For The Wild Podcast

DR. MIMI KHÚC on Claiming Unwellness / 304

September 14, 2022

Guided by her curated work Open In Emergency (a “hybrid book project” including a Tarot Deck and a “hacked” DSM), Dr. Mimi Khúc and Ayana share in a deep conversation touching on mental health, collective unwellness, and the power of communal care. Mimi provides listeners with a reminder of joyful slowness and the vitality of finding the agency to care for self and others.


Mimi’s work is grounded in the question: “How do we find new ways to talk about what hurts?” Flipping diagnosis on its head, Mimi guides us to find new ways to name what we feel and to decolonize the language of feeling itself. How is what we feel a reflection of what we have been told we must feel? How are our understandings of wellness centered around a productivity that benefits expansive capitalism over humanity? 


Together, Mimi and Ayana reflect on the ethical callings and commitments to care for each other and begin to unpack the systems that must be dismantled in order to truly care for one another and find vulnerability together. These are spiritual and religious questions. Perhaps connection and care in this individualized, alienating world are true magic. 


Mimi Khúc is a writer, scholar, and teacher of things unwell and visiting professor in Disability Studies at Georgetown University. She is the managing editor of The Asian American Literary Review and guest editor of Open in Emergency: A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health. She is very slowly working on several book projects, including a manifesto on contingency in Asian American studies and essays on mental health, the arts, and the university. But mostly she spends her time baking, as access and care for herself and loved ones.


Music by Jeffery Silverstein, Samara Jade, Grief Is A River (Sarah Knapp). Visit our website at for the full episode description, references, and action points.


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