Leticia Sabsay (London School of Economics): Vulnerability, cruelty and the politics of hope
As part of a Joint Session in Feminist Theory. This series of events takes place as part of the seminar »Theory and Figurations of GenderRelations« (Freie Universität Berlin) and the doctoral program in Gender, Culture and Society (University of Helsinki). It is a cooperation between Esther von der Osten (Peter SzondiInstitute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin), Susanne Lettow (Margherita von Brentano Center for Gender Studies, Freie Universität Berlin) and Tuija Pulkkinen (Department of Cultures, Director doctoral program Gender, Culture and Society (SKY), University of Helsinki).
Leticia Sabsay (London School of Economics)
In a political present marked by the ascendance of neo-authoritarianism, we seem to be witnessing a renewed political aesthetics of cruelty and hatred. Vulnerability, in this context, has oftentimes been weaponised to justify violence against some feminist organising that, in turn, has mobilised critical notions of vulnerability to stake a demand for justice. Vulnerability does not have a distinct political orientation; rather, it is the object of political dispute. In this talk, Leticia Sabsay proposes to examine myriad claims to vulnerability, focusing on the political aesthetics they evoke. She argues that when vulnerability is put to serve a political aesthetics of cruelty, it might point to the activation of a death drive that not only gets attached to otherwise life affirming ideals such as self-determination, freedom or integrity, but also propels the questioning of basic democratic principles. In light of these deadly times, many are filled with resignation, weariness and pessimism, while for others pessimism is a luxury they cannot afford. Either way –even if in the negative or as a constant present absence– hope haunts those fighting for their right to life, against destitution, violence, or countering what bell hooks calls “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” The question remains, however, whether (and which) hopes might a feminist politics of vulnerability open up.
Leticia Sabsay is associate professor of gender and contemporary culture in the Department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the author of The Political Imaginary of Sexual Freedom (2016), and, with Judith Butler and Zeynep Gambetti, she coedited Vulnerability in Resistance (2016). In Spanish, she has authored the books Las normas del deseo: Imaginario sexual y comunicación (2009) and Fronteras sexuales: Espacio urbano, cuerpos y ciudadanía (2011) and coedited, with Patrícia Soley-Beltrán, Judith Butler en disputa: Lecturas sobre la performatividad (2012). She is coedits, with Victoria Collis-Buthelezi and Natalia Brizuela, the Critical South Book Series (Polity); and with Sadie Wearing and Sumi Madhok, the book series Thinking Gender in Transnational Times (Palgrave).
Meeting-ID: 976 4203 4938