Announcing Antigone's Worldings

Wednesday, September 15, 2021
"Antigone's Worldings" spraypainted with stencil onto a wall, and dates Oct 14 - Nov 5, 2021

The John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University invites you to a virtual colloquium on "Antigone’s Worldings," with events taking place between Thursday, October 14 and Friday, November 5, 2021. We are bringing together writers and scholars who can help us to rethink questions of reception, adaptation, and criticism of Sophocles’ ancient tragedy, in times in which people’s grief and mourning are, yet again, in contradiction with the policing agendas of sovereign powers all over the world. We are particularly concerned with how colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism modify interpretations of the tragedy in different parts of the world, and we hope to explore the play’s inter-disciplinary ventures, as we hear from writers, philosophers, comparative literature scholars, and political theorists. 

Please find the schedule and registration links below. You can also download a 11x17" flyer listing all events in this series here.


Antigone in the War on Terror:
Kamila Shamsie in Conversation with Ankhi Mukherjee

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. EDT
Thursday, October 14, 2021

Please register here

Description
Antigone’s Worldings” opens with a conversation between award winning writer, Kamila Shamsie, and postcolonial theorist, Ankhi Mukherjee, on Shamsie’s most recent novel, Home Fire. Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Hellenic Prize, and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Home Fire re-contextualizes Sophocles’ Antigone in the global present of the on-going “War on Terror,” while complicating our understandings of agency, identity, and power as we see Aneeka struggle with the impossibility of burying her twin brother Parvaiz.

A limited number of copies of Home Fire are available to Duke University students, faculty, visiting scholars, and staff. Please fill out this survey if you plan to attend the event and would like a copy of the novel.

Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels, which have been translated into over 30 languages. Her most recent novel, Home Fire, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Hellenic Prize, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A Vice-President and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and one of Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’, she is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Manchester.  She grew up in Karachi, and now lives in London.

Ankhi Mukherjee is Professor of English and World Literatures at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wadham College. She is the author of three monographs: Aesthetic Hysteria: The Great Neurosis in Victorian Melodrama and Contemporary Literature (Routledge, 2007), What Is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (Stanford UP, 2014), and Unseen City: The Psychic Lives of the Urban Poor (Cambridge UP, 2021). What Is a Classic won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in English Literature in 2015. Mukherjee has edited three essay collections, including After Lacan(CUP, 2018), and published in PMLA, MLQ, Contemporary LiteratureCambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and others. She was the John Hinkley (Visiting) Professor at Johns Hopkins University in 2019. Mukherjee is currently co-editing Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum (Cambridge UP), which will have an initial run of 25,000 copies.


Seminar on Jacques Derrida’s Glas
with Ranjana Khanna, Miriam Leonard, Tina Chanter, Caroline Rooney, Andrés Henao Castro, and M.D. Murtagh

Description
A new translation of Jacques Derrida’s Glas (or "Clang") has given us the opportunity to revisit this groundbreaking experimental text. In Glas, Derrida juxtaposes readings of Hegel and Jean Genet in pursuit of a form of difference that resists dialectical synthesis, while helping us to understand the kind of work that is mourning, and the kind of mourning that is perhaps involved in any kind of work. Led by a set of interdisciplinary feminist theorists (Ranjana Khanna, Tina Chanter, Caroline Rooney, MD Murtagh and Andrés Fabián Henao Castro), we will focus on how to understand the challenge that the presence of the corpse represents for the living (Session 1), expand on Derrida’s analysis of Hegel’s fetishizing of Africa (Session 2), and rethink sexual difference through Derrida’s reading of Genet’s literature (Session 3). 

Session I with Ranjana Khanna and Miriam Leonard
On the Presence of the Corpse

12 p.m. – 2 p.m. EDT
Friday, October 15, 2021 

Please register here

Reading:

For the seminar on Glas, you can use either the old Nebraska translation, if you have it already, or get the new translation from Minnesota Press, titled, Clang, which is also more affordable. Primary sections for this seminar session are listed below:

  • Nebraska Edition (Glas). Left column on Hegel of pages 141-189
  • Minnesota Edition (Clang). Left column on Hegel of pages 160-212

A limited number of copies of Glas (Clang) are available to Duke University students, faculty, visiting scholars, and staff. Please fill out this survey if you plan to attend the event and would like a copy of the text.

Ranjana Khanna, Professor of English, Literature, and Women’s Studies at Duke University, was appointed Director of the John Hope Franklin Institute in 2018. Khanna is a literary critic and theorist recognized for her interdisciplinary, feminist, and internationalist contributions to the fields of post-colonial studies, feminist theory, literature, and political philosophy. She is best known for her work on melancholia and psychoanalysis, but has also published extensively on questions of postcolonial agency, film, Algeria, area studies, autobiography, Marxism, and visual and feminist theory. Khanna is the author of Algeria Cuts: Women and Representation, 1830-Present (2007) and Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism(2003). Her theorization of subjectivity and sovereignty, including her recent work on disposability, indignity, and asylum, engages with the work of diverse thinkers, including Derrida, Irigaray, Kant, Marx, Heidegger, Beauvoir, and Spivak. She served as the Margaret Taylor Smith Director of Women’s Studies from 2007–2015.

Miriam Leonard is Professor of Greek Literature and its Reception at University College London. Her research explores the intellectual history of classics in modern European thought from the eighteenth century to the present. She is author of Athens in Paris: Ancient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought (OUP, 2005), How to Read Ancient Philosophy (Granta, 2008), Socrates and the Jews: Hellenism and Hebraism from Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and Tragic Modernities (Havard University Press, 2015). She is editor of Derrida and Antiquity (OUP, 2010), Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought (Oxford 2005) with Vanda Zajko and Tragedy and the Idea of Modernity (OUP, 2016) with Joshua Billings.

Session II with Tina Chanter and Caroline Rooney
On Hegel's Fetishization of Africa
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. EDT
Friday, October 22, 2021
Please register here

Reading:

For the seminar on Glas, you can use either the old Nebraska translation, if you have it already, or get the new translation from Minnesota Press, titled, Clang, which is also more affordable. Primary sections for this seminar session are listed below:

  • Nebraska Edition (Glas). Both columns of pages 189-211
  • Minnesota Edition (Clang). Both columns of pages 212-236

A limited number of copies of Glas (Clang) are available to Duke University students, faculty, visiting scholars, and staff. Please fill out this survey if you plan to attend the event and would like a copy of the text.

Tina Chanter has published on contemporary French philosophy, drawing inspiration from a range of sources, including feminist theory, race theory, psychoanalysis, art, politics, film and tragedy. Her most recent books are: Whose Antigone? The Tragic Marginalisation of Slavery, and Art, Politics and Rancière: Broken Perceptions. She taught in the US, most recently in Chicago, before returning to the UK, where she worked and taught in Bristol and London before joining Newcastle University. 

Caroline Rooney is Professor of African and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Kent (UK). She works mainly on liberation struggles and their expression in the arts and popular culture, and her latest book is Creative Radicalism in the Middle East: Culture and the Arab Left After the Uprisings (I.B. Tauris, 2020). Her earlier books include African Literature, Animism and Politics (Routledge, 2000) and Decolonising Gender: Literature and a Poetics of the Real (Routledge, 2007). She also engages in theatre and film production, and is the co-director of the documentary films White Flags (2014) and Breaking the Generations: Palestinian Prisoners and Medical Rights (2016). She is currently the Co-I on an ESRC-funded research programme entitled: “The Crime-Terror Nexus from Below: Criminal and Extremist Practices, Networks and Narratives in Deprived Neighbourhoods of Tripoli.”

Session III with Andrés Henao Castro and M.D. Murtagh
Rethinking Sexual Difference through the Literature of Jean Genet
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. EDT
Friday, October 29, 2021
Please register here

Reading:

For the seminar on Glas, you can use either the old Nebraska translation, if you have it already, or get the new translation from Minnesota Press, titled, Clang, which is also more affordable. Primary sections for this seminar session are listed below:

  • Nebraska Edition (Glas). Right column on Jean Genet of pages 141-189
  • Minnesota Edition (Clang). Right column on Jean Genet of pages 160-212

A limited number of copies of Glas (Clang) are available to Duke University students, faculty, visiting scholars, and staff. Please fill out this survey if you plan to attend the event and would like a copy of the text.

Andrés Fabián Henao Castro is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Before joining UMB, he was the Karl Lowenstein Fellow at Amherst College, and then held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory at the University of Bologna. His research rethinks the relationship between politics and aesthetics in relation to gender-differentiated colonial logics of capitalist accumulation. He is the author of Antigone in the Americas: Democracy, Sexuality and Death in the Settler Colonial Present (New York: SUNY Press 2021), and of various articles published in Settler Colonial Studies, Theoria, Theory & EventRepresentationTheatre SurveyContemporary Political Theory, and Hypatia, among others. He is currently working on a second book, entitled: The Militant Intellect: Critical Theory’s Conceptual Personae (under contract with Rowman & Littlefield).

