For The Wild Podcast

ALEXIS SHOTWELL on Resisting Purity Culture /298, August 3, 2022

August 3, 2022

This week we are joined by guest Alexis Shotwell to discuss how we might turn from the purity politics that govern many of our lives and this hurting world toward collective struggles for transformation and liberatory futurisms. Rather than forfeiting our complicity and implication in a world with mounting problems, we learn of a helpful heuristic for transforming inaction or the urge to be the perfect activist to a ground where we might be better- equipped to stick around for the long hall in struggles for social justice.  According to Alexis, this practice calls for admitting our mistakes and centering repair. 


In this episode, we dive into the relationship between purity culture and white supremacism, our complicit locations and implications in violence, and the importance of showing up to repair our broken and harmed relations inherited or otherwise. Alexis elucidates that it is only through the messy process of owning up to these broken relations throughout time and seeing how we might participate in and take on culturally appropriate relations of repair, responsibility, friendship, and comradeship in the struggles for liberation that we can survive these times. We hope this episode inspires your curiosity and (re)activates your commitments to this world. 


Alexis Shotwell’s work focuses on complexity, complicity, and collective transformation. A professor at Carleton University, on unceded Algonquin land, she is the co-investigator for the AIDS Activist History Project (, and the author of Knowing Otherwise: Race, Gender, and Implicit Understanding and Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times.


Music by Anne Carol Mitchel and Daniel Cherniske. 

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