19-21 June 2017

Keynote speakers: Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler, Bonnie Honig

Adriana Cavarero has been at the forefront of continental feminist philosophy for the past four decades, working in the interstices of sexual difference theory, post-structuralism, political philosophy, literature and classical thought. Her books have addressed a range of themes, including feminist political philosophy (In Spite of Plato, 1995; Stately Bodies, 2002), narrativity (Relating Narratives, 2000), the voice and vocality (For More than One Voice, 2005), and contemporary forms of violence (Horrorism, 2009). Common to all of Cavarero’s work is an extension of Hannah Arendt’s conceptualisation of uniqueness, an insistence on the vulnerability of the human condition, and an immanent critique of western metaphysics.

This three-day conference is a sustained engagement with, and celebration of, the life work of Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero. It also marks the publication of her most recent text Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude (Stanford University Press, 2016).


Conference abstracts

Christine Battersby, University of Warwick, UK, Cavarero, Kant and the Arcs of Friendship: “All Happy Together Notwithstanding What Happened in the World”.

In this paper I will consider Adriana Cavarero’s critique of Kant in her most recent and extremely important book, Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude and the related article, “Rectitude: Reflections on Postural Ontology”, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol- ume 27, Number 3, 2013, pp. 220-235. Cavarero is highly critical of Kant for privileging the upright, the solitary and neglecting vulnerability. I will argue that there is much to admire in Cavarero’s analysis, but suggest that her relational ontology with its em- phasis on mothering needs a further swerve, to include an arc of dependence that is also appropriate to friendship and to cosmo- politanism.

My argument will start with the image of an engraved champagne glass inscribed with the names of Kant and several of his English merchant and shipping friends, and a motto (in English) “Secrecy in love and sincerity in Friendship / all happy to- gether notwithstanding what happend in the World.” Dated from the time of the banking crash of August 1763, I will argue that it signifies an ideal of dependence of one adult self on another in a time of crisis, panic, militarism and instability. I will also look at other facets of Kant’s life and his philosophy that don’t fit with the ontology and moral philosophy which Cavarero highlights. I will thus be defending Kant against some of Cavarero’s charges, whilst also being critical of his privilege of Euclidean geometry, his neglect of women and children, and his over-privileging of autonomy and of duty. The paper will also aim to reflect my longstanding friendship with Adriana in times that seem to echo some aspects of the 1763 crisis.

Alberica Bazzoni, University of Oxford, UK, Gollarda Sapienza and Adriana Cavarero: Two Resonant Voices for a New Subjectivity

This contribution provides a reading of the literary work of the Sicilian writer Goliarda Sapienza (1924-1996) alongside the philo- sophical thought of Adriana Cavarero. After a long time in oblivion, Sapienza is rapidly coming to be regarded as a major figure in modern Italian literature. Her literary production is characterized by a radical aspiration of freedom and new, creative ways to conceive personal identity and human relationships, addressing a subversive criticism to the very core of Western thought and society .

Cavarero’s theoretical work offers relevant insights to appreciate some of the most challenging and innovative aspects of Sapienza’s artistic production. Drawing on Diotima: il pensiero della differenza sessuale (1991), Tu che mi guardi, tu che mi racconti: filosofia della narrazione (1997) and A più voci. Filosofia dell’espressione vocale (2003), my discussion focuses on three major themes: the role of the voice as the embodied, contingent and relational dimension of language; the narrative constitution of identity; and the emergence of a new female subjectivity. In works such as Lettera aperta (1967), L’arte della gioia (1998, posthumous) and Io, Jean Gabin (2010, posthumous), through the use of several markers of orality, Sapienza’s narrative brings the corporeal and desiderative dimension of the voice into language. Her literary operation recalls Cavarero’s argument in favour of the voice – physical and uniquely per- sonal – as opposed to abstract, universal and disembodied representations of thought and language. As the philosopher remarks, ‘unlike thought, which tends to inhabit the immaterial world of ideas, speech is always a matter of bodies, which are necessarily passionate, pulsating and full of unrestrained desires’ (Cavarero 2003, 149). Sapienza also engages with a highly original form of autobiography, repeatedly exploring the past according to the evolving meaning it assumes in the present. Her project of an ‘auto- biography of contradictions’ shows the process through which the self constructs its own story, a process that, in Cavarero’s per- spective, is intrinsically narrative, for ‘narrative memory is the home of the self’ (Cavarero 1997, 49). Finally, in the representation of female characters who struggle to reconstruct their own identity and radically criticize any normative structure, Sapienza seeks to create a new female subject, very much in line with Cavarero’s project of a subjectivity that deserts and subverts the patriarchal symbolic system.

By bringing together the distinctive voices of Sapienza and Cavarero, this analysis highlights a significant convergence be- tween their worldviews and inspiration. While belonging to different periods and employing different means of expression, they both pursue a contamination of literary, philosophical and political discourses in order to create and give voice to a new subjectivi- ty, one that is embodied, relational, and an agent of transformation. Furthermore, this paper provides an original example of how Cavarero’s theoretical work can be employed in literary criticism, thus showing the fertility of her thought in the dialogue with a work of literature.

Lucy Benjamin, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands To Speak of Love: Vocal Exchange in Spike Jonze’s Her

The voice indeed does not mask, but rather unmasks the speech that masks it. Speech can play tricks. The voice, whatev- er it says, communicates the uniqueness of the one who emits it, and can be recognized by those to whom it speaks.

Following Cavarero there is something unique and individual about the human voice beyond its functional role of producing speech. The voice is not merely indexical of the body it, perhaps more importantly, assumes the function of unmasking and thus revealing the specificity of the body in question.

Cavarero’s philosophy of the voice developed through a language of visual metaphors is central to her evocation of Ar- endt’s writing on the space of appearance in which each citizen reveals him or herself to be political. The emphasis on a material space in which politics can be performed – and thus its apparent privileging of visibility – does not deny the inherent political func- tion of the voice. Rather, the voice creates its own ‘space’ in which the visible is made secondary and the audible is celebrated as a means to act politically.

Moreover, the voice and the audible, which forgo the necessity of intimacy or proximity, begin to re-instate the ‘in- between’ relations of politics that Arendt deems necessary for the legitimacy of a plurality. These relations are fractured by mo- dernity’s reduction of Men to men, a homogenization of the political state that denies the relational nature of Arendt’s plurality. In consideration of this my paper will explore the re-emergence of the plurality as made possible through the exchange of voices. This exploration will be undertaken through the narrative framework of Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her.

Her depicts the love story of Theodore and Samantha. What distinguishes the film from a typical Hollywood scenario is Samantha’s abstract relationship to the human body, namely she doesn’t have one. The film’s love story is thus made possible through the exchange of voices. The film thereby affirms Cavarero’s thesis that the voice unmasks the individual and makes their true appearance ‘visible’ and thus ‘loveable’ whilst equally making connections to Arendt’s writing on the voice as a tool for action. This argument will be drawn in connection to Arendt’s writing on love and Augustine in which she discusses love’s force in acting upon the human will (The Life of the Mind: Willing). Hence, that the ‘bodies’ in the film are made legible only through their ex- change of audible words reaffirms both the active quality of the voice and the revelatory quality of the voice.

The film can thus be read as a revision of the privilege that is placed on visibility as a political device and in place high- lights to the capacity of the voice to express both political content and political identity. In this sense the film is shown to function on the one hand in defence of the voice and on the other to undermine the claim that love is anti-political (The Human Condition).

Lorenzo Bernini, University of Verona, Italy, Bad Inclinations: Cavarero, Queer Theories and the Drive

In her latest book Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude (2013), Adriana Cavarero states that queer theories constitute a fundamental critique of «the hegemony of the hierarchizing dispositif of heterosexuality that turns ‘right’ and ‘straight’ into synonyms». In her view, these theories challenge «Homo erectus and consign him to his own ‘bad inclinations’, which are ‘abnormal’ and as a conse- quence ‘unnatural’». The book does not contain further references to queer thought, but in some previous works Cavarero has entered in an intense dialogue with queer scholar Judith Butler. In Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence (2007), for instance, she discusses with Butler Emmanuel Lévinas’ theory of the precedence of the Other over the self, which she interprets, differently from Butler, in terms of the precedence of the caring mother over the child.

Cavarero never engages, instead, with a different trend in queer thought – so-called ‘antisocial theories’. And nothing, indeed, seems more distant from her relational ontology and her ethics of care. In No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004), for ex- ample, Lee Edelman argues against the centrality of the Child as matrix of meaning and understands queerness as the break of all human relations. Yet, it is my argument that precisely anti-social theorists Lee Edelman, Leo Bersani (The Freudian Body: Psychoanal- ysis and Art, 1986) and Teresa de Lauretis (Freud’s Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film, 2010) may complement Cavarero’s view of the vulnerable subject, her critique of the concept of rectitude and her understanding of sexual impulses as ‘bad inclinations’.

To give an account of the ‘inclining’ force of sex, Cavarero refers to the traditional category of «sins of the flesh against nature (crimina carnis contra naturam)», which still appears in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals (1797). Antisocial queer theorists, instead, prefer the concept of ‘drive’, as developed by Freud in the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). According to them, the drive is not the same as the instinct: the sexual drive perverts the (‘straight and right’) instinct of reproduction into a (‘queer’) quest for jouissance which pushes the subject Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Freud 1920), that is, beyond the instinct of self-preservation. In their view, the drive is essentially masochistic and narcissistic, being what is abnormal and unnatural in human nature, and anti-relational in hu- man relationality. But the ‘drive’ also testifies to the ontological dependence of the sexual subject on the inclination of the other, being the obscene double of maternal care.

Elisabetta Bertolino, University of Palermo, Italy, Voicing Resistance Against Objectification in Sex Work

This paper aims at rethinking resistance against the objectification in sex work, reflecting on some of the work of Martha Nussbaum, Judith Butler and Adriana Cavarero. Objectification signifies more than treating someone as a body; it means, as Ann Cahill suggests, reducing someone as reflection of one’s own desires and needs, disregarding the other self. Law’s perspective has appropriated such a division, showing to have incorporated a historical approach grounded on objectification, shame and the vic- timisation of the sex worker. The case law of R v Gary Lee Cole and Stephen Kevin Barik (1993) confirms that sex workers are still re- garded as less than full subjects.

Nussbaum thinks that objectification in sexual interactions is not morally malign, if enacted in intimate contexts of equality and respect; sex work is thus excluded from such a consideration even if reputed a free and an autonomous choice within liberal terms.

Whereas Butler focuses on the normative processes of objectification, which are enacted by identity formation and by frames of linguistic intelligibility. It is necessary to make those linguistic structures diversely intelligible by finding cracks that allow for some sort of change in the intelligible vulnerability of sexworkers. She also wants to provide an alternative to the understanding of vulnerability, either as victimisation or passivity and calls for vulnerability to be imagined as an important condition of resistance.

On the contrary, Cavarero proposes a threefold way of resistance through one’s voice. Firstly, the ontology of one’s voice implies a different conception of existent beyond the linguistic symbolic order where there is a cut and separated masculine representation of the subject. In opposition to this, one’s voice reveals one’s uniqueness, does not possess the appropriating power of the subject and does not speak the language of the proper identity, but offers an ontological approach to resistance that avoids separations.

Secondly, awareness of one’s vulnerability through one’s voice can help one address the vulnerability experienced in commercial sex. One can resist both moralising and discursive legal approaches as well as the actual experience of vulnerability and splits that sex work may produce. One’s voice by providing awareness of oneself allows suspending separations, viewing things via one’s uniqueness and a reconnection to one’s vulnerability.

Thirdly, the focus on the voice brings into life an ontological space of reciprocity that moves away from objectification in all human interactions, suspends any defined sovereign subjectivity and allows positive reorientation of thinking and action. The ontology of the voice is centred on natality, newness, in the sense of acting anew towards vulnerability and reciprocity. Birth signifies precisely the reunion of lovers. The focus on one’s voice and uniqueness opposes the notion of sexuality as being harmful with a sexuality that safeguards uniqueness and reciprocity. For Cavarero, one’s voice, uniqueness and corporeality consist of a fundamental ethical and ontological bodily openness to the other’s vulnerability and a corresponding responsibility to the other.

Emile Bojesen, University of Winchester, UK, Vulnerable Pedagogies

Adriana Cavarero’s recent critique of rectitude can be productively mobilised to encompass the contemporary educational dis- course in the UK which fetishizes the development of character traits such as grit, resilience and perseverance. The promotion of these individualistic rather than relational modes of self-conceptualisation and disposition in both students and teachers does more than simply add to the mass of cultural emphasis on this particular postural ontology; it also prescribes the traits of this popular imaginary as evidence of being an educated person and an effective teacher who can ‘survive’ in the classroom. Counter to this educational discourse (which has long philosophical and institutional histories), this paper will outline various ways of conceiving of and practicing ‘vulnerable’ pedagogy informed by Cavarero’s thought, emphasising her singular employment of both critical and productive theoretical strategies. The relationship implied between vulnerability and the political (as protector and guarantor of plural relationality), for Cavarero, will be shown to apply more fruitfully to an educational context than other comparable ap- proaches to similar problems in contemporary philosophy (such as those of Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben).

Yvon Bonenfant, University of Winchester, UK, The Queered Vocal Body and Participatory Art: Weird Voices and Strange Somatics

Cavarero’s pioneering work For more than one voice opens up a territory that facilitates the emergence of new understandings of the interplay between vocality, subjectivity, human uniqueness, analytical thought, scholarly discourse, and the politics of corporeal experience. Within this landscape, how might we understand vocality anew within the generation of artistic experiences from acts of voicing, particularly when these experiences a/aim to elicit audience voicing and b/intend to celebrate vocal gesture that is queered? If vocal exchange in and of itself is ‘where the repetition of sound, and all its tonal rhythmic variants, expose uniqueness as an un- derstanding … and a reciprocal dependence,’ (Cavarero 2005: 182), what happens when we try to exaggerate the inherent queer potential of such uniqueness until its ‘weirdness’ is mirrored in ways that constructs that very strangeness as positive, pleasurable, and a source of embodied positive affect? What are the implications of this process for the status of vocality and for the relational, vocalising body? What about when the vocalising bodies in question are those of primary school children?

I explore these themes through a rhizomatically assembled theortical lens, applied to a creative case study context. In 2012 I began work on the Your Vivacious Voice project. Within it, a team of artists, scientists, educational researchers and test audiences of children aged 6-11 (and their adults) worked to develop models of performance-making that would elicit the extra-normal voicings of audience members, and then use various kinds of strategies to entice these voicings into artistic containers that exalt their counter-cultural qualities. The final artistic products included a touring performance, an iPad app, and an installation, which has so far reached more than 280 000 users. In addition to Cavarero’s work, I bring together Reason’s (2010) seminal research on developing feedback-gathering methodologies for, describing the sensibilities of, advocating for sensitivity to, and exploring the reflective behaviours of child audiences; Jarman-Ivens’ (2011) seminal assertions about how both performers and listeners con- struct queered voicings through the exaggeration of the ‘aesthetic flaw’; meditations on counter-cultural nature of ‘extra-normal’ vocal sound (especially Labelle 2014 and Connor 2014); the aesthetics and power dynamics of audience interaction in light of Behrndt’s (2014) notion of the ‘dramaturgy of the encounter’; neuro-psycholinguistic child development studies (curated by interview- ee Prof. Catherine Best, University of Western Sydney); analysing the voice as a somatic and vibro-tactile experience rather than one of mere auditory listening (Sun Eidsheim 2015); and Bojesen’s (2016) problematisation of pervasive ‘passive education’. Through using an artistic research approach – promenading among and across these theoretical influences – and by applying this promenade to aspects of process and product of the artworks, including reference to verbal, image-based and metaphorical audience feedback, I explore some possible answers to the preceding questions.

Jessica Borotto, University of Liège, Belgium, Thinking the Subject with Cavarero, Butler, and Haraway: From the Vertical Line to the Tentacular Tree

This contribution explores Butler’s and Cavarero’s criticism of the “autonomous” subject and offers two patterns based on Butler’s theory of subject formation and on Erri De Luca’s tree metaphor in order to perpetuate inclination in a critical manner. Cavarero’s last work (Cavarero, (2013) 2016) elaborates a critical analysis of rectitude as an expression of the sovereign subject whose visual illustration is the vertical line: one of the most exemplary images is tree. Verticality suggests a physical upright posture and symbolizes the moral righteousness as well as the integrity of the autonomous, self-conscious subject. In opposition to vertical figures, Cavarero explores the inclination pattern, i.e. the geometrical motif of the relational subject. This figure reflects subject’s responsibility to unbalance himself towards the outside and represents a call of otherness (passion, love…) inspiring him an attitude of care.

Inclination dismantles the self-sufficient subject in a way that reminds of Butler and Athanasiou’s concept of dispossession (Butler, Athanasiou, 2015). As a condition of the subject formation, dispossession is ambivalent, since it means both the way in which the social and passionate subject is moved out of herself and the privation of good conditions of life. Together with inclina- tion, dispossession leads to vulnerability as a human condition: if subjects’ conditions are heteronomic, subjects are vulnerable and responsible for others. Butler’s conclusions diverge from Cavarero’s, who claims a relational subject, but affirms that the subject’s first apparition at birth grants his uniqueness and also her unity. (Cavarero, (1997) 2000). The geometrical line, although inclined, is a reliable reflection of Cavarero’s position.

Since it is the intersectional point between Butler’s subjectivation and Cavarero’s inclination, dispossession leads to the first pattern. An exploration of discontinuity or irregular continuity using Butler can queerize the figure of mother’s inclination. In a political-geographical sense, Butler furthers Arendt’s criticism of the homogeneity characterizing the Nation-state. Moreover, she founds criticism of the temporal continuity on Benjamin’s messianic conception of history (Butler, 2012). If such discontinui- ty/irregular continuity characterizes the subject’s spatial and temporal conditions of apparition, does it mark the subject herself? How to think inclination while exploring what haunts the unity of the subject? The second pattern is inspired by Erri De Luca’s tale: L’Europe est une forêt d’hommes aux espèces diverses ( http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2015/11/16/erri-de-lucal-europe- est-une-foretd-hommes-aux-especes-diverses1413897). This story rehabilitates the tree metaphor that represents the human recti- tude in Cavarero’s investigation. However, De Luca does not insist on verticality, but on the connection with the earth in which plants take root and trees becomematerial partners demanding care. The image of roots anchored in the earth evokes tentacu- larchthonian beings populating Donna Haraway’s last work (Haraway, 2016). Among these beings, the gorgon Medusa proper to a phenomenology of horror (Cavarero, (2007) 2008) becomes a
feminist ally in the project of living-with and dying-with on earth. I explore the pattern of tentacularity to rethink the geometrical figure of inclination and account for multiple possibilities of relationships in taking care one another.

Ian Bryan, Lancaster University, UK, Peter Langford, Edge Hill University, UK, Cavarero’s Horrorism: Beyond the Arendtian Distinction Between Violence and Power?

The reflection upon, and thematization of, the phenomenon of contemporary violence animates the text of Cavarero’s Horrorism. The title expresses the insistence upon the distinctive traits of a violence whose contemporaneousness requires the combination of the formulation of a new terminology and the reorientation of the focus of reflection to the victims of these new forms of violence. The new terminology and reorientation reflect the explicit attempt to distance thought from the weight of a tradition, identified by Forti (New Demons. Rethinking Evil and Power Today), predicated upon “an omnipotent subject, the bearer of death, and a subject re- duced to a mere object, because he or she has been made totally passive by the other’s violence” (Cavarero, “Review of Simone Forti, New Demons. Rethinking Evil and Power Today”, Political Theory, 2016, p. 3).

The distinctiveness of this theoretical framework is also apparent in relation to a certain orientation of recent biopolitical analyses, exemplified by Esposito’s Immunitas, which situate the phenomenon of contemporary violence as the predominant expres- sion of the ever-intensified operation upon human life of the strategy of exclusionary inclusion. The paper locates the basis of this distinctiveness in an interruption of the conventional concepts of political theory which enables both the delineation of the diversi- ty of forms of contemporary violence and the common, radical destructiveness with which they are imbued.

From this preliminary analysis, the paper then proceeds to situate the position of Cavarero’s Horrorism in relation to Ar- endt’s essay “On Violence”. The comparative examination centres upon the question of the continued pertinence of the Ar- endtian distinction between violence and power in relation to both the phenomena of contemporary violence and the broader theoretical project in Cavarero’s text. The purpose of the comparative examination is to indicate the affinities and divergences between two thinkers who reveal, and consciously position themselves at variance with, the conceptual limits of political philoso- phy and the social sciences.

Sarah Bufkin, University of Oxford, UK, My Body as Our Witness: Consolidating Meaningful Political Claims During the 1981 Hunger Strikes in Northern Ireland

Today, we often conceptualize the hunger strike primarily as a strategic tool that prisoners and activists use to shame powerful state actors into conceding to their claims. Little attention is paid to how the hunger strike provides an alternative means for the marginalized to assert their epistemic authority and to give voice to a political community (Fierke 2014). After all, to successfully vocalize the harms one has suffered requires more than simply the experience of harm, but also the authority to participate in political discourse as a competent knower, speaker and claimant as well as the interpretative horizon within which to render one’s experiences and perspective intelligible to others (Fricker 2008). By interrogating the 1981 hunger strikes in Northern Ireland, I will argue that self-­‐inflicted starvation acted as an alternative form of somatic testimony. The Irish Republican prisoners sought to subvert the institutional conventions of public discourse that favored statist narratives by drawing on the politically resonant image of the Irish hunger striker. This ritualistic performance of the young male body sacrificing itself consolidated an identity-­‐ driven relationality across the region’s Catholic population. While the Thatcher administration and the Northern Irish Unionists sought to neutralize the hunger strikers by positioning them as criminals, Bobby Sands and his peers asserted their standing as political agents by testifying with their own disintegrating corporeality (O’Malley 1990). The protest ultimately ended with ten deaths, but it catalyzed the Republican movement’s first electoral victories in Northern Ireland. The H-­‐Block hunger strikers found their voice not through formal procedural rules, but instead through the inherently political act of precipitating a community for which their bodies became meaningful and their claims became legitimate. Rather than the polis and the body serving as oppositional terms, the body — or, it should be said, a specific set of male bodies — called the polis into being through its own abjection vis-­‐à-­‐vis the detached workings of the British state. In this paper, I will argue that the collective narratives that the IRA bodies substantiated served to articulate a particular imaginative field for the Republican movement, one that politically and affectively situated Northern Ireland’s Catholics within a nationalist project. This process of collective enunciation, however, was deeply ambivalent. For the hunger strikers’ deaths tightened “the swaddling band” of Irish nationalism around Catholic communities (Heaney 1979), mapping them along sectarian lines and inviting the rigid policing of their members for anti-­‐Catholic sentiment. Sinn Fein’s electoral gains, while contesting Protestant hegemony and striking a blow to the perceived neutrality of the Brit- ish state, also brought about a substantive political closure in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. Viewing the hunger strike as a radical form of narrative agency, therefore, presents key insights for how we conceptualize the relation between political voice and the community that it prefigures

Gustavo Bussmann, Birkbeck University of London, UK, Politics of Gender: Identities and the Subject of Rights

Considering Law as a space of restraint and domain, as a main of regulation and also an instrument of changes and re- significancies in society, this work aims to analyse time, language and representation as forms of production of fictions, artificiali- ties and significances. Specifically, with regards to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities, thinking about instabilities, differ- ences and appearances would also be important to reflect on Law`s role not only to limit and define peoples lives, but mostly to give space to singularities and potentialities. The first section of this work, therefore, will start with Shakespearean ideas of time as something impossible to be captured, limited and defined; time as differences that permit the inauguration of a future (des)continuous and disruptive. From Agnes Heller Ideas, as well as Giorgio Agamben concepts, chronos and kairos will set a start- ing point to the proposed analysis. Going further, the second section will use Jacques Derrida ideas of language, translations and idioms to state that language may build new forms of interpretation and perceptions of world and society. From his readings of Maurice Blanchot, this part may also address questions about the impossibilities of synonyms, of concrete truths and ponderations regarding to fiction, Law and literature. Then, a queer perspective on this field will be added to reinforce this idea of language as a way to shape some forms of existence. Hence, the third and last part of this work shall part from the previous ideas of time as an experience to think about the recognition of one in others, as Derrida have worked on the recognition of the life of the other as the experience of the impossible. Self image, body image and collective perceptions, consequently, may lead us to the conclusion that the promise of justice will be attached to the revolution over time and to the infinite possibilities of life`s singularities. Agam- ben’s ideas on language and poetry, experience and ethos, leading to representation, shall also lead to the inexistent standing point when it comes to identities and representation: there is no a priori, no given point of start to think about who is being recognized and fully represented. At the same time, we must no forget the influences of social company that precedes and enables the possibil- ities of thinking, dialoguing and being part of the world one knows – which is particularly noted by Judith Butler in Parting Ways.This three issues (on time, language and representation) will lead us to the conclusion that identities are, therefore, just like time: out of joint. It may be somehow defined by law and categorized to enable some protection, but these limitations will never be sufficient or lead to a deep feeling of justice. The aporia of the universalization and the aim of plenitude in singularities may permit us thinking Law as possibilities, as expansions – not only as limitative or some kind of savior of humanity and its needs.