Mitchell Damian Murtagh holds a Ph.D. from Duke University’s Program in Literature that he received in July 2021. His work and interests span twentieth-century French and German continental philosophy, transcontinental philosophies of difference, feminist and anti-racist theories, and the history and philosophy of science, particularly physics. His dissertation A Meta-Physics of Sexual Difference: The Quantum Gravity Matrix and Embryogenesis of Our Universe argues that sexual difference can be conceived beyond the emergence of sexed bodies and even beyond the emergence of life to be restaged as an organizing, metaphysical principle of fundamental reality itself. As a metaphysics MD proposes, sexual difference may become a way of reframing problems or paradoxes in physics beyond the field’s current phallocentric desire to unify all laws of nature into one, all-encompassing “theory of everything.” More broadly, MD’s research involves staging cross-disciplinary dialogues around ontological questions and thinking about the political implications of different ontological frameworks. MD is the 2019 Recipient of The Irigaray Circle’s Karen Burke Memorial Prize and has publications in philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continent Feminism and in the forthcoming anthology with SUNY Press, A Sharing of Speech: Works on or Inspired by the Work of Luce Irigaray.


Antigone's Afterlives in Feminist Theory:
Bonnie Honig in Conversation with Stefani Engelstein

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EDT
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Please register here

Join us for a conversation between feminist political theorists, Bonnie Honig and Stefani Engelstein, as they reflect on their mutual explorations of Antigone through the more horizontal lenses of sibling logics and sororal actions, and the ways in which such a focus has opened new paths of inter-related research for them. How has their work on Antigone influenced their current research on the politics of refusal (Honig) and the entanglements of the organism (Engelstein)?

Stefani Engelstein is Professor of German Studies at Duke University and writes on literature and science, on aesthetics, on gender, and on political theory.  Her most recent book, Sibling Action: The Genealogical Structure of Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2017) analyzes the genealogical form of epistemological systems across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as in literature, and considers its ethical implications.  She is also the author of Anxious Anatomy: The Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse (SUNY Press, 2008) which traces attempts to render the body legible in relationship to social and political ideologies, and is co-editor of Contemplating Violence: Critical Studies in Modern German Culture (Rodopi Press, 2011)  She is currently working on two book projects as a Visiting Scholar at the Leibniz Center for Literary and Cultural Research in Berlin, one for a general public entitled Reflections from Germany on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Difficult Pasts: An Essay in Six Cemeteries and an academic project entitled Living Things, Human Beings: The Entanglements of the Organism.

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University. In 2017-2018, she was Interim Director of the Pembroke Center and served as the Inaugural Carl Cranor Phi Beta Kappa Scholar. Currently an affiliate of the Digital Democracy Institute at Simon Fraser University and the American Bar Foundation, Chicago, her work in democratic and feminist theory studies the cultural politics of immigration (Democracy and the Foreigner, Princeton, 2001), emergency (Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy, Princeton 2009), mourning (Antigone, Interrupted, Cambridge, 2013) and the Refusal (A Feminist Theory of Refusal, Harvard, 2021). Her book Public ThingsDemocracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017) came out days after Trump’s 2017 inauguration and her first piece of public writing about that presidency, “The President’s House is Empty,” appeared on inauguration day in the Boston Review. A collection of her public writing, Shellshocked: Feminist Criticism After Trump appeared with Fordham in 2021.


Podcast Release Date
In Media Res: Kamila Shamsie in conversation with Ankhi Mukherjee (with host Aarthi Vadde)

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Description
Join the hosts of the podcast Novel Dialogue, Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz, for an episode paired with the opening event of the "Antigone's Worldings" colloquium, featuring guests Kamila Shamis and Ankhi Mukherhee. Blurb below.

"Acclaimed novelist Kamila Shamsie joins esteemed Oxford scholar Ankhi Mukherjee for a wide-ranging discussion of literature and politics. Ankhi raises the unique challenges facing postcolonial and specifically Muslim writers in the wake of 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, including the pressure to become commentators in times of crisis. Kamila reserves the right of mental freedom in the face of this expectation. Early in her career, she turned down the opportunity to become a "professional Muslim" and never looked back. Yet, as Ankhi points out, Kamila's novels from Burnt Shadows to Home Fire, balance writing to the moment with writing for posterity.  We discuss how Kamila's work aligns mythic structures with historical detail and how Sophocles' Antigone became the "marrow in the bones" of Home Fire. As if that were not enough to whet the appetite, we also discover what's cooking in Kamila's kitchen!"


Antigone in the Americas:
Decolonizing the Classics

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EDT
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Please register here

Join us for a book launch of Andrés Fabián Henao Castro’s Antigone in the Americas: Democracy, Sexuality and Death in the Settler Colonial Present (New York: SUNY, 2021), which will be discussed by Comparative Literature Professor, Moira Fradinger. Grounded on settler colonial critique, black and woman of color feminisms, and queer and trans of color critique, Antigone in the Americas argues for a decolonial reinterpretation of Sophocles’ classical tragedy, Antigone, that can help us rethink the anti-colonial politics of militant mourning in the Americas for subjects situated under multiple and interlocking systems of oppression.

Andrés Fabián Henao Castro is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Before joining UMB, he was the Karl Lowenstein Fellow at Amherst College, and then held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory at the University of Bologna. His research rethinks the relationship between politics and aesthetics in relation to gender-differentiated colonial logics of capitalist accumulation. He is the author of Antigone in the Americas: Democracy, Sexuality and Death in the Settler Colonial Present (New York: SUNY Press 2021), and of various articles published in Settler Colonial Studies, Theoria, Theory & EventRepresentationTheatre SurveyContemporary Political Theory, and Hypatia, among others. He is currently working on a second book, entitled: The Militant Intellect: Critical Theory’s Conceptual Personae (under contract with Rowman & Littlefield).

Moira Fradinger is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University; member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Latin American Studies and of the Executive Committee of the Latin American Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Network LAIGN (Yale-Unam, Mexico). She holds a Licenciatura in Psychology from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, with a specialization in psychoanalysis, an MA in Gender Studies from the Institute for Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University. She was also on professional staff in Argentina’s National Ministry of Health and Social Action at the Under-Secretary for Women’s Affairs, and taught at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. At Yale, she teaches European and Latin American literature, film, and intellectual history, as well as theoretical courses on feminist theory, film studies, and psychoanalysis. She is the author of Binding Violence: Literary Visions of Political Origins (Stanford, 2010); Antígonas: Writing From Latin America (forthcoming at Oxford University Press), and of an Antígonas-Anthology (six Antigona plays translated into English, from Haiti, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil). Her current book projects are on contemporary Argentine gender debates, on Latin American Third Cinema and on Insomnia.


Antigone on the Global Stage:
From Manipur, India to Tamaulipas, México
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
Friday, November 5, 2021
Please register here

Join us for a presentation by Professor of Drama and Theater Director, Erin B. Mee, on the performance of Antigone in Manipur (NE India), followed by a collective reading of Sara Uribe’s Antígona González (2012), which re-contextualizes Antigone in Tamaulipas, México, where Antigone must confront not the interdiction of a single burial but the systematic violence of enforced disappearances en masse.

Erin B. Mee has directed at the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, SoHo Rep, HERE, The Magic Theatre, and The Guthrie Theater in the United States, and with Sopanam in India. She is the Founding Artistic Director of This Is Not A Theatre Company, with whom she has conceived and directed Pool Play, A Serious Banquet, Readymade Cabaret, Ferry Play, Subway Plays, Festival de la Vie for the Avignon Festival, Versailles 2015/2016, Pool Play 2.0  for the International Theatre Festival of Kerala, Theatre In The Dark: Carpe Diem, Play!, Readymade Cabaret 2.0, Play In Your Bathtub (also translated into Russian and performed by WOWWOWWOW in Moscow), Guru of Touch for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Tree Confessions for the Edinburgh, Brighton, Melbourne, and Philadelphia Fringe festivals. She is the author of Theatre of Roots: Redirecting the Modern Indian Stage, co-editor of Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage, editor of DramaContemporary: India, and co-editor of Modern Asian Theatre and Performance 1900-2000. She has written numerous articles for TDR, Theatre Journal, Performance Research, American Theatre Magazine, and other journals and books. Her born-digital Scalar article “Hearing the Music of the Hemispheres” won the ATHE-ASTR Award for Best Digital Article in 2016. She is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and is a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop. She is Assistant Arts Professor, Department of Drama, Tisch, NYU. www.erinbmee.com


This colloquium is organized by Andrés Henao Castro. It is presented by the Franklin Humanities Institute with additional support from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation. Cosponsors are the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies; the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Department of Classical Studies; the Department of English; the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; the Department of German Studies, the Department of International Comparative Studies; the Program in Literature, the Department of Romance Studies, and the Department of Theater Studies, as well as the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Islamic Studies Center, all at Duke University. Additional cosponsors are the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures at the University of Virginia, and the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory, a research entity jointly promoted by the University of Virginia, Duke University and the University of Bologna.

Duke University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions, please contact Sarah Rogers at sarah.rogers@duke.edu in advance of your participation or visit.  Requests should be made at least one week before the event in question.