A radically different approach to social and environmental justice work for fans of adrienne maree brown and Bessel van der Kolk
Instead of thinking about social justice as a process that starts with changing people's minds, Embodied Activism understands our bodies--how we feel in them and relate to others through them--as the sites of transformation
How do ordinary people with busy lives leverage our actions in support of liberation, justice, and authentic connection? How can activists and social change-makers avoid burning out? How does the body factor into what our social movements miss? Drawing on the somatic arts, trauma-informed psychology, and anti-oppressive movements, Embodied Activism helps us explore and transform the political realities of our everyday lives in a new way: by harnessing the felt experience of our bodies as the sites of our activism. Rae Johnson teaches us to listen to our body language--and to question body image norms. They show us how to reconnect to our sensual capacities, which we can lose sight of in a non-stop, nervous-system-hijacking world. They give us tools and exercises to nourish ourselves and protect our bodies, minds, and spirits from the toll that activism can take. And they teach us about nonverbal communication styles and how to connect with each other in joyful, authentic community. Embodied Activism is written for embodiment professionals, community organizers, and all readers looking for new tools and perspectives for changing the world, one body at a time.
About the Author
RAE JOHNSON, PhD, RSW, RSMT, BCC is a social worker, somatic movement therapist, and scholar/activist working at the intersections of embodiment and social justice. Rae's approach to embodied activism has been shaped by decades of frontline work with street youth, women in addiction recovery, psychiatric survivors, and members of the queer community. Since completing their doctoral studies, Rae has held academic positions in several somatic psychology programs, including at Naropa University and Pacifica Graduate Institute. They currently teach somatic psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and co-direct an online certificate program in embodied social justice.
"Rae Johnson integrates decades of work in embodiment and social justice and makes the living of this accessible. While individual actions alone don’t create wide-spread social change, practicing deep embodied development can make our organizing for systemic change more powerful, more liberatory, and more possible. Rae's invitation to embodied activism offers me a wide and pragmatic hope." —STACI K. HAINES, PHD, author of The Politics of Trauma and cofounder of generative somatics
"Accessible and deeply engaging, Embodied Activism weaves Dr. Johnson’s personal experience and scholarship with the stories of community members, healing practitioners, and activists to show how knowing, working with, and radically loving our bodies is absolutely vital to the work of social justice." —KAI CHENG THOM, MSW, MSc, author of I Hope We Choose Love
"Johnson deftly makes the invisible visible and in doing so opens a critically important pathway to decolonize our bodies so that our insides align with our outside actions to build a just world." —LISA JO EPSTEIN, PHD, founder and executive and artistic director at Just Act
"A 'must-read' that will quickly become an important companion in our embodied work for liberation." —BETH BERILA, PHD, author of Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy
"This wonderful, profoundly empowering, and highly accessible book is a mustread for anyone engaged in the work of liberation and social change, or anyone who has a body." —NICK WALKER, PhD, author of Neuroqueer Heresies
"A blueprint for not only governing ourselves from a somatic, intrapersonal framework, but also how to intentionally engage others in a way that sparks the senses...." —ANGELA M. GRAYSON, PhD, president of the American Dance Therapy Association
"This book could not appear at a better time. Loud and highly combative voices commanding the public sphere make it difficult to think through our differences together in a respectful yet honest way. This book offers help in damping down the fires to gain access to fresh solutions." —DON HANLON JOHNSON, PhD, editor of Diverse Bodies, Diverse Practices
"This book gives us hope for the future, because it provides exceptional guidance and wisdom for our thoughtful self-reflection, giving us a radical new way of envisioning societal change." —FANNY BREWSTER, PhD, author of Racial Legacies