Wanda Canton, Birkbeck University of London, UK, Can I Get a Witness? Psychoanalysis and the Gorgon Gaze

This paper pursues a defence of psychoanalysis as ‘Giving Life to Politics’ in application to Cavarero’s horrorism. Through the sig- nificance of Medusa and Medea, I problematise the distinction of victim and perpetrator, by arguing Kristeva’s psychoanalytic concept of abjection as a reaction to the subjectivity theorised by Butler and the politics of recognition. I will demonstrate the para- dox of being vulnerable to the other, whom we rely upon to make meaning of ourselves.

Considering the contemporary threat of ISIS and the exclusionary politics of Trump’s America, a politically informed psychoanalysis is increasingly pertinent to understand the psychic conflicts of violence and the production of victims and perpetra- tors. Whilst veering towards a nihilist attitude as to the inevitability of violence, psychoanalysis is uniquely willing to build from the void.

I propose the ISIS horrorist experiences abjection produced in racialised subjectivity. Thereafter a projection of repulsion and fragmentation is enacted by decapitation, which comes to represent an uncanny Medusa like moment wherein the witness experiences the watchability of their own death. Horrorism thus is predicated on the abjection of the other, producing a triangular structure of perpetrator-victim-witness.

Psychoanalysis offers a departure from dogmatic identifications as it forces us to confront our reflection in those that represent our own destruction. I propose a bridging of psychoanalysis and politics to revolutionise the way in which we understand ourselves. Perhaps what is hopeless, is seeking sense.

Federica Castelli, Roma Tre University, Italy, Relational, Political, Exposed: A Reflection on Embodied Subjectivities and Public Space

This paper focuses on the link between bodies, politics and public space, proposing a reflection on embodied subjectivities and the embodied and gendered practices of invention, protest and resistance. To take into account bodies means to enter into a political dimension, both practical and philosophical, that tells us something about our being, as human beings, in the world. The body is not only something on and ‘about’ which discussions and knowledge can be produced. It is a mean of political comprehension, and it is political, revealing to us our political nature. It creates politics. Through our body we are immersed in spatial and tem- poral dynamics. Through our body we are always in relation to something. Or somebody. Every human being is exposed to alteri- ty. We move and we are moved from and towards others, and this movement has something to do with our corporeality, that re- veals the human condition as a one of dependency, contingency and exposure, both in violence, and love, and care for each other. These shared conditions lead us far from the idea of a self-sufficient, sovereign subject. We are always beyond ourselves because of our bodies. So, talking about embodied subjectivities means to undo the idea of an absolute individual subject, who would be free from necessity and from any restriction, be it natural or social.

To take into account bodies means to pinpoint dependency, relationship, and vulnerability as defining attributes of being human. This dependency, far from being disempowering, is really what constitutes us as human animals and what makes us politi- cal. Dependency on others and on other living processes is at the basis of the possibility of action together. Individuals are always related each other and find freedom in plurality; in intersubjectivity.

The body, which is always involved with gendered, racial and economic dynamics, shines a spotlight on passions, contin- gency, and desire for recognition, putting them at the very center of the public scene. In the latest years, in squares and in urban practices of revolts all around the world, bodies have become the epicenter of a broader political conflict, posing serious questions to traditional politics. These questions concern survival, health, and the claim to being part of a shared social world at once con- structed on respect and duties that link us one to another, but which is also enriched by our passions, desires, relationships and love. In other words, with all those passions that makes us human, and that politically unite us in a passionate way. These experi- ences brought desire, social passion, and concerted action at the center of the public space. In those experiences it is possible to glimpse the possibility of a radical change, of an extension of the institutions of democracy, both classical and modern. These ex- periences compel us to rethink politics as a praxis and as an action in concert against the normative reduction of politics to tech- nique of neoliberal governance.

Jack Robert Coopey, Durham University, UK, Thorns & Thistles: Recoils of the Subject and its Plateaus of Sensations: A Post-Deleuzian Critique

The flow of sensations, experiences and reflexions which a subject experiences, constitute and permit the subject to be constituted, the machines, organs enmesh and embroil each other, flows coalescence into and through the goliath, and behemoth of capital. The political defined as the antagonism within the species of the art of politics, determines sets or orders in which the subject can exist and resist. The norms of the subjects are determined by the political, in which politics serves as a pantheon of ‘vulnerability’ in which the political can be either veiled beneath rhetoric or ripped asunder in investigating real, concrete and alternative utopi- an futures. Despite present and past critiques of the Subject as such, the aesthetics, ethics and politics surrounding sociality, assem- bly and the ‘masses’ continues to fuel debates in conceiving of experience in social relations and beyond. Butler’s casting of subjectivity in terms of interdependence lends itself to Deleuzian overtones yet dissonant notes hum in the air, in the concept of sensitivi- ty there is a richness of conceiving of the real, concrete and phenomenological experience of the Others, and enables a truly radi- cal and authentic ethico-politics that can respond to both most sincere acts of love, and the most dire periods of crises that sur- round human life. Sensitivity enables a Deleuzian flow which is not centred in the Subject nor in the Subject outside itself, in the environments that encapsulate it, it permits a rhizomatic understanding for ethics to respond to and be affected by, thus enabling a wider potential for resistance to episodes of catastrophe and tragedy. As Derrida argued in protecting the absolute Otherness of the Other as a form of justice that never becomes actualized, coupled with Butler’s notion of ‘precariousness’ and Deleuze’s ‘flows’, the politics surrounding this alternative conception of the subject yields a method of resistance never before possible. This conception yields a deconstructive, and post-metaphysical potentiality in its ability to embody and make ‘corporeal’ our understandings of Otherness through sensitivity, it embodies the ‘bone’ of the ‘spirit’ of ethical and political justice. Alongside Agamben, Nancy and Badiou the alternative conception of politics through sensitivity re-establishes an authentic anti-humanism which seeks to rightly not, define the human being, but to permit its viability through its absolute resoluteness towards structures that define human beings through exploitation, oppression and other forms of power-relations. The precariousness of life itself and its forms in Agam- ben’s understanding helps us to understand how war is manifested through other forms of life in politics by other means, this is where the intersection between Foucault and Butler can be visibly perceived and witnessed. Furthermore, it is seen that through the praxis of sensitivity the need for representation which inevitably leads to forms of malevolent sovereignty is eradicated, and the need for representatives and represented is erased because of the presupposition that there is a difference in understanding, or ex- perience, or the sensitive, sensuousness of existence. Therefore, the pluralism of the assembly is made obsolete and radicalises a new potentiality for new resistances.

Olivia Custer, Independent Scholar, France, Cavarero in Dark Times

The laughter of a little servant girl seeing Thales, eyes glued to the stars, trip into a ditch has rung out for centuries, a reminder of the abyss between on the one hand, those who appreciate theoretical focus on the celestial realm as a proxy for Ideas to the point of disparaging attention to concrete reality and, on the other hand, those who have no use for knowledge which prevents sure- footed progress in the world. In spite of the long tradition of readings which turn to this scene in order to condemn, despise, or relish in their own immunity from her ignorance of the superior claims of theoretical knowledge, In Spite of Plato showed that it is possible for “those who know how to look realistically” at the scene to read the young girl as a positive affirmative feminine figure. Caverero both argues, and demonstrates performatively in her writing, that choosing to identify with the little servant girl might have powerful political effects. Her laughter disarms the philosopher’s claim to superiority more effectively than any possible coun- ter argument. Mediated by Cavarero, it is contagious and authorizes others to rewrite the stories they live with, not least their own.

Auguring that that laughter might similarly render vain countless expressions of the patriarchal order, In Spite of Plato is indeed, as the author puts it in the preface to the new edition, a joyous book.

Horrorism once again demonstrates how a shift of perspective makes it possible to articulate the pervasive power of a philosophical tradition which depends on privileging death to make sense of life. Just as in the earlier book, these readings demon- strate how attention to natality, with and beyond Arendt, opens an alternative understanding of scenes of violence, an understand- ing which is hiding in plain sight, so to speak, obscured only by deeply ingrained habits of adopting the perspective which has al- ways already conceded privilege to the warrior. But despite the methodological parallels and all the recognizable signs that this is an analysis by one who has chosen to see herself as a daughter of the Thracian servant, there is no laughter here, only Lynndie England’s smirk, or the Medusa’s grimace.

This difference between these two books might of course easily be explained as a consequence of their respective objects of study – myths from an adored author in one case, images of the mangled flesh of suicide bombings in the other. Indeed it might seem absurd, in bad taste, or worse, to ask after laughter as we contemplate the proliferation of scenes which arrive ‘live’ on our screens every day attesting to, and calling for, the killing of innocent victims which, as Cavarero shows, adds ontological insult to deadly injury. This paper will nonetheless raise the question. In 2017, is the joyful laughter of 1990 still a contagious potent possibility, or is it a poignant memory? And if it is both, what does that tell us of these dark times?

Marzia D’Amico, University of Oxford, UK, Patrizia Vicinelli: A Non-Conforming Heroic Subject

The new focus on women’s cultural response to social and political changes has enriched the corpus of studies on Italian women writers.

S. Wood deems dangerous to simply ‘turn all women writers into unorthodox rebels or militant dissidents by virtue of their gender, ever and heroically contesting the patriarchal hegemony’, nonetheless a conscious response to the patriarchal he- gemony is promoted by women writers through language. The performance aspects of literature arising since late 60s is particular- ly intensified in poetry when produced by female authors. The vocal execution together with the exposition of the body assume an invaluable richness for the female case, and in particular in Patrizia Vicinelli’s poetic.

Patrizia Vicinelli (1943-1991) was an Italian poet, performer and actress. She was at the margin of experimental experi- ences of poetry such as Gruppo 63 and Il Mulino di Bazzano, and she hit the screen in Amore Tossico (1983, Caligari). She per- formed in national and international literary festivals and published in visual, sound and concrete poetry anthologies. She also wrote and directed a modern version of Cinderella in the jail of Rebibbia, in Rome, during her detention, with the help of all the others inmates. Her appearances on stage have always been described as explosives, and the fierce in her words were a necessary claim of attention for the marginalised ones. She fought like a nouvelle Antigone whose family is composed by each and every outcast, and for those she wrote her long-poem Non sempre ricordano (Not always they remember). In this poem Vicinelli problema- tises the Western system of power and its conformism that marginalizes and\or secludes non-conventional experiences and expres- sions.

