The Fire These Times

Joey Ayoub

Each week, Lebanese writer Joey Ayoub brings you conversations at the intersection of politics, history, philosophy, culture, science, and all the fun stuff in between. It is a project born out of my conviction that doing so requires an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to understanding our complex world. Named after the James Baldwin book 'The Fire Next Time', this is a podcast about tackling the 21st century. To subscribe and get exclusive perks: patreon.com/firethesetimes Cover art by Wenyi Geng.

108/ What Asexuality Says About Society w/ Angela Chen
06-05-2022
108/ What Asexuality Says About Society w/ Angela Chen
This is a conversation with Angela Chen, author of the book 'Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex'. You can support The Fire These Times on Patreon with a monthly or yearly donation. You can also find it on Twitter @firethesetimes, Instagram @firethesetimes and TikTok @thefirethesetimes. Joey Ayoub can be found on Twitter @joeyayoub and Instagram @joeyayoub91. The newsletter is available on Subtack @ thefirethesetimes.substack.com This isn't an Asexuality 101 episode. Feel free to look up the basics if you want. There are loads of asexuals who do explain what it means, Angela Chen's book including. This episode is more about what asexuality says about our societies. And as I'm notoriously crap at explaining why I like the books I like, I am going to read a paragraph written by Sarah Neilson for them.us which summarizes really well why Chen's book matters: "The crux of society’s difficulty with accepting asexuality is, Chen argues, because compulsory sexuality is ingrained in societal narratives about mental and physical health, politics and liberation, and interpersonal relationships. Compulsory sexuality posits that sex is a primal human need, ties sex to maturity, and places sex in relationship hierarchies. Even in the queer community, though we hate to be oversexualized by the straights, we often sexualize ourselves and each other. And while queer sex is indeed liberating for allosexuals (or those that do experience sexual attraction), so is the ability not to have sex. Chen argues, through a fantastic blend of nuanced and clear-eyed reporting, research, and personal reflection, that true liberation requires the dismantling of compulsory sexuality." So yeah, this book is great. Recommended Books: Minimizing Marriage: Morality, Marriage, and the Law by Elizabeth BrakeRefusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. BrownMore Than Friends by Rhaina Cohen
🌻 Ukraine Special: 3. The threads that bind us from Syria to Ukraine
22-04-2022
🌻 Ukraine Special: 3. The threads that bind us from Syria to Ukraine
This episode is a multilingual online encounter, part of the Post-Extractive Futures series, co-produced by War on Want, Tipping Point UK, JunteGente, and The Fire These Times project. I was the moderator. You can support The Fire These Times on Patreon with a monthly or yearly donation. You can also find it on Twitter @firethesetimes, Instagram @firethesetimes and TikTok @thefirethesetimes. Joey Ayoub can be found on Twitter @joeyayoub and Instagram @joeyayoub91. The newsletter is available on Subtack @ thefirethesetimes.substack.com Guests: Yassin al Haj Saleh, who will be speaking in English, is a Syrian writer and former political prisoner. He is author of several books on Syria, prison, contemporary Islam, intellectual responsibility, and experiences of the atrocious. He is the husband of Samira al Khalil, who was abducted by an armed Islamist group in Douma in December 2013. He now lives in Berlin. Wafa Mustafa, who will also be speaking in English, is a Syrian activist, a journalist, a survivor of detention. Mustafa comes from Masyaf, a city in the Hama governorate in western Syria. She left the country on 9 July 2013, exactly a week after her father was forcibly disappeared by the regime in Damascus. In her advocacy, Mustafa covers the impact of detention on young girls, women, and families. Yuliya Yurchenko, who will also be speaking in English, is a senior lecturer in political economy at the department of economics and international business and a researcher at the political economy, governance, finance, and accountability institute at the University of Greenwich, UK. She is the author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital, which was published by Pluto Press in 2017. She researches state, capital, and society relations as well as public services as a commons with a regional focus on Europe and Ukraine. Taras Bilous, who will be speaking in Ukrainian, is a Ukrainian historian and an activist of the Social Movement Organization. As an editor of for Commons, a journal of social critique, he covers the topics of war and nationalism. He has recently written quite a lot of articles, including “A Letter to the Western Left from Kiev” as well as “The Left in the West Must Rethink.” Transcription and YouTube video available on the website: