Imagine Otherwise by Ideas on Fire-logo

Imagine Otherwise by Ideas on Fire

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A podcast about bridging art, activism, and academia to build more just futures. On each episode, host Cathy Hannabach interviews the scholars, dancers, authors, artists, and filmmakers imagining collective freedom and creating it through culture.


Philadelphia, PA


A podcast about bridging art, activism, and academia to build more just futures. On each episode, host Cathy Hannabach interviews the scholars, dancers, authors, artists, and filmmakers imagining collective freedom and creating it through culture.




Jasmine Nichole Cobb on Haptic Blackness

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews Black visual studies scholar Jasmine Nichole Cobb about haptic blackness and the cultural politics of Black hair in US visual culture. Jasmine is a professor of African and African American studies and of art, art history, and visual studies at Duke University. Her recent book New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair traces the history of Black hair in visual culture across documentary films, portrait photography, advertising, sculpture, and...


Mairead Sullivan on Lesbian Feminist World-building

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews women’s and gender studies professor Mairead Sullivan about the histories and futures of lesbian feminism. Mairead is the author of the new book Lesbian Death: Desire and Danger between Feminist and Queer, which offers a love letter to lesbian feminist world building while also refuting the weaponization of lesbian identity against trans lives and trans communities. In their conversation, Mairead and Cathy explore how the political and economic project...


Josen Masangkay Diaz on Postcolonial Configurations

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews ethnic studies and women and gender studies professor Josen Masangkay Diaz about US–Philippine relations during the Cold War and how that history shapes Filipino America today. In their conversation, Josen and Cathy explore the role of race, nation, and gender during the Cold War, particularly how they were renegotiated in the wake of decolonization and the postcolonial nation-building projects that followed. They discuss Josen’s research into how...


Erin Durban on the Sexual Politics of Empire

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews anthropologist Erin Durban about the past and present relationship between the United States and Haiti as it shapes the lives of queer and trans Haitians. In their conversation, Erin and Cathy talk about the history of US occupation and imperialism in Haiti and how it shapes the work international LGBTQ organizations began doing there in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Erin also shares how their approach to ethnographic research has shifted over...


Jennifer Lynn Kelly on Anticolonial Solidarity Tourism

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews feminist studies and ethnic studies professor Jennifer Lynn Kelly about her new book Invited to Witness. In their conversation, Cathy and Jennifer talk about the temporality and pace of doing ethnographic research for this book while also navigating state visa politics, job search demands, and family commitments can pull in multiple directions. Jennifer also shares the importance of letting a writing project change itself and change its writer over time, and...


Josef Nguyen on the Politics of Flexibility

Cathy Hannabach interviews digital media scholar Josef Nguyen about the promises and perils of flexible planning, why cultural anxieties over uncertain futures are so often routed through debates over flexible educational technology, and ways to put flexibility to use in the classroom, on the page, and in our daily lives in ways that center collective support and more just worlds. Transcript and show notes:


Anima Adjepong on Interdisciplinary Intuition

The massive changes we’ve collectively experienced over the past two years of a global pandemic have caused many of us to ask some big questions about who we are and what we want to be doing. It’s also pushed us to embrace our embodied capacity and make conscious changes to nourish our spirit as well as our creative, professional, and communal goals for the future. It seems only fitting that we close out 2021 with an episode about intuition, or how we learn to listen for and heed that...


Nitasha Tamar Sharma on Recalibration and Balance

We’re reaching that time of year when the days shorten and we start to wonder if we’ll get everything done we wanted to this year. In this season, many of us yearn for more balance in our daily routines and the second year of an ongoing global pandemic has made that feeling even more intense. What does balance even mean in this context and how can we cultivate it in ways that feed our collective desires for justice? In episode 143 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews...


Catherine Knight Steele on Black Feminist Extensions of Grace

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews digital studies scholar and professor Catherine Knight Steele, whose work reveals the central role Black women and Black feminists have played in developing, challenging, and transforming our digital technologies. Approaching Black digital studies holistically, Catherine shows how marginalized groups build lasting community through online, in-person, and hybrid practices, including sustainable models for mentorship and mutual support. In their conversation,...


Christopher Ali on Building a More Connected World

Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic, access to reliable, high-performance broadband internet was a necessity for many of us to be able to meaningfully participate in our workplaces, schools, and communities. The pandemic has made this even more apparent. The digital divide separating those with access from those without is hardly a new issue but what is less often discussed is how that digital divide looks different in rural versus urban spaces. In episode 141 of Imagine Otherwise,...