Vicinelli’s personal life experiences are elaborated and filtered to express – through her own – the voices of all those who not belong in the mainstream: queerness, incarceration, exile, abuse of drugs etc. pay backs the “normalised experience of life and art” in epic chant about non-conformity. The grandeur resides exactly in refusing the normalisation by to live and to write in limine, to exist against all odds; but above all, it resides in the political act of producing and performing art in autonomy from the mainstream, refusing the constant legislation and censorship over her body, her writing, her own existence, up to the point of dy- ing poor and abandoned. The philosophical frame by Cavarero (in dialogue with the theorisation of Butler) offer an original way to investigate the creation of the self and its subjectivity, as much as the return to the oral execution as a foundational mechanism of a new female gendered Subject that courageously impose the aural interaction with the audience from stage, claiming the cen- trality longly denied to her gender. If Penelope is a liminal figure and at such she possesses a certain power, Vicinelli reinvents what (modern) heroism is for women and stages it in and over the poetic text. She offered to future female authors a new model of heroism, a new way of expression over pure lyricism.

Sara Diaco, University of Tübingen, Germany, Horror and the ‘Killing of Uniqueness’ in the Greek Tragedies and in Plato

In her book on ‘horrorism’ Adriana Cavarero discusses at length the notion of violence that ‘kills uniqueness’ and considers Medu- sa and Medea as ‘the ancient icons of today’s spreading horrorism’.

This paper aims to analyse the Greek roots of Cavarero’s remarks, in order to explore the levels of violence and its forms of annihilation and demolition of the human being as well as to bring up further elements of reflection.

The first part will focus on tragedy, especially on Euripides’ Bacchae and Medea, particularly relevant to Cavarero’s book. Taking inspiration from Cavarero’s remarks and from Simone Weil’s analysis of the Iliad, the aim will be to connect the concepts of horror and violence to a reification and annihilation both of the victim and of the person who commits the violent act.

The analysis will further show that, in the tragic text, even when violence is an act of vengeance following an offence that demands justice, it does not lead to the glory of the executioner; in fact, it causes further injustice and does not modify the patriar- chal and oppressive society in which the act of violence originated.

The problem of the capacity or incapacity of violence to bring about change will bring to the second part of the paper, in which the Platonic perspective, especially as expressed in the Republic, will be briefly considered, with references to Cavarero’s and Hannah Arendt’s remarks.

If it is true that power imprisons the bodies in the cave, thus manifesting itself as physical violence, its objective is the op- pression of that which is responsible for their action– as also Cavarero notes in Corpo in figure – namely their soul. Reconnecting this idea to the discussion on the annihilated victim of violence developed in the first part of the paper, this section will explore the Platonic view of force as a form of control and reduction of the person to prisoner of illusions, neutralizing her action and thought. However, the myth of the Cave claims also that the way to free the prisoner from her chains is too a form of force or violence. Is the society of the cave so violent that force is the only way out? Or is this intervention that liberates the prisoners meant to shake their conscience and to ‘force’ them to see? The result is that the chains are broken and a contact with each other is reestablished, represented by the possibility to “look” the other in the eye, to see them directly and not as the shadow on the wall of the cave. The paper will thus show that the power of the “look” of Medusa, which destroys, of Orestes, who covers his eyes when killing his mother, and of Medea, who cannot look at her children, is by Plato re-proposed in its alternative, higher form that creates human relation.

Simon Faets, Munich School of Philosophy, Germany, Biopolitics and the Voice of the Excluded: Relations between Judith Bulter’s understanding of Biopolitics and the Thinking of a New Right

In my contribution, I pose the question how far the normativity of subjective rights is system-atically connected to the biopolitical form of governing diagnosed by Foucault. Following Christoph Menke, I claim that the biopolitical form of power is the result of the regime of subjective rights which understands rights as individual claims or properties and, hence, depo-liticizes social life. In- stead of thinking a subject who is inclined toward others (Cavarero), subjective rights establish a solipsistic notion of individuality within a biopolitical framework.

I attempt to trace back both lines of biopolitics and subjective rights back to their common founding argument: from my point of view to a concept of normativity whose normative power and validity depends on the reference to something natural and which relies on the pre-carious dialectics between norm and nature. I want to understand biopolitics within a legal framing as a praxis of naturalization which is not to be understood independently of the mod-ern discourses of juridification that simultaneously naturalize certain parts of the social in order to exclude it from the norms of political life.

On this basis, I want to examine the possibility of an alternative conception of rights. To that end, I suggest to connect the critical view on subjective rights to Judith Butler’s understanding of biopolitics and her notion of the precarious life. Since the conceptual structure of subjective rights systematically goes along with the biopolitical constitution of current societies, the chal- lenge of biopolitical violence caused by this regime of juridification cannot be solved simply by a transformation of the notion of rights. Instead, it is much more reasonable to fo-cus on the particular position of those who become excluded from the existing normative or-der and rules of recognition, as Butler pointed out in her research. Their subaltern position and suppressed voice has to be understood as a consequence of the selective logic of biopolitical reason. Yet, their precarious status marks the blind spot of the idea of subjective rights which is only able to produce free subjects by producing unfree and precarious lives at the same time. Here the Hegelian notion of the “Pöbel” marks a crucial analogy. From this perspective, a notion of a new right had to be based on the experience of the vulnerability to biopolitical violence and neoliberal distortion of the social.

This understanding is internally connected to Arendt’s idea of a right to have rights and would advocate for those who have no right to appear in the present juridical normativity and its biopolitical order. Proposing this, I emphasize the primordial political character of law and Butler’s explicitly political understanding of normativity. In fact, the contribution underlines the in- volvement of the (juridical) subject within the political framing of contradicting dis-courses and normative clusters. The conception of subjective rights is not able to completely reflect itself and relate to those who necessarily become excluded by the biopolitical selectivi-ty of juridical norms. Hence, the ethical violence of subjective rights can only be opposed by the voice of the excluded.

Lucia Farinati, Kingston University, UK, The Force of Listening

We would like to respond to Cavarero’s notions of voice and politics by drawing from our book The Force of Listening (about to be published). The Force of Listening explores the role of listening in the contemporary intersection of art and activism and asks what potential for transformation it might facilitate. Written as a constructed montage in dialogic form, the book draws from conversa- tions with artists, activists and political thinkers. In particular it explores listening in relation to several collective practices from feminist consciousness-raising to Occupy to cultural activist groups like the Precarious Workers Brigade. Conversations cover themes such as collectivity, solidarity and resonance, the politics of voice, the challenges of institutional frameworks and reflections on the Occupy movement. The Force of Listening also traces a legacy from feminist theory and consciousness-raising practices through the narration of first-hand experience and discussions on ethics and politics of listening.

The book comes first and foremost, from practice. However we also draw on theory to support and develop our argu- ments. Voice politics has proven to be key for understanding listening as a political act and as an integral part of political action. We particularly draw inspiration from Adriana Cavarero’s “politics of voices” in which the bond between Logos and politics is reconfigured (from For More Than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of vocal expression, 2005). We discuss in particular her reading of Hannah Arendt’s work and how this resonates with many of the collective practices we present in the book.

Cavarero’s thesis of rethinking politics through voice and uniqueness, a politics which gives prominence to vocality and reciprocity, has been very useful to discuss ideas of collectivity and collective listening. Furthermore we have embraced Cavarero’s perspective on embodiment (voice as the cipher of embodied uniqueness) as a way to understand the importance of sound and listening in the context of political practice. This has provided a terrain for a theorization of resonance and recognition, terms that offer ways to explore certain politics of listening based on reciprocity and mutuality.

While we will retrace our trajectory back to Cavarero’s book For More Than One Voice, our presentation would also like to open up new questions about voice and listening in relation to political action. What does a shift from speech politics to a politics of listening imply? How might listening function in these debates? How might we think through dissonance and discord as well as resonance? And what might we understand as “political action” if (following Virno), the cognitive and creative nature of contem- porary labour brings Arendt’s categories of thought, speech and action into question? With the current political climate becoming increasingly polarised into absolutist positions, listening is also perhaps needed more than ever and at the same time becoming more difficult. It is this in the light of these issues that the intersection of art and activism might provide new food for thought.

Lola Frost, King’s College University of London, UK, Living the Fold

Adriana Cavarero’s book Towards a Philosophy of Vocal Expression, proposes a politics of the voice as locus for a reconfigured relation between Logos and politics. Taking up the theme of Logos and politics, and starting from the assumption that the aesthetic experi- ence of the sublime is predicated on an experience of cognitive failure and an ethical orientation towards ‘the whole’, this talk will sketch how the pain of the loss of cognitive mastery, as well as the shock of the assault on phallocentric values and practices lodged in my sublime landscape painting practice, might be offset against a different kind of experiential register. One which starts with the calls of the landscape, which are then folded into an oscillating process which delivers libidinal and pulsing fractals and im- proper landscape/bodies, which are in turn laced into those accumulating moments where the failure of Logos opens up to the multiplicities, pleasures and ethics of ‘living the fold’.

Cavarero’s book Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude, proposes a particular kind of postural politics that is relational and asymmetrical and which delivers a critique of phallocentric vertical rectitude. Similarly, the spatial vectors of my painting practice are neither horizontal nor vertical, spatial registers privileged in the tradition of sublime landscape painting. Instead, the anti- phallogocentric spatial and discursive ambitions of this practice are predicated on the dynamic and transformative relations be- tween multiple parts and a generative, oscillating and pulsing whole.

Alive to the idea that art is a performance for both artist and viewer, this artist’s talk and slide show will explore out how this painting practice folds into a philosophical critique of a phallogocentric imaginary, that the work of Adriana Cavarero so eloquently explores.

James Garrison, University of Bristol, UK, The Aesthetic Life of Power: Appearance, Vulnerability, and Ritual Technique

After The Psychic Life of Power there has been an explicit and increasing emphasis on the aesthetic in Judith Butler’s approach to subject life. Her engagement with Whitehead and the emotional basis of experience in her essay “On This Occasion…” stands as an initial step in this direction. This aesthetic turn continues with her more recent work Senses of the Subject, especially where she speaks of “the threshold of susceptibility that precedes any sense of individuation.”1

Without collapsing Butler’s distinction between susceptibility and passionate attachment, the claim made here is that working on, laboring on, and improving access to awareness of aesthesis as feeling, with what Butler calls the “the relational dimensions of embodiment: passion, desire, touch,” can help in negotiating the passionate attachments that form subject life.2 In these writings Butler makes her turn to considering the aesthetic dimensions of subject relationality rather clear. In considering the vulnerable, inscrutable, bodily not-quite “I” that proceeds the production of an intelligible subject, Butler holds that:

What follows is that form of relationality that we might call “ethical”: a certain demand or obligation impinges upon me, and the response relies on my capacity to affirm this having been acted on, formed into one who can respond to this or that call. Aesthetic relationality also follows: something impresses itself upon me, and I develop impressions that cannot be fully separated from what acts on me.3

And again without collapsing the distinction between aesthetics and art, the further claim being made here is that art manifests those relational dimensions of embodiment in a superlative fashion with implications for the artful techniques that go into forming the feeling, susceptible, and relational subject. There are, in Butler’s words, a series of structural and institutional supports that condition bodily emergence, and these supports, active and passive, “are already acting on a body with various de- grees of success and failure, acting on a localized field of impressionability for which the distinction between passivity and activity is not quite stable and cannot be.”4

The response here is that qualitative improvement beyond mere success and failure (for whom?) might be possible by taking supports of subject life like feeling, vulnerability, and appearance as media for artistic technique. Reclaiming and refashion- ing these supports might make it possible to build up a bodily edifice more refined and welcoming than a prison formed from darkly artistic surveillance technology. This works by making an artistic medium out of the vulnerability of the subject body that turns on itself, offering itself to perform this and that ritual and to appear in this and that posture so as to be recognized and to continue to be.

And so, through examining Butler’s aesthetic turn and extending her engagement of Adriana Cavarero’s decisive reading of Hannah Arendt’s insights into vulnerability,5 the further task here will be to introduce and defend techniques of appearance— practices like meditation, yoga, martial arts, erotic arts that Richard Shusterman calls “somaesthetic”6—as offering a substantial response to the melancholy of subject life.

1 Butler, Judith: Senses of the Subject. New York: Fordham University Press 2015, p. 2. ; 2 Ibid., p. 10. ; 3 Ibid., p. 11.; 4 Ibid., p. 14. ; 5 Butler: Giving an Account of Oneself, pp. 32-33; cf. Cavarero, Adriana: Tu che mi guardi, tu che mi racconti: Filosofia della narrazione. Milan: Feltrinelli 1997, pp. 48-51.; 6 Shusterman, Richard: Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Uni- versity Press 2008, pp. 1, 22, 23, 24 & 29.

