Exploding Appendix Questionnaire: Federico de Cicco
September 12, 2019
The First Rehearsal for an Exploding Appendix Manifesto
September 26, 2019

Exploding Appendix Questionnaire: Sarah Schulman


The Exploding Appendix Questionnaire is an ongoing data collecting exercise that, drawing upon divergent public figures from different intellectual disciplines and artistic practices, seeks to create an ongoing and ever-expanding map of ideas. Through this ever-expanding map of divergent views, we seek a kind of dialogue that, in both its overlaps and contradictions, creates a kind of hive-mind, which, in turn, helps contribute to the intellectual unfoldings of Exploding Appendix’s overall mission.
For the Exploding Appendix Questionnaire, we have asked some of our favourite intellectuals, activists, artists, creatives and commentators to contribute to a series of 11 generic questions. The same generic questions have been sent to everyone, and what you read below is one response to this.


1. Who are you and what do you do?
Sarah Schulman, I am a writer.
2. What are your biggest influences in art, literature, music and cinema?
3. What, for you, is the purpose of art and culture?
Entertainment tells us what we already know and art expands how we understand the process of knowing and feeling. Culture is the degree of collective recognition that other people are real.
4. What makes something subversive?
When it reveals that no one owns objectivity.
5. How would you approach the task of winning friends and influencing people?
Accountability and recognition both attract and repel depending on character.
6. What does individual freedom mean to you?
It is the result of collective action to create space for difference.
7. Is there, for you, a relationship between the personal and the political?
Hard to imagine the difference.
8. What is the root of society’s problems?
Fear of recognizing our motives.
9. Will technology liberate humankind?
Does this question still exist? It is so 1950s.
10. Do you have a vision for utopia?
Heaven and hell take place on earth.
11. Finally, where can people find more of your work?
Hopefully independent bookstores or libraries. My most recent books are the nonfiction work Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair, a detective novel Maggie Terry, and the historical novel The Cosmopolitans (selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best American novels of 2016). Forthcoming in 2021 LET THE RECORD SHOW: ACTUP and the Enduring Relationship of AIDS (FSG).