Sandra Ristovska on Seeing Human Rights

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews filmmaker and media studies scholar Sandra Ristovska about the complex ethical, political, and legal relationship between imagery and human rights. They discuss the role of video evidence in simultaneously exposing and reproducing injustice, the often life-and-death stakes of critical visual interpretation, and what it means to turn the act of seeing each other into a practice of human rights. Transcript and show notes:...


Jessica Bissett Perea on Indigenous Transformations in Academic Publishing

Publishing plays a central role in higher education, primarily through the hiring, tenure, and promotion process. Because of this, transforming academic publishing means transforming how scholarly knowledge itself is produced, circulated, and applied. The research process, writing process, and publishing process are all deeply intertwined and all offer opportunities to build the kinds of worlds we want to inhabit. To explore how this process works and the worldmaking possibilities it opens...


Priya Kandaswamy on Embracing Permanent Change

We’ve all experienced a LOT of change over the past year and a half. Many of the things we assumed to be stable anchors suddenly turned out not to be, as everything from the global economy and education to politics and media were irrevocably transformed. Many with privilege have responded to such upheaval by demanding a swift and complete return to the same capitalist normal that unevenly organized life in the before times. But those for whom the old normal was a source of oppression...


Mark Villegas on Collaborative Abundance in Hip-Hop Cultures

Host Cathy Hannabach interviews filmmaker and hip-hop scholar Mark Villegas, who has built his career foregrounding the power of collective abundance. Highlighting the strength, inspiration, and generosity that emerges from collaboration, Mark’s endeavors illustrate the transformations that take place when diverse ideas and cultural traditions are brought together. In the conversation, Mark and Cathy chat about why multiracial, transnational, and cross-generational hip-hop cultures have...


Maile Arvin on Kuleana and Indigenous Feminist Community

Community building is a cornerstone of progressive social and intellectual movements. Resisting capitalist individualism, we know how vital social bonds are in sustaining our identities, our dreams, and even our very lives. But it’s easy to romanticize community and forget the work involved in forging and tending those social bonds—labor that often reflects the very power dynamics that we seek to dismantle. In episode 136 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Kānaka Maoli...


Christen A. Smith, Dána-Ain Davis, and Sameena Mulla on Cite Black Women

Centuries of Black feminist intellectuals have demonstrated how knowledge production is always deeply political, revealing whose labor and lives we value. Publicly citing and generously engaging with the contributions that others have made to our thinking is a crucial way we remake the world. In episode 135 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Christen A. Smith, Dána-Ain Davis, and Sameena Mulla, the three co-editors of the recent ground-breaking special issue of Feminist...


Liat Ben-Moshe on Community beyond the Carceral State

Movements organized around disability justice, prison and police abolition, queer and trans feminism, and economic justice have long shown how intersecting systems of oppression require intersectional frameworks for resistance. On episode 134 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Liat Ben-Moshe, who has spent her career tracing what she calls carceral ableism, or the ways the prison industrial complex and anti-disability logics shape one another in our daily lives and our...


Mecca Jamilah Sullivan on Cultivating Joy through Queer Black Feminist Art

Over the past few years, we’ve seen more and more vibrant intersectional and interdisciplinary cultural production get the attention it so richly deserves. This work builds on a long history of refusing to separate the personal from the political in Third World and women of color feminism, radical Black and queer activism, and movements for economic, disability, and environmental justice. All of these traditions have valued the role of art in sparking social change, as the creative and the...


J. Faith Almiron on Abolitionist Pedagogy within and beyond Institutions

Building an abolitionist university or museum requires more than just updating some policies. It requires rethinking from the ground up what we want out of our cultural institutions and renewing our commitment to bringing that abolitionist vision to fruition. In episode 132 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews scholar, performance artist, and Prince-enthusiast J. Faith Almiron, whose interdisciplinary crisscrossing of academic, artistic, and activist spaces demonstrates the...


La Marr Bruce on Renewal, Loss, and Black Creativity

As scholars, we often like to think we have everything under control. We work hard to meet deadlines, fulfill our responsibilities, and get everything done. So what happens when global and personal events throw all of that out the window? In episode 131 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews La Marr Bruce, whose La new book How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity, ended up on a much windier publication path than expected due to both the...