Keva X. Bui
I am a scholar, writer, artist, nerd, gamer, soccer fan, and community organizer. While I share strong political investments in all these worlds, I also have differently complicated relationships to all those labels, even as I claim them for myself.
More formally, I received my B.A. in English Literature modified with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies with a minor in Sociology at Dartmouth College. I am currently a PhD Student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego, where I specialize in queer/feminist science studies, performance studies, science and speculative fiction, and transpacific Asian/American studies. I am also a community organizer with Viet Unity-Los Angeles, an organization of Vietnamese activists committed to the struggle for racial and gender justice, global peace, and self-determination.
In this work, I endeavor to examine the assemblages and intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and disability through a lens of ontology; that is, to understand their nature of being and becoming within social structures of power. In doing so, I articulate these categories not as fixed identity markers, but instead as fundamental determinants of what and who constitutes the modern human subject within political, social, and cultural hierarchies. These institutions are, of course, inherently rooted in systems of political violence, e.g. settler colonialism, chattel slavery, militarism, and racial capitalism.
At the same time, I am deeply invested in the praxis of imagining alternative worlds, futures, and ways of being that dispute, resist, and unsettle these social structures. I have been immensely inspired by science and speculative fiction written by minoritized writers, like Octavia Butler and Ruth Ozeki, who propel new potentialities of envisioning the world, interlacing the depth of our realities with speculative accounts of other denizens of this vast universe—from aliens on another planet to plastic in the currents of Earth's own oceans. Fusing these fantastical immersions with political incisiveness, these authors have taught me new forms of resistance, justice, and love even in the midst of an almost-inhospitable world rife with conditions of violence. What I find most beautiful about these fictions is that they do not attempt to prescribe what the future looks like, but rather look to open up the horizons to the potential possibilities new ways of living may uncover. In the words of Aimee Bahng, "Perhaps the primary function of their existence is to hold open the aperture to the beyond, where the systems that seemingly dominate cease to overwhelm...These speculations from below face uncertainty with exuberance, daring to stay open to chance, in part because that is all they have, but also because they are no longer playing the same game.”[i]
So I hope you will join me in this endeavor, in embracing the uncertainty of the future; refusing to play the game of settler colonialism, racism, patriarchy, militarism, and other forms of political violence; and daring to collectively imagine new forms of resistance and liberation. And even then, we may not transform the world, but perhaps we can play our part in holding open the pathway to a future beyond; and one day, perhaps someone will finish the job.
[i] Aimee Bahng, Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (Durham N.C.: Duke University Press, 2018): 170