Mareike Gebhardt, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, Narrating Citizenship Otherwise: Spatiotemporal Performances of the Political Beyond Hegemonic Constructions

Liberal democracies construct citizenship along hegemonic lines of parliamentary representation forming an intricate regime of representation that has been challenged in recent years and current elections by populist approaches to politics. The efforts of lib- eral democracy to fight the rise of populism by own means are failing. The quasi-tragic downfall of liberal democracy in an age when it seemed to have triumphed over other concepts of political regime, however, gives leeway to think about citizenship other- wise.

Accordingly, this paper will first analyze the internal workings of liberal democracy regarding spatiotemporal conditions of constructing citizenship. From the ballot box and the voting booth to national law and state territory, where one can only be considered a “citizen”, specific patterns of temporality and spatiality are to be identified: When, where and how often do citizens vote? When and how often is the individual allowed to appear in the public realm as citizen? Moreover, what about those who do not appear in public: the irregular migrant*, the asylum-seeker*, the disabled* and marginalized*? How do “we” as juridically defined “citizens” treat the “others”? When and how often do “we” let “them” in—and how many? In the face of contemporary migration movements—caused by war, poverty, and precarity or due to work mobility and neoliberal globalization—these Ar- endtian questions gain immediacy anew. Arendt’s considerations of “superflousness” and “loss of world” when being abandoned by national systems of citizenship become urgent in a time of human migration that is accompanied by xenophobic regression. The Arendtian motifs—the aporias of the modern human rights regime, the “right to have rights” and vital citizenship—echo in the works of Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler: For this talk I will draw on their works on political storytelling, in/visibility, per- formativity, and citizenship and outline a concept of citizenship located beyond the institutional confinements of parliamentary representation and electoral power. Here, I work with a theoretical concept of citoyenne* that I understand as ruptures within institutionalized forms of citizenship. The traditional citizenship is defined by the liberal triad of private autonomy, civic equality, and fraternity bearing the structural flaws of liberalism’s logocentrism: the primacy of negative freedom, the rhetoric of “equality” cor- responding to an ignorance towards alterity and/or difference, as well as patriarchy, heteronormativity, and reason as underlying concepts. Instead of the rigid forms of instutionalized citizenship in liberal systems, the citoyenne* demarcates fleeting figures of transgression performing citizenship affectively and beyond nation-state systems. She* is a public figure taking her* “right to ap- pear” (Butler) seriously and practices (trans)communal solidarity beyond contingently drawn borders. The citoyenne* transgresses borders. Nevertheless, borders are still acknowledged as necessary for the demarcation and formation of a certain identity. But how and under which conditions these borders are drawn becomes the crucial question within the concept of citoyenne*: here, borders are never constructed hermetically (as in nation-state systems) but considered permeable. Therefore, a transnational citoyenne* views (state/ly) borders as her* space of contestation: they become the framework where she* fights ethno- and state-centric con- structions of citizenship. Hence, she* (re)vitalizes democratic citizenship otherwise every time she* takes initiative and appears in the public realm: loud and visible—with an irresistible political presence.

Diana Georgiou, Goldsmiths University of London, UK, Queer Inclinations: A Visual Analysis of Rectitude

Adriana Cavarero’s most recent publication Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude briefly examines the etymology of the word queer and its associations with being ‘bent’, ‘inclined’, ‘twisted’ and hence of a deviant and unnatural sexuality. Cavarero sets these queer associations against the ‘straight’ and ‘vertical’ heterosexual, to draw out the fundamental oppositions between the homo erectus and all ‘inclined’ others. Just as in Cavarero’s earlier book, In Spite of Plato, we find feminist textual subversive strategies that in- clude stealing patriarchal narratives of women and reinterpreting them into new categories of symbolic representation. More pal- pably, in Inclinations we encounter a curious strategy of exaggeration which I consider as comparable to queer visual and political practices. For instance, drag culture simultaneously incorporates and exposes the horizontal and vertical axes of gendered repre- sentations and rhetoric. This strategy also aims to dispel stereotypes from their associated myths by exposing how both gender and sexuality are not fixed identity categories, rather, that they are vacillating states of embodiment that give rise to multiple and am- biguous identities and hence representations. Taking my cue from the visual representations in Cavarero’s analyses – which lack any representation of a queer geometrical imaginary – I turn to the exaggerated “inclined” representations of queer subjects to examine whether they can exemplify Cavarero’s proposition that relation is in fact an ontological essence. For Cavarero, the figure of the mother, in both visual and rhetorical form, must be exaggerated if it is to detonate its immense potential for rethinking on- tology, ethics and politics. While this is yet another strategy to expose the fundamental differences between the autonomous philo- sophical subject and the maternal stereotype to which new lives are consigned, I investigate what the queer stereotype can reveal in its superimposition with this tactic of exaggeration. Or, who is consigned to the queer subject and how can we mean “originary bending” in queer ontology and therefore ethics?

Jenny Gunnarsson-Payne, Södertörn University, Sweden, Re-queering Kinship and Assisted Reproduction

Over the fifteen years that have passed since Judith Butler (2002) published her seminal texts ‘Is kinship always already heterosex- ual’, we have seen a clear tendency whereby an increasing number of nation states in different parts of the world are legalizing same-sex marriage, often (but not always) granting these couples equal formal rights to form families by way of adoption or assist- ed reproduction. In the wake of this, assisted reproduction have afforded a plethora of new reproductive- and kinship identities, – relationships and family forms (such as gamete donors, gestational surrogates, donor siblings, pregnant men, transgender fertility patients and two-father families) – all of which, in one way or another, are linked to political right claims and increased cultural recognition as well as political and ethical contestation. At the same time, it is quite clear that access to these technologies, espe- cially on a global scale, strongly depends on who has the financial resources to pay for them – and who might instead be more likely to act as a provider of reproductive tissue and reproductive labour.

This paper takes a closer look at the ways in which some of these right claims are supported by a number of culturally recognizable narratives whereby the wish to reproduce and to have children is articulated in terms of an innate and universal de- sire – and how these narratives on the one hand (in some parts of the world) have supported formal rights for non-heterosexual people to reproduce and have aided legal recognition of existing non-heterosexual parental relationships, but how they on the oth- er hand often require a ‘forgetting’ or ‘repression’ of alternative kinship imaginaries (including non-reproductive kinship) and re- productive Others (such as donors and surrogates). Specifically, the paper interrogates how such ‘forgettings’ often take the form of active ‘de-kinning’ strategies that tend to obfuscate the so commonly occurring socio-economic, gendered and racialised inequali- ties between intended parents and the providers of reproductive tissue and labour on the global fertility market – and how precisely such de-kinning strategies today constitute a main feature of the marketing strategies of this industry. Finally, it will discuss possible alternative ways to think about non-heteronormative kinship – ways that do not necessitate the forgetting of reproductive ‘third parties’ – by re-articulating (psycho-social and biological) kinship in terms of ‘imprints’ rather than ‘substance’, and consider what a ‘multilineal’ conceptualization of kinship might mean for the possibility to ‘re-queer’ reproduction.

Nayeli Urquiza Haas, University of Kent, UK, Medea and the Tragedy of the Stranger: An Appeal to Hearing Vulnerability

This paper draws attention to a turning point in history where feminist forms of justice were rendered unintelligible to law and politics, thus also turning female voices into strange or estranged voices. Following Adriana Cavarero’s work inviting the ‘stealing’ myths as a feminist practice as well as restoring the space for voice in Western philosophy (1995; 2005) , yet playing and diverting from her analysis to her interpretation of Euripides’ Medea (2009) drawing upon Judith Butler’s approach to vulnerability (2006; 2009), I suggest that the latter Euripides Medea could be read rather as an allegory of what happens when the laments of dispos- sesion are not heard by the ruler of the city and its citizens. In short, Medea’s story reflects how the vulnerability to precarity is not heard because Creon, the ruler of Corinth, has only ears for her unsignifying utterances of pain and lament which are ‘unreasona- ble’, ‘hysteric’ and even worse, read as threatening sounds signalling violent intentions to come in the future.

Through a rejoinder between Cavarero and Butler, I will explain how Medea’s lamentations at the beginning of the play by Euripides are not merely unintelligible rage and grief (Butler 2000; 2014). Instead, they represent the voice of the Goddess Metis. According to one version of the myth, the Metis was swallowed by Zeus, to others, she was raped. Zeus’ sovereignty was finalised in that sense, and became the herarch over all other gods, and even gave birth, from his head, to Athena. Whilst Zeus silenced Metis’ voice in the public sphere (as only he can hear her), Metis’ voice lives obliquely in Medea’s lamentations. Her lamentation is directed at the hostile hospitality of the law towards femininity (Still 2010) – exemplified and perpetuated through the social orderings that privilege the ‘images of reason’ uttered by masculine legal subject- and yet forecloses the space to find refuge in femininity, which could offer a potential solid ground where Medea could have stood on when dispossession was afoot.

In reading her story as a story of dispossession, my intention is neither to reproduce traditional readings where Medea is restored as a victim or affirmed as an offender, in order to justify her deeds or condemn her for them. Instead, it is meant to how Medea allegorises the tragedy of the ‘stranger’, and its relationship to femininity. She is after all, an ambiguous being, neither fem- inine nor masculine, neither wholly Greek nor wholly barbarian, but is feared in advance because of her reputation as a cunning and potentially dangerous witch. Confronted with the possibility of having all social bonds cut off and no safe haven in femininity (which we instead, in the social conditions of the time, the source of her precarity), nor a space for her ambiguity, Medea ends up mimicking the violent masculinities than disavow her dispossession in order affirm her sovereignty after her lamentations passed through deaf ears.

Tim Huzar, University of Brighton, UK, Reading Cavarero’s (anti-)Arendtian Politics with Rancière

In this paper I think through the relationship between Adriana Cavarero’s account of politics and that of Hannah Arendt’s. In her explicit accounts of politics (in, for example, ‘Politicizing Theory’ (2002)) Cavarero’s account is very close to Arendt’s, and thus suffers from the limits of Arendt’s account that Jacques Rancière has identified (see his ‘Ten Theses on Politics’ (2010)). However, I argue that there is an implicit politics found in other parts of Cavarero’s work (in, for example, Cavarero’s reading of Penelope (1995)) that do not fall foul of Rancière’s critique, and further offer resources for thinking a spatiality to politics that is difficult to discern in Rancière’s conception, and is significantly different to the space of politics found in Arendt.

Cavarero’s Arendtian politics is explicitly positioned as emerging from particular conditions: that of plurality and, more significantly, the words and deeds that actively express one’s uniqueness, that find a stage in the public sphere and thus constitute the political sphere. Cavarero in this way inherits something of Arendt’s dependence on the political animal as an Aristotelian zoon logon echon; a living being who possesses logos (or reasoned speech). Although Cavarero notes a distinction between grounding poli- tics in the fact of uniqueness common to each particular existent, as opposed to the fact of speech possessed by universal Man, in either case, by grounding politics in uniqueness Cavarero is in danger of policing those who count as political. Cavarero’s account begs the question ‘Who is uniqueness proper to?’ and consequently ‘Who counts as political?’.

By contrast, for Rancière politics is precisely the interruption of any grounds for politics. Political activity consists of refus- ing the position one is granted in the extant order and, further, manifesting a heterogenous distribution of the sensible [partage du sensible] that is nonsensical to this extant order. This, I argue, is precisely what Cavarero identifies in her reading of Penelope (1995). The space manifest by Penelope and her handmaids via the tangible, repeated gestures of their weaving and unweaving is nonsensical to the rationality of the palace on Ithaca. Further, the form of sociality that Penelope and her handmaids engage in cannot easily be made sense of on Rancière’s terms (as seen, for example, in Sam Chambers’ refusal of an Arendtian space of poli- tics on Rancière’s terms (2013)). Cavarero’s reading of Penelope thus stages a form of politics that pushes beyond the limits of both Arendt and Rancière.


