This essay traces an aesthetic genealogy of feminist breathing since the 1970s. Deviating from declension narratives that locate in that decade the end of breathing as a means of feminist socialization and politicization, this essay argues that indigenous and black feminisms have continuously relied on respiratory rituals as tactics or strategies for living through the foreclosure of political presents and futures. Case studies on Linda Hogan’s ceremonial poetry and Toni Cade Bambara’s fiction on healing expose the tensions that have animated a feminist breathing premised on the management of vulnerabilities: first, the enmeshment of vitality and risk and, second, the destabilization of the wholeness or wellness afforded by rituals. As felt theory or embodied critique, feminist breathing ultimately reveals an impulse to repair the conditions from which it emerges.

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