October Author (& Resource) Spotlight: Sophie K Rosa
Learn more about our October BOTM author's writing influences & style as it relates to accessibly reaching audiences. In solidarity with Palestine, you will also find resources for continued learning and support below.
ID: A White person looks into the camera against the backdrop of warmed toned flowers and luminescent spirals.
Text reads: Author (& Resource Spotlight) by Lauren Marshall.
Sophie K Rosa’s Radical Intimacy, equal parts care manual and call to action, covers the seven realms in which, for many, capitalism has wrenched apart the bonds that once held us in their sturdy grasp. Each chapter is filled with evidence that reveals our current societal organization’s failings, and when set against the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrates why and how the personal is political. Rosa brings us to the understanding that the gears of the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, to coin bell hooks as Rosa does, must, and can, be stalled, and maybe one day, grind to a screeching halt if we prioritize care and intimacy in our interactions and reject the toxic individualism of capitalism. Join us as we break down Rosa’s writing style, learn a bit about psychoanalysis, and expand upon the oeuvre of works Radical Intimacy falls into.
Rosa’s background in investigative journalism informs Radical Intimacy’s approach to anticapitalist literature. Their articles have been published across outlets like The Independent, Buzzfeed, Vice, Aeon, CNN and BBC, and they are also a regular contributor to Novara Media– an independent media organization seeking to drive political action through storytelling and analysis.
The difference between Radical Intimacy and their previously journalistic work lies in the book’s psychoanalytic bent. While statistics from the UK and the US provide Radical Intimacy’s empirical backbone, Rosa includes a more personal, relatable voice in which the audience can find themselves. With one of Rosa’s key arguments being that the personal is political, this writing style provides both factual and phenomenological evidence for this viewpoint. Currently training to become a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, Rosa is interested in including psychoanalytic viewpoints in their credits the analytical and often deeply illuminatory methodology with the ability to “elucidate the experience of being alive such that light is shed on larger-scale suffering.” In a musing titled “Why Psychoanalysis?” Rosa answers the titular question by expounding upon the value of psychoanalysis as it shines “not only light, but - energy for a new kind of engagement with others, which is to say the world.”
Psychoanalysis has roots as both a clinical methodology and theory of analysis. For a brief history of psychoanalysis and the various psychoanalytic approaches that surmise the field (particularly in the US) consult here! This article touches on the foundations of psychoanalytic theory– when used in clinical settings, psychoanalytic writing involves the language-based rendition of an emotional experience had by a patient. According to some scholars, this presents a sort of paradox. How is one able to render such an experience in words? The most commonly regarded answer lies in the author’s approach to writing. By constructing clinical notes lyrically, in a format closer to a fiction novel, psychoanalytic clinicians can convey the depth and complexity of their patients' experiences.
Writing psychoanalytically, or the incorporation of a psychoanalytic methodology in writing outside of clinical settings, can bring about a radically intimate (hah) sense of knowing between reader and subject. To quote Rachel Alstein in “The Art and Urgency of Psychoanalytic Writing and Writing Psychoanalytically,”
“Whereas psychoanalytic writing harnesses the ephemeral task of trying to put words to experiences that do not begin in words, writing psychoanalytically holds the promise of impacting society in wider and wider ripples, perhaps even resulting in being able to hold up the sky just this much, as we summon and spread the word about what we know about why people are the way they are and why they do what they do.”
The ability to convey deeply human truths via language gives readers the ability to relate, and by making the state of our world visible and capitalism’s negative effects tangible in Radical Intimacy, Rosa pushes us towards a deeper and truer understanding of the necessity for change. As one might hope, Rosa is not alone in their pursuit of a radically caring and compassionate world– they credit a tradition of feminist scholars such as Hardcover Hotties’ favorite bell hooks, Judith Butler, and Eva Ilouz with inspiring Radical Intimacy.
Rosa recognizes the interdependence of radical works and resources, constantly directing readers to UK and US-based organizations relevant to each chapter’s topic. In place of a traditional author spotlight, this month’s article will do the same– directing you to a compilation of resources regarding the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Below, you’ll find links to relevant educational materials, resources, and online databases that highlight Palestinian, Arab, and BIPOC voices. It is with deep reverence and respect for the Palestinian cause that we implore those seeking knowledge to learn more about its history, art, and culture– also highlighted below is the Black Feminist Writers for Palestine panel featuring authors Angela Y. Davis, Clarissa Brooks, Briona Simone Jones, Breya Johnson, and Jaimee A. Swift, organized by Black Women Radicals.
Decolonize Palestine Website:
Black Feminist Writers Panel & Reading List:
Free E-Books from Haymarket Books:
How to Support Palestinians:
Palestinian Artists on Acts of Resistance:
On Palestinian Culture: