The Excentrical Center: From the Feminist Critiques of Modern Political Subject to the Epistemological Privilege of "Woman"
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Smith Warehouse - Bay 4, C105 - Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall
Please join us for a talk followed by a reception!
Paola Rudan, Senior Assistant Professor in History of Political Thought in the Department of History and Cultures at the University of Bologna, will have a one-week residency at Duke from November 13-17. Her residency is sponsored by the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory, (AGHCT), a partnership between Duke University, the Department of History and Cultures at the University of Bologna, and the University of Virginia. AGHCT developed from a joint initiative in international education, the Summer School on Global Studies and Critical Theory, which had its fourth iteration in 2017. Dr. Rudan is also available to meet with faculty and students; if you are interested in meeting with Dr. Rudan (faculty profile here), please feel free to reach out to email@example.com to arrange a date and time.
The Excentrical Center: From the Feminist Critiques of Modern Political Subject to the Epistemological Privilege of “Woman”
The talk proposes an analysis of the vicissitudes and the crisis of the modern political subject from the perspective of women and feminism. It will be articulated in three acts, and each will be introduced by the words of a man. This willingly inappropriate narrative device is intended to expose the act of power that lies behind the very constitution of the modern political subject. In the first act - opened by a reading of Thomas Hobbes's work and developed through an analysis of Margaret Cavendish's and Mary Shelley's fictions - it will be shown that the claim for absoluteness and universality of the modern subject hides the 'original' gesture of subjecting women. In the second act, moving from Jeremy Bentham's conception of marriage as the foundation of civilization, it is suggested that the explicit critique of the subject entitled to rights articulated by Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft and Emma Goldman is a critique of the whole order constituted upon that subject: the order of sovereignty, society and the market. In the last act, the debate around Hegel's Phenomenology - involving Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Carla Lonzi, Luce Irigaray, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak - is read in order to show that woman, as an «impossible subject», provides an unexpected and privileged critical perspective on contemporary global dynamics of power.