Kelsey Chatlosh (she/her) is a cultural anthropology Ph.D. candidate at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her dissertation examines the politics and poetics of the campaign for Afro-Chilean state recognition (based in Arica, in northern Chile), recently won with the passing of a national law in April 2019, months before the eruption of nationwide anti-austerity protests. Through nine months of ethnographic research in Chile in 2019 and building on postcolonial and abolitionist scholarship, Kelsey argues that the kind of organizing work tenuously uniting “el movimiento Afro” that led the campaign is social reproduction, among each other and across generations.
While writing up her dissertation, Kelsey is currently teaching at CUNY Brooklyn College in the Anthropology department. As a CUNY PSC union member, Kelsey is part of a team of organizers who began the #cutCOVIDnotCUNY #fundCUNYnotcops and #dreamCUNY campaigns and are mobilizing the bases to fight for a fully funded, anti-racist, free CUNY. Across these endeavors, Kelsey’s work is inspired by Sylvia Wynter’s call for a “re-enchanted humanism” and by the search for what Ruth Wilson Gilmore has called the “fragments and pieces, experiments and possibilities” of what an abolitionist world will become.
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