Finally, here it is: Libre, a series of podcast episodes on non-monogamy-and thus monogamy, too-and gender violence. This Podcast was born as a way to share with the world a bit of what I've been researching for the past 5 years.
My history before Libre
In 2014, after breaking up an abusive marriage, I decided I wouldn't ever again be in a relationship where my body and sexuality were allowed to be controlled by someone other than me. I had heard of what we call "free relationships" in Brazil (a concept closer to relational anarchy than "free Love", "polyamory" and others, as I intend to explain in one of the podcast's episodes) and decided that was my way to deal with relationships. Coincidence or not, a few months after that decision I met my ex partner, who's nowadays a great friend, who was an activist at the Free Relationships Network (Network of Free relations-RLi network). Together with activists from this and from other non-monogamous groups I discovered this world. As a Sociologist, I also started studying and debating non-monogamy from a theoretical perspective.
Although my PhD subject was slightly different (I researched the front desk of the concept of Gender in Brazil, where I come from, and you can read my dissertation here), I gathered part of my current research during that period. Study groups, debates, and some individual research have all helped me put this research object forward. My main concern was identifying the ways in which Monogamy as a system is a fertile ground for gender violence in relationships and, much like what I've lived in my marriage, domestic violence too.
When I applied for the German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, my goal was to be dedicated to this research topic after defending my PhD. I wrote to some researchers of important universities in Brazil, Argentina and France, and all of them told me that this research topic was "too unorthodox" to get funding, so when I was selected by AvH for the Fellowship in Germany it was a relief. I had the chance to make this research known and maybe not so weird to those who evaluate projects for funding in the future.
My work in Berlin is divided in three main activities: research, podcasts and films!
Since long before arriving in Germany in July, 2018-two weeks after finding out I was pregnant (!), but that's another story-I had started this research: not only reading and analyzing books, theory, websites, comics, news, but also talking to people who live Non-monogamously in the real life about their experiences, struggle, challenges and the beauty they see in their lifestyle. This led me to realize, however, that non-monogamy is much more than a lifestyle and has a political side to it. Such aspect of the non-monogamous experience challenges the status quo on how relationships and love should be, and helps questioning the mechanisms that make it such a fertile space for gender/domestic violence.
So research is the basis for all my work with podcasts and films and will luckily also enable me to prepare a book for 2020 or 2021 on the topic.
This is where Libre gets in the picture. The podcast was designed to share with both English and Portuguese speaking audiences (maybe someday in German, too, if I improve my German enough; or in Spanish and French if I have the time for it) the main insights and findings of such research. The idea is that, besides a theoretical and political perspective, the episodes bring a bit of people's actual experiences and also some analysis of films and series, which are normally the main cultural products used to teach love and relationships in modern Societies.
Films: Berlin Feminist Film Week
Through All this process I am having the direct support not only from AvH Stiftung but also from the Berlin Feminist Film Week, an independent film festival that takes place yearly in Berlin. This specific partnership was set in order to spread this new questioning of love to a broader public. As a researcher, I will curate some sessions for the festival and organize debates on movies that help us change the way we see love and relationships altogether. The results of this process will be available to everyone in Berlin in March, 2020.