Shock occasions change. Five years ago ROOM flashed into being as an immediate response to the 2016 US election. Psychoanalysts who had never written before felt compelled to write. ROOM has remained a participatory community platform, grounded in a psychoanalytic understanding of how change happens. Each issue archives a new moment. Each is a “working-through” of that which has already passed. But now we are struck anew. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine occurred during the final weeks of production of this anniversary issue. Still, the questions posed by the contributors in ROOM 2.22 are eerily prescient and speak collectively for all of us. Each looks toward a future none can envision.
Elizabeth Kandall, PhD, is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice. She is a student of Zen Buddhism at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. She is enrolled in a low-residency MFA in poetry from the Queens University program in creative writing, and she serves on the board of directors at Poets House.
Whenever I dismounted at Lydia’s home of gray boards and dried palm grass, her son hastened to hitch and water my horse while Lydia offered me lemonade and a spell of rest. Then she would walk with me among the shacks of her community, introducing me to other villagers and discussing her concerns about the health needs of her town.
Liliana Zavaleta is a visual artist who was born in Lima, Perú. She grew up in the United States and has lived and studied in Europe, the Near East, and South America. Zavaleta obtained her university degrees in French and Latin American Literature. She also studied at Parsons School of Design and was an award-winning art director before dedicating herself to her art work. Today she works full-time on her two- and three-dimensional visual work, dividing her time between Upstate New York and South America.
Lee Jinglei, the ex-wife of Wang Leehom, a Mandarin pop superstar for the last two decades and an immaculate top idol in the Chinese-speaking world, has emerged in their recent public divorce row as a darling among the netizens on the Chinese social media platform Weibo and Instagram. […] People thanked Lee for “defending the dignity of women and mothers.”
Most of the graduate students I teach are preparing to work in the Catholic Church. Many of them think, without question, that hope is always a good thing. This is understandable, given that they, like Christians from other denominations, believe that hope is a virtue and despair a vice.
Abdulmueed Balogun is a Nigerian poet and an undergrad at the University of Ibadan. He is a 2021 HUES Foundation Scholar and a poetry editor at the Global Youth Review.
One afternoon, several years into my tenure at Wayne State University, I got a phone call during my office hours from a journalism student who wanted to meet with me. When I asked her what it was about, she explained that one of my colleagues from the English department had given her my name because she thought it could be interesting to interview me, as “a woman of color,” about my experience at Wayne. When I heard that, I thought, A woman of color? Is she talking about me, or has she confused me with someone else?
All of us are regularly asked to engage with the past in some way. The world is saturated by history. But, then, a simple question: What is history? Ask fifty people and you’ll get, typically, fifty shades of the same answer: History is something about a past. Whether as myth or memory, narrative or science, or found in gradients in between each, the most common denominator is a starting place in an ambiguous past, a “before now,” which is given meaning only insofar as it is connected to other things either similarly before now or, sometimes even more strangely, to things happening “now” or “later.”
[…]in 2006, I received a phone call from Dr. Tong in Wuhan. She had read my work on female psychology and development. They had a big problem they thought I could help them with.