoted, rent homes, own homes, feed our families, access healthcare, love each other, love ourselves, and stay alive.

We stand against relentless everyday racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, classist, casteist, and ableist assaults and microaggressions.

We stand against an inhospitable world that refuses to see us as human.

We Will Remake The World

We create from anger.

We embrace an unapologetically corrosive gaze of the current state of injustice. We reject the insidious attempts to silence, contain, and diminish us — to prevent us from speaking our truths.

We recognize that anger is the appropriate response to injustice.

We create from pain.

We have endured heartache and hopelessness in what can feel like a never-ending struggle. We carry with us a deep yearning for coalition with others in resistance.

We understand that to be seen and heard is the first step to restoration.

Finally, and most importantly, we create from love.

We survived the brutalities of the white world because of our commitment to beauty, pleasure, and joy. Our love for one another is boundless.

We know that our revolution must center rest and play.

May Disorient serve as our place to be seen, to be heard, and to heal. This is where we build our community and raise our collective power.

How Disorient Got Its Name

dutch imperialism warfare
Zeegezicht met oorlogsvloot (1821) by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel

Colonial explorers charted the world as we know it, drawing and redrawing the borders as it suited their voracious appetites for resources.

The sociocultural world has since also been defined by the West. They are civilized, we are savage. They are forward-looking, we are primitive. They are rational, we are untamed. They are intelligent, we are bestial. They are good, we are evil.

Disorient represents a rejection of the definition of social reality created by the West. I’m choosing to let go of their maps, charts, and hierarchies. Willfully casting myself adrift to find my own way to truth.

Where To Begin?

Start with these posts:

  1. Welcome to Disorient
  2. What is Intersectional Feminism? A Definitive Guide
  3. Pre-Launch Blog Goals & Intentions
  4. 5 Must-Read Intersectional Feminist Books for Beginners
  5. How to Set and Maintain Boundaries for Sustainable Activism
  6. Teaching Intersectionality: Activities and Resources

About The Author

Helena Liu, the creator of this blog, stands in a forest in a coral dress ready to fight for social justice

Disorient is created by Dr Helena Liu (she/her), an intersectional feminist scholar of color living and writing in Sydney, Australia.

I’m a Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney where my research examines the ways gender, race, and class inform our culture’s enduring romance with leadership. I was awarded my PhD in 2012 from the University of Sydney.

I’m also one-quarter of the international scholar-activist collective, Building the Anti-Racist Classroom (BARC). We came together in 2017 to build and nurture anti-racist communities of students and staff working in higher education. We have run workshops in London, Leeds, Kent, and Bath and funded student-led activist projects.

My education and profession have granted me privileged access to invaluable resources — scholarly books and articles that are sequestered behind expensive paywalls and veiled in academic language.

I created Disorient as a way to extend my work beyond the Ivory Tower. To nourish growing appetites for intersectional feminist thought and activism. I hope to eventually fill these pages with comprehensive explainers, practical guides, and self-care resources for sustainable activism.

I turn 35 today.

In the last few years of my life, it has sometimes felt like the world is burning down around us. But I refuse to believe that destruction is our destiny. I have faith that when we stand together, we have the power to change our fates.

Disorient is how I show up.

What’s Next

I’ve been working on this blog behind the scenes for four months. I’ve written over 20 posts scheduled to be published through to the end of February 2021.

I’m incredibly excited for you to see what’s in store. Some of what you can expect over the next two months are:

  • Activities for teaching intersectionality
  • A detailed guide to the work of bell hooks
  • Intersectional feminist zines with how-to instructions for making your own
  • A collection of the best intersectional feminist podcasts
  • How to create and take a self-care day
  • A primer on setting and maintaining personal boundaries
  • Rituals for the new moon and full moon (for witchy self-care and activist magic 🧙🏻)
  • An intersectional feminist reading challenge to kick off 2021

If Disorient sounds like your cup of tea and you’d like to join this endeavor, please sign up for my newsletter, Moon Rites, below. Every month on the new and full moons, you’ll receive an email from me sharing all the beautiful, inspiring, important things I’m listening to or reading about intersectional feminism that I think you’d love.

My moon emails will be a little more personal than what I write on the blog and I hope they’ll provide some extra encouragement and companionship on your own scholar-activism journey.

Thank you so much for being here and I hope we’ll meet again soon.

Warmly,
Helena

Featured image by Andrew Neel

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