Faculty Writing: On Speaking of Sex and Power, and the Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

The New Inquiry recently republished a translation by Sophie Lewis, of a groundbreaking 2016 essay by German feminist and communist Bini Adamczack, on “circlusion”—or, the opposite of “penetration”—a playful neologism that flips the script on the ways we speak about, and experience, sex and power. Lewis’s English version achieved the status of cult classic, as it moved through the “subterranean passageways of global queer culture,” impacting arenas as far-flung as BDSM sex blogs and academic feminism. Once again in (English) circulation after a brief hiatus, Adamczak’s adroitly coined “circlusion,” Lewis writes, provides an indispensable vocabulary for describing “the labor of topping,” inspiring “theorizing from the bottom,” and even confounding “the top/bottom distinction altogether.” 

And, writing in the South Asian journal Jamhoor, Nafis Hasan takes a critical look at the intensive pressures brought to bear on Bangladeshis in the context of Western “developmentalism” and climate crisis and their competing imperatives—which together amount to nothing less than a vicious trap: “To survive in the warming world,” Bangladeshis “must adapt, but to do so they need to extract more natural resources which further fuels the crisis”—and results as well in the massive displacement of persons, at the same time that border restrictions grow ever tighter. 

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