Cavarero, Adriana (1995), In Spite of Plato, Cambridge: Polity Press. – (2002), ‘Politicizing Theory’, Political Theory, 30:4.

Chambers, Samuel A. (2013), The Lessons of Rancière, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rancière, Jacques (2010), Dissensus, London: Continuum.

Emma Ingala Gomez, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, Oblique Refigurations of the Human: Catachresis and Inclination in Judith Butler and Adriana Cavarero

In the last lines of The Order of Things, Michel Foucault wagered that the notion of the human would soon be erased like a face drawn in the sand at the edge of the sea. This prediction has often been understood as a definitive death sentence, a precursor to what ended up being called the ‘death of the human’ or the ‘death of the subject’, and it was celebrated as such by the tenets of antihumanism and certain strands of poststructuralism. However, Louis Althusser warned about the need to supplement theoreti- cal antihumanism with a practical humanism. Under this advice, Foucault’s metaphor might be interpreted not as an absolute relegation of the category of the human but as an exercise of continuous refiguration. Indeed, if we were to draw a face in the beach right next to the water, we would be bound to figure and refigure the sand every time the wave deleted the sketch. My con- tention is that the works of Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler engage precisely in such a process: first, they undertake an enquiry into the conditions for erasing and figuring the human and the conditions for certain figures to become visible, recognisable and intelligible against others; second, in an oscillatory movement between figuring and erasing, weaving and unweaving, they provide themselves a number of figures of the human. Both incorporate antihumanist critiques of human essence or nature, but, rather than simply giving up the notion of the human, they affirm a strategic role for this figure. Through this, they add a practical hu- manism to the theoretical antihumanist perspective. In particular, I suggest these figurations are never upright or direct, they nev- er fully grasp what they intend to portray, and, more importantly, this obliqueness—intimated by the trope of catachresis in Butler and by that of inclination in Cavarero—and failure are actually a key part of what it means to be human. This approach allows both to resist the dissolution of the concept of the human without falling back into an essentialism. In order to show this, I will first very briefly summarise the premises of the antihumanist critique and consider the paradoxes in which this approach might fall if it is not complemented with a practical humanism or if it is understood as a frontal rejection of the category of the human; second, I will examine Butler’s and Cavarero’s conceptions of the human as framed by a relational ontology and as underpinned by an un- derstanding of bodies and life as eminently vulnerable; finally, from here, I will look at how the figurations of the human provided by Butler and Cavarero, particularly those that emphasise its obliqueness, operate in the oscillatory space defined by Foucault’s metaphor or in the intersection of a theoretical antihumanism and a practical humanism

Rachel Jones, George Mason University, USA, Cavarero with Nancy: Towards an Ethics and Politics of Non-Equivalence

In her 2009 book Horrorism, Adriana Cavarero confronts a particular form of political violence that consists in “the killing of uniqueness” (p.43). Uniqueness is understood by Cavarero to be relationally constituted. On her approach, relations can only be entered into by singular beings because they are that which first makes each the singular being they are, beginning with the ma- ternal relation through which each comes into the world. Cavarero’s conception of uniqueness is thus not to be confused with the autonomous individualism of the modern subject. On the contrary, throughout her work, and in ways that spring from her distinc- tively feminist approach, Cavarero argues that the modern individual is born from a strangely disembodied figure of Man that “disincarnates itself from the living singularity of each one, while claiming to substantiate it” (Relating Narratives, p.9). Both no-one and everyone, this figure’s claim to universality depends on a simultaneous appropriation and disavowal of bodily differences in ways that result in some bodies being privileged over others.

While the figure of Man evacuates uniqueness, what Cavarero names horrorism involves the deliberate destruction of any figure at all: the obliteration of the contours that emerge from each being’s singular exposure to others. This “primary ontological crime” (Horrorism, pp.43-4) consists not only in the destruction of singular beings, but the obliteration of their very singularity (even in the still living). In this paper, I will argue that Cavarero’s conception of the killing of uniqueness as an ontological crime not only provides an incisive language with which to analyze the horrors of Auschwitz that stand at the center of her book; it also provides a powerful frame through which to articulate the specific form of violence inherent to what Cavarero, following Negri, has called “the capitalist imperial machine”.

To support this claim, I will read Cavarero alongside some of the recent writings of Jean-Luc Nancy. Cavarero has en- gaged with Nancy throughout her work, in ways that reflect the resonances between her conception of relationally constituted uniqueness and his articulation of ‘being singular plural’. Both thinkers also emphasize the ontological significance of birth in con- trast to philosophy’s traditional focus on death. By situating birth in relation to sexual difference, Cavarero (I will suggest) better captures the ethical asymmetries involved in bodily relations rooted in vulnerability and dependence; at the same time, however, Nancy’s recent analysis of what he calls a ‘catastrophic logic of general equivalence’ (After Fukushima) helps to draw out the po- tential of Cavarero’s concept of the ‘killing of uniqueness’ for a critique of contemporary capitalism.

Together, Cavarero and Nancy expand our philosophical vocabulary in ways that resist the hegemony of economic ra- tionality and the annihilating logic of neoliberal individualism. By shifting our attention towards natal and relational uniqueness within a scene of plural, irreducible figures, they transform our image of those in whose name politics is undertaken, and call on us to develop an ethics and politics of non-equivalence.

Jane Jones, Independent Scholar, On the Subject of the Voice

Adriana Cavarero’s interrogation of the Derridean “thesis on metaphysical phonocentrism”1 – offered as the epilogue of For More Than One Voice (2005) – strikes, on first encounter, a somewhat discordant note. While Derrida makes it evident in the introduction of La Voix et le Phenomene (1967) – translated, pertinently to our present question, as Speech and Phenomena (1973) – that his target is Husserl’s thought of the “affinity with the logos in general” of the “voice phenomenologically taken” and not the “sonorous sub- stance”of“thephysicalvoice”or“thebodyofspeechintheworld,”2 Cavareromaintains,nonetheless,that“Derridawantsthe scenario to be sonorous.”3 She passes silently over his opening discussion of the Husserlian attempt to prize the ideal self-presence of meaning – the “unshaken purity of expression” – from the externality of indication via the conceit of “speech as mono- logue…the completely muted voice of the ‘solitary mental life,’”4 insisting, rather, that Derrida’s aim is not “phonocentrism as a system constructed on the metaphor of the voice,” but one “constructed on the physically sonorous voice, of a speaker who hears himself speak.”5

What then seems to be elided in this rendering is the extent of the potential – and perhaps, anticipated – congruence be- tween Derrida’s critique of the phone as either a silent, or diaphanous6 breath-borne, carrier of (phal)logocentric ideality, and Cavarero’s similarly anti-metaphysical interrogation of ‘how the logos lost its voice’ and the way in which the “symbolic patriar- chal order…privileges the semantic with respect to the vocal.”7 This then leads us to question the extent to which Cavarero’s read- ing is, in fact, intended as a faithful Derridean portrait – she surely knows he starts by distinguishing the phenomenological from



the sonorous voice – or whether her elision of their potential commonality is, rather, a strategic intervention which – akin to her intellectual foremother Irigaray’s method of hysterical mimesis – is aimed at foregrounding her interlocutor’s ‘blind-spots.’

We will then turn to explore what may be at stake in one Derridean occlusion consonant with Cavarero’s overarching concern – noting that, while the critique of phonocentrism is principally aimed at the phone as the vehicle of immaterial ideality, the sonorous excess of the voice is thereby discarded – and hence rendered literally insignificant – by Derrida in the course of his analysis. Derrida would then remain trapped within a patriarchal binarism which accords the locus of meaning and subjectivity only to ideality as self-presence, which, once deconstructed, issues in the conclusion that “[t]here is no constituting subjectivity,”8 a gesture of, as Cavarero writes, “intellectual ceremony…an endless funeral of the…modern subject.”9 By contrast, for Cavarero, a recuperation of the sonorous excess of the voice, the “vibration of a throat of flesh,”10 prompts us to attend to the “incarnate singu- larity of every existence,”11 and points towards a thinking – as Derrida might say – otherwise of the subject as a ‘who’ who inheres, not in “ineffable essence” or a “secret nucleus of the self” but in “a deep vitality of the unique being” revealed “through the emis- sion of the voice.”12

1 Adriana Cavarero, For More Than One Voice (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA; 1995), p. 222. Hereafter FMTOV 2 Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL; 1973), p. 16. Hereafter S&P,  3 FMTOV, p. 226 4 S&P, p. 22 5 FMTOV, p. 225; 6 The voice is suited to this function because it “seems already to belong to the element of ideality…transforming the worldy opacity of its body into pure diapanei- ty.” S&P, p. 77; 7 FMTOV, p. 6; 8 S&P, Note 9, p. 84-5; 9 Adriana Cavarero, ‘Shadow Writing,’ unpublished manuscript, cited in Diane Perpich, ‘Subjectivity and Sexual Difference; New Figures of the Feminine in Irigaray and Cavarero,’ Continental Philosophy Review, 36, 2003, p. 401; 10 FMTOV, p. 2; 11 FMTOV, p. 7; 12 FMTOV, p. 4

Joanna Kellond, University of Brighton, UK, ‘Lost to reflection’: Fathers, mothers, and the politics of gender in the poststructural ethics of Simon Critchley

In her recent work, Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude, Adriana Cavarero notes a transition from ‘the individualistic to the relational model’ of the human subject in the philosophy of the twentieth century (2016, 12). The autonomous individual postulated by Locke and Kant has been reconceived as a relational being; a being whose ‘concrete reality’, Levinas writes, ‘is always already in relation to the world, or always already projected beyond his instant’ (Levinas 1996, 19). Levinas’ work has been central to this ‘relational turn’, providing a basis for reimagining ethics outside the terms of Kantian autonomy and masculine sovereignty, a task taken up by Simon Critchley in his 1997 work, Infinitely Demanding. Critchley draws on Levinas and Lacan in order to ground ethi- cal responsibility in a hetero-affective encounter with the other, rather than an auto-affectively given law (the categorical impera- tive).

Critchley’s ethics, however, offer an occasion to reflect on the gender politics that persist within the philosophical tradi- tion despite the relational turn. Though Critchley makes a laudable attempt to think relationally, this paper will argue that his use of Levinas and Lacan is problematic, because it remains caught within a masculine logic. The paper will set out the homosocial nature of the ethical bond in the thought of both Levinas and Lacan, in order to point up the blind spot that gender occupies in Critchley’s thinking. Levinas insists that the ethical moment is one of masculine “illéité”, a moving beyond the comfort and inti- macy of the maternal-feminine, whilst oedipal resolution, and thus paternity, is structurally fundamental to Lacanian ethics. Such thinking repeats the abiding philosophical tendency to align masculinity and paternity with maturity, and thus continues a tradi- tion wherein the father ‘educates the minors with all necessary discipline’ (Cavarero 2016, 24), representing the route to adulthood and sociality. Concurrently, the mother remains ‘a sort of stereotypical figure frozen in a timeless tradition’, who ‘continues to occupy herself with vulnerable and dependent creatures, consigned by her natural inclination to care for the human pups’ (24).

More broadly, this paper aims to reflect on the thorny issue of gender in the field of radical philosophy, asking that we consider what is at stake when those seeking social transformation continue to uncritically employ modes of thinking that reflect, and quite possibly perpetuate, domination. Reading Critchley with an eye on Cavarero’s critique of rectitude points up how patri- archal thought persists within the relational turn. This paper wagers that a radical politics that fails to take this critique into ac- count is less radical than it might hope to be.

Pam Laidman, University of Brighton, UK, My Uniqueness, Her Risks, Their Vulnerability

This paper will build on current work on the health and social care category labelled self-neglect. Individuals allocated to this cat- egory are identified as severely self-neglecting as a consequence of the existence, or risk of, injuries, ill-health and a lack of well- being resulting from their inadequate personal hygiene, home cleanliness, hoarding or refusal of the treatment and care offered by health and social care services. Using this examination of self-neglect this paper will consider the relationship(s) between the no- tions of “uniqueness”, “risk” and “vulnerability”. It will describe the implications of the differing perspectives emerging from these notions for the framing of self-neglect and also for the varied descriptions that they offer about what are the morally appropriate requirements of self-care. In particular, this paper will compare the understandings framed by institutional structures, with those framed within health and social care front-line practice and with those understood by individuals as life-style. It will suggest that these differing frames not only add unnecessary complexities and confusions but, more importantly, construct diverse conceptions of self-neglect which have little in common with those we all experience in our lived lives. In particular, this paper will highlight and criticise the use made of the notion of “vulnerability” to identify self-neglect as a possible diagnosis and the use of the notion of “risk” to demand a response from health and social care practitioners with such strength that the autonomy of the individual allo- cated to the category of self-neglect can be, and is, over-ridden despite the ever-present health and social care rhetoric about the need to respect the uniqueness and dignity of each individual.

Laura McHenry, Carroll College, USA, Horrorism, Trauma, Self

I look to ascribe the values and characteristics learned from a variety of writings from Adriana Cavarero. I look to use her writings to address the question of trauma, self, gender and the collective. By using A Critique of Rectitude (her writings on Kant and analysis on iconography, the consideration of Relating Narratives: specifically The Paradox of Ulysses, and a Desire for One’s Sto- ry to build the framework for the question of the self and narrative. I then use her essay Penelope from In Spite of Plato to talk about the metaphysical creation of a ‘female space’ and autonomy. This is then contrasted with the role of trauma ( Horrorism: On Surviving) and brought together by Maria Lugones’s “Playfulness, ” World Traveling” and Loving Perception” in which the self (combined with A Critique of Rectitude” outside of trauma redefines itself through the need for plurality and the self that is not enclosed and broken through trauma nor a “strongman” that is upheld as fully autonomous and fully dangerous; but through plu- rality and the relating to others and moving beyond “the other”.

Heather McKnight, University of Sussex, UK, Narrating the Boundaries of Being Human: Blurring the thresholds of self in Falling Water and Sense8

Two recent television shows have sought to explore a rediscovery of the human through the blurring of the boundaries of self in the conscious and unconscious mind. In Falling Water (2016) characters have the ability to enter into the dreams of others, and even to bleed their dreams into the walking world, dissolving the normal barriers between human minds and exploring the poten- tiality of sharing knowledge and emotions ‘cortex to cortex’. Sense8 (2016) sees a group of eight radically different individuals, from different parts of the world, form a bond where they can consciously enter each others minds, and possess the skills and knowledge of the others in their collective. Both programmes, from differing perspectives, explore recognition in ways that are abstracted from our reality, yet open up new possibilities with which to think about it.

This paper uses Cavaero’s relating Narratives to explore how these programmes explore the ‘horizon of the narratable self’ (Cavarero, Relating Narratives, p.92), the very limits of identity, through themes of gender, sexuality, birth, death, family (as a point of origin, connection and control) and the role of memory in the complex way characters narrate each other. Both seek to explore the potential of the blurring between the self and other, and potential for escape, self-discovery, empathy and love that these spaces open up. At the same time they expose darker opportunities that open up, and the exploitable vulnerability from the intimacyofsuchnarrativecreation. Thenatureofdependencyandinterdependencyintheseprogrammesisexpressedsowecan read the as parables about the blurred thresholds of emergent self, with Sense8 proving radical commentary on gender and sexuali- ty within this context. As the programmes play with the boundary of what is narratable and what is knowable about the self and other, characters become subjectified in new an interesting ways in their own circumstances and separate, yet inseparable, lives.

The narratives explore how “a theory of subject formation that acknowledges the limits of self-knowledge can serve a conception of ethics and, indeed, responsibility” (Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself, p.19) , where the new occurs through the multiple contradictions of these individuals with the status quo. Here the speculation is that we could be more together than sepa- rated, that mental intimacy holds a place of primacy in desire, that to feel another’s pain may prevent us from inflicting it, and that acceptance and vulnerablity, rather than a prescribed genetic loyalty, is progress towards“our chance of becoming human” (But- ler, p.136)

Soula Marinoudi, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece, Autistic Unique Voices: Relationalities of Anticipation and Vulnerability

The metaphysics of presence has endorsed the primacy of the voice as it conjuncts with linguistic signification. However, this (his- torically and philosophically) constructed interrelation has displaced the uniqueness of each voice. Voices are only valued as long as they adduce a (phallic) meaning. This logocentric co-relation between voice and signification has silenced the multiple ways in which voice/s can be sensed. As long as voices are discursive, as they mystify embedded power relations, the uniqueness of each voice is erased.

Unlike these dominant performances of voice, in recent years, autistic bio-socialities suggest different ways of approaching communication and address. In this paper I argue that these alternative enactments of sensing and addressing resonate the uniqueness of voice. I claim that the uniqueness of each voice is not heard. Instead, this uniqueness is embodied in the materiality of its absence. It is felt as it resonates a body not subjected to the discursive set of norms that brought it to discourse in the first place, but a body as the subject of its own unique experience, subjected to the consequences of social mutuality, experienced as sensory-based. The voice is unique as long as it motivates the pain that stems out of the self’s limits.

Drawing on Adriana Cavarero’s work, the (non) narratives and the sonorous gestures of autistics, I intend to show that the uniqueness of each voice is the sensed anticipation of the embodied “other” and the vulnerability that results from our expo- sure to the “other”.

Laurie Naranch, Siena College, USA,  The Narratable Self: Violence and Democratic Encounters

Adriana Cavarero argues for a vision of the self as a “narratable self.” In Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood (2000),

Cavarero disputes the dominant vision of self narration as emerging from an independent will who writes his or her own autobiography without dependence on others. Instead, Cavarero argues for a fundamentally dependent view of the unique self across her corpus. One way to refigure the self is to show how our autobiographies are given to us by others. This autobiographical-biographical practice is what Cavarero finds in women’s consciousness-raising activities in the 1970s. She also draws on other tales of “self” disclosure from Odysseus, Orpheus, Scheherazade, to those found in Milan and New York City bookstores. Although Cavarero doesn’t use this language explicitly, we can see this practice as a democratic exchange. However, this is particularly chal- lenging when addressing situations of structural inequality based on colonization or class or racial privilege as she herself briefly acknowledges. It’s also an open question as to where the act of interpretation or translation may be in this view of the “narratable self.” Nonetheless, the concept of the narratable self allows for a vision of the self different from the individualist horizon whereby we are “different or equal” and from that basis we “establish rules for living together.” Instead, the other “embodies the constitu- tive relationship of our inscrutable identity.” Despite my appreciation for Cavarero’s concept of the narratable self as an ethical and political intervention against violence, there is also the question of how to take account of power, make space for misfires of narration, stories that are spoken awkwardly by interlocutors, and attention to visuals as part of the narratable self. To test both the power and limits of Cavarero’s narratable self, I turn to the abolitionist, women’s rights advocate and former slave in New York, Sojourner Truth. As an illiterate person, but powerful speaker, Truth works within authoritative discourses to expose hypoc- risy and to reimagine slaves, blacks, and women, as human, moral beings, and citizens. She had to rely on others to tell her tale, more often than not those others had their own racial agendas, to be able to present her arguments in print. However, she also compiled her own Book of Life, a scrapbook about her activities including the famous, but also somewhat factually inaccurate, “Ain’t I a Woman” speech from 1851 that nonetheless conveys a truth about her political critique and person. Moreover, intri- guingly enough, she exercised more control over the photographs (carte de visite) that she sold at events. Truth’s narratable self is a valuable example of both the power and limits of the narratable self in the ongoing struggle of refiguring the body politic after the legacy of racial and sexual oppression.

Susan Notess, University of Tartu, Estonia, My Stranger-Voice: Heteronymy in Vocal Revelation

Many people, when they hear their voice recorded and played back, find the experience uncomfortable or downright disturbing. Their voice sounds strangely different to how it sounds in their own heads when they speak. They wonder if how they sound on the recording is how they sound to other people, and they feel dismay at the thought. In her book, For More Than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression (2005), Adriana Cavarero expounds the deep connection between the embodied singularity of a per- son, and the voice by which a person reveals herself or himself. In light of Cavarero’s view, what are we to make of the dismay so many of us feel when we discover that our revelation of ourselves in our voices reveals us rather differently to how we intend to present ourselves?

In this paper, I explore the connection between the vocal revelation and heteronomy of the kind that characterizes the biographical narratives we seek to hear from others, as Cavarero describes in Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood (2000). I ar- gue that while our voices inevitably reveal who it is that speaks, they may or may not reveal much about who we are, and that we have a limited degree of control over what we reveal about ourselves through our voices. I argue that some people may have more accurate awareness of how they present themselves through their voices than others do, and some people may have a wider range of controlling their vocal self-portrayal or disguise. Given these variables, the politics of a person’s voice are heteronomously de- rived, which is to say that what my voice reveals about me is contingent both on my body and intentions, and on the perceptions and normative judgements of others. A person may be judged to have a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ voice for their gender, age, or social po- sition. A person may also be criticised for speaking with an incorrect vocal style for their social position, if the voice is perceived to convey too much power when speaking to a superior at work, or if the voice is perceived to be too sing-songy when discussing seri- ous matters. My argument points to a realm of politics of voice as a partially heteronomous, partially performative realm of self- revelation, in which issues of epistemic justice arise concomitant with the inevitable truth that the voice automatically and auton- omously reveals its origin in the embodied singularity of the speaker.

Finally, I relate the idea of the partial heteronomy of the voice to Julia Kristeva’s notion that the otherness of the stranger is in each of us. The foreignness of our own voices as heard through recordings and through the perceptions and judgements of others point to the foreignness in each of us. As she argues in Strangers to Ourselves (1991), acknowledging the strangeness within our- selves redirects us from categorical us-and-them judgements of others, and returns to embracing the singularity of each person, foreignness and all.

Cavarero, Adriana. 2000. Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood. Psychology Press. 2005. For More Than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression. Stanford University Press. Kristeva, Julia. 1991. Strangers to Ourselves. European Perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press.

Vicente Ordóñez-Roig, Universitat Jaume I, Spain “It is noble for me to die”: Zambrano’s Antigone through Cavarero’s lens

In Stately Bodies Appendix, Adriana Cavarero discussed Maria Zambrano’s interpretation of Sophocles Antigone. Following Zam- brano’s reflections, Cavarero pointed out that Antigone not only fails to kill herself: she does not actually die. Her death is the ex- perience of the marriage between life and death as a sort of unquenchable living that transcends their separateness and opposition. The aim of this paper is to explore these arguments focusing on, first: the pious attitude of Antigone, understanding for piety the action that innocently reveals an order without trying to create it. Antigone’s piety gets the most out of the tragic conflict and shows in nuce the origin of human consciousness and with it, the birth of an unprecedented loneliness. However, and it is the se- cond aspect that I want to emphasize, for Antigone the horizon of loneliness it is necessary linked with insanity and delirium. Antigone is haunted by a world in which reason alone is not enough to account for the monstrousness of life. That is why she had to live life on the very edge of madness and death.

Sara Paiola, Birkbeck University of London, UK, The Thread of Relationships and the Mother/Carer’s Double Vulnerability

This paper is inspired mainly by Cavarero’s latest work Inclinations. A Critique of Rectitude.1 It will centre on maternal subjectivity and will discuss the vulnerability of the mother, or primary carer. When I say mother, I see this term as Cavarero does – a person who is doing mothering work, and moreover, I see ‘the mother as the name of an inclination towards the other.’2 The paper will centre on what I will call the ‘double vulnerability’ and ‘double solicitation’ of the mother or carer, towards herself and her changing subjectivity and at the same time towards the defenceless infant. As Cavarero has shown in her work, the modern abstract and individualistic concept of the subject is wanting: its solitary and ‘erect’3 position does not sufficiently explain the na- ture of every individual’s experience of embodied singularity. Further, I suggest that this applies to mothers in particular because the mother is engaged in a psychological and physical experience of her subjectivity, or what I would regard as a ‘double vulnerability’, or ‘double solicitation’ ( sollecitazione doppia), towards herself and towards ‘the call’ (sollecitazione) on her by the vulnerable infant. This can be linked to what Cavarero has noted about Lisa Guenther’s feminist reading of Lévinas’s work in her book The Gift of the Other when she says ‘both the child and the woman are in different senses, vulnerable, passive, exposed to the Other.’4 The body of the mother is a body which is experiencing a real, concrete, material, corporeal and psychological experience of being at times vulnerable and exposed, and ‘doubly vulnerable’ because engaged in looking after a small child which, like her, is in turn vulnera- ble, fragile and exposed and which more than any other mammal is in need of assiduous care to be able to survive. Hannah Arendt states that vulnerability is the human condition and she points out that from birth our body is exposed and fragile.5 Moreover Cavarero, in Arendtian terms, says ‘I see vulnerability more as the place in which the human condition gives space to the ethical question. I mean a question that roots itself in a decision.’6 In this paper, I argue for the importance of encouraging the formation of relationships between people who care for others, to challenge the stereotypical image of the ‘oblative’ mother to which Cavarero refers in Inclinations and to question the individualistic and self-sufficient idea of the subject. It is in this paradigm that I see the relationality between a woman who is a mother who ‘inclines’ herself towards another mother, to support her in recognition of their shared vulnerability and in recognition of the work that they are doing. My interest in relationality between women who are mothers also rests on a concept that I call ‘horizontal knowledge sharing between mothers’, where knowledge is seen as a common good, hence not an individualistic acquisition but a feminist practice. In this paper, I will also include some images of the work, inspired by Cavarero’s thinking, that I have done recently with Berlin-based feminist artist Alex Martinis Roe, specifically around the support mothers and carers need. The images (see one image below) will show a workshop I led in Berlin last May using a thread which I call the ‘thread of relationality between mothers and carers’.

1 Adriana Cavarero, Inclinations. A Critique of Rectitude. (Stanford University Press, 2016). Inclinazioni. Critica della Rettitudine. (CortinaRaffaello Editore, 2013).; 2 Ibid.;  3 Ibid.; 4 Lisa Guenther, The Gift of the Other.SUNY, Albany, 2006,p.100, in Cavarero, Inclinazioni.(Italianoriginal), p.210.; 5 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition. Another author who has more recently brought her attention to vulnerability is Judith Butler in Precarious Life.; See as well Olivia Guaraldo, Comunita’ e Vulnerabilita’. Per una Critica Politica della Violenza. (Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2012); Martha Fineman and Anna Gear eds., Vulnerability. Reflec- tions for a New Ethical Foundation for Law and Politics. (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013). 6 Bertolino, Elisabetta ‘Beyond Ontology and Sexual Difference: An Interview with the Italian Feminist Philosopher Adriana Cavarero.’ in Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. (Brown University, 2008).

Tuija Pulkkinen, University of Helsinki, Finland, The Politics of Philosophy in Adriana Cavarero’s Feminist Thought

While elaborating on the idea of sexual difference Adriana Cavarero creatively engages with Hannah Arendt’s thought. As a polit- ical theorist, Cavarero is known for her work on relationality and narrativity of self, theorizing on natality, ideas on the singularity of voice, and on vulnerability. In this paper I will approach this work from the point of view of its philosophical engagements and underpinnings. I argue that Cavarero’s texts cannot be truly understood without recognizing their politics with respect to the phe- nomenological-existential tradition of philosophy. My approach in the paper is based on the ongoing project “Politics of Philosophy in Contemporary Feminist Theory,” in which I seek to expose underlying and conflicting philosophical threads within con- temporary feminist theorising. In this paper I will examine how Cavarero’s politics of philosophy places her in conceptual conflict with feminist theorists who draw upon more post-phenomenological philosophical threads.

Eva von Redecker, Humboldt University, Germany, Sustaining Assemblies: Councils, autocoscienza, and their reproduction

a) Sustaining Assemblies: Councils, autocoscienza, and their reproduction. When Hannah Arendt recast political action in terms of natality, she centered it around the miracle of new beginnings, paradigmaticly exemplified in revolutionary council meetings. While feminists have worried about the elitist character of such assemblies and an underlying dichotomy of public vs. private, the model of constitutive power has been appropriated as the core of large parts of radical democratic theory. The latter, however, reduces the politics of natality to the model of transient interventions or insurrectional moments, thus leaving Arendt’s melancholic reflections at the end of “On Revolution” without echo. Clearly, Arendt lamented the absence of lasting institutionalization for council assemblies as a failure of revolutions, and not as their ultimate fate.

Adriana Cavarero’s stunning feminist advancement of the politics of natality and plurality allows not only to make good on the worries about androcentric exclusions inbuilt into Arendt’s notion of politics, it also provides a perspective which over- comes the resignation of “mere” interventionpolitics.

Cavarero achieves this by combining the Arendtian notion of natality with a carecentered ontology. New beginnings are not seen in the heroic register of unprecedented action, but as precarious articulations of uniqueness, dependent on being tended to. Having delegated reproduction to the private sphere and envisioning too upright a political subject, Arendt could only point at “housing” the assemblies in institutions. It is with the terminological tools of Cavarero that the intensified reproductive labour re- quired to sustain new political beginnings can be grasped. The “miracle” is then not so much the new beginning as its successful nurture. In other words, there is no political subject without its inclined (m)other.

The recent black feminist anthology “Revolutionary Mothering” radicalizes the move to restore figures of nurturing to the political imaginary. The authors analyze practices of care under adverse and austere structural conditions as acts of resistance and hint, throughout the volume, at the reversal of their metaphor: not only might certain forms of “mothering” be revolutionary, but revolution should better be understood as sustenance of emerging new forms of life.

Given that maternal metaphors are not without their pitfalls, we want to ground the transposition of these conceptual re- sources in the analysis of two political forms, that of the council assembly and that of the consciousness-raising group (autocoscienza). We follow closely on Arendt’s own presentation of the councils; and we use the Milano Women Bookstore Collective’s documentation of their experiences with autocoscienza to approach the format of consciousness raising group. Both types of performa- tive assemblies, we want to argue, gain in sustainability if examined in Cavarero’s terms and juxtaposed in their characteristic practices. Just as we can only make the council format sustainable when inserting complex mechanisms of care, awareness and resonance into it, the consciousness raising groups need to be bent out, towards the world as the ultimate horizon of political care and concern.

The resultant phenomenology of “sustaining assemblies” thus points in two directions. It allows to envision political forms which can actually sustain their participants, and it exposes what is required in order to stabilize and perpetuate the precarious assemblies within which, according to Arendt, human freedom is realized.

Lea-Riccarda Prix, Humboldt University, Germany, Inclined Labour: Bending Hegel to Reproduction

Arendt’s own anxiety of keeping reproduction out of politics stems from her conviction that the central flaw of Marxist politics rested on a wrong prioritization of labour. For Arendt, it is the isolation of political action against the other spheres which secures its functioning. While her worries about the reifying, tyrannical consequences of modeling politics on the realm of “work” are fleshed out well, the skepticism against labour, understood as reproduction of consumables, seems less well-founded. Confounding labour with animal like and conformist collectivist rhythms, Arendt needs to exclude it from the realm of appearances – thus losing out of sight the resources which might sustain this precarious arena of self-realization in plurality.

Trying to unravel both marxists’ glorification and Arendt’s debilitation of work, it is worth going back to Hegel’s influen- tial phenomenology of production. Couched as it is in the exchange between the erect figure of the master and the horizontal serf work remains incongruent with democratic relationalities. If, however, we replace this originary scene with a Cavarero inspired constellation of inclination, a different mode of work (and in fact one not so distinct from the early Marx’s notion of unaliented, need oriented labour) gains shape.

Hegel himself conceptionalized work in a twofold way. Firstly, as recognizable materialized labour that is as a way for the serf to be propped up by his manipulation of objects. Second, however, Hegel also describes labour as recognizing, hampered de- sire. With the androcentric initial struggle of life and death looming over the place of work in Hegel’s Phenomenology, it is no accident that glorification of work rather than representation of care guided the reception. We want to show, however, that the probe to the contrary is more than feasible.

The struggle of life and death plays on the alternative between saving and destroying life. The serf hampers his desire and starts to work because he chose to save his own life. As we know from Cavarero not only one‘s own vulnerability and helplessness but also the vulnerability and helplessness of others puts one in a position where there is no indifference over the life of others. To repaint the initial struggle of life and death from a feminist standpoint which centers the vulnerability and helplessness of others rather than one‘s own brings the representation of care into the picture. From this perspective hampered desire is recognition from a standpoint of care and otherdirected, needrecognizing labour is the foundation both of human and of societal reproduction. This inclined notion of labour – one which leaves, so to speak, the mother in the picture – also no longer appears as a threat to politics. In fact, it turns out to be its ongoing precondition, the more revolutionary and precarious the politics, the more so.

Alejandro Romero-Reche, University of Granada, Spain, Narratable Selves in Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories are stories which rearrange “official” history in alternative narratives, where events acquire new meanings and the roles of characters are redefined. Key among those characters are the tellers themselves, a community of “truth-seekers” who dispute the consensus on reality and fight, through the telling of the conspiracy narrative, to unveil what lies beneath. Hence, conspiracy theorizing is a form of collaborative, self-referential story-telling that must always engage the teller’s identity, who she/he was before discovering the truth, who she/he was when she/he found it, and who she/he is after gaining awareness. While most grand narratives, like the apocalypse, provide meaning to individual stories (Kermode, 2000), the conspiracy theorist cannot be a mere soothsayer, for the act of telling, independently of its medium, is deemed by the teller as politically subversive in itself to the extent that it challenges the status quo. Which, as suggested by the role that conspiracy theories have played in recent turns of events such as Brexit or Donald Trump’s victory, is arguably correct.

Using conceptual tools from Adriana Cavarero’s Tu che mi guardi, tu che mi racconti: Filosofia della narrazione (1997) and sociol- ogist Luc Boltanski’s Énigmes et complots (2012), this paper examines a series of life stories by conspiracy theorists, both “notorious” and “anonymous”, “professional” and “amateur”, where the uniquely personal and the macro-political are deeply interwoven in the narration of the self. If Jorge Luis Borges’ conspirators “made the surprising decision of being reasonable” regardless of creeds and nationalities, conspiracy theorists have made a no less surprising decision to ignore the origin of many of the materials they combine in their stories about the menace to their creeds, nationalities and identities.

Elvira Roncalli, Carroll College, USA, On Being Inclined – Yet Apart: Cavarero and Arendt in Conversation about the Self

In Inclinazioni: Critica della Rettitudine, (Cortina: Milano, 2013/Stanford: 2016) Cavarero presents an intriguing critique of the western philosophical subject, in terms of its geometrical vertical, straight posture. The subject is erect, like the “I” in the Eng- lish language, it does not bend, it is firm and unequivocal. From that position, any kind of inclination is seen as deviant and dan- gerous, it leads to a loss of self as sufficient and reliant. Against this vertical self-enclosed ontologicposture, Cavarero proposes the figure of the mother inclined over the child, literally bent down, as an alternative posture of subjectivity and a new point of depar- ture for ethics. In this posture, the dependence of the newborn on the mother takes center stage, the asymmetry of the relation is as evident as it is unquestionable, the act of tending toward another underscores the relationality of a self that is open and vulnera- ble rather than self-sufficient.

In illustrating this new posture of the self, Cavarero relies, among others, on Arendt, who has given us the original con- cept of “natality,” and allows us to rethink the human condition from the perspective of beginning, birth, rather than its end, death. Cavarero, however, also criticizes Arendt, for remaining “trapped” in the myth of the independent, rational and complete subject. According to Cavarero, Arendt turns natality into “an abstract formula” disconnected from birth and from the mother, leaving out the primordial connection to life, thus, precluding the possibility of developing “a relational ontology marked by a pro- found asymmetry and an originary dependence.” (Cavarero, 2013, 166)

In my paper, I explore Cavarero’s critique of Arendt, particularly Cavarero’s claim that Arendt falls in line with Plato, Hobbes and Locke, in understanding the self as rational and self-enclosed. This provides a unique opportunity to bring Arendt and Cavarero in conversation about their respective understanding of the self. On the one hand, I’ll show that Arendt’s and Cavarero’s understandings of the self are very similar, in that they are both inherently relational and dependent on others. I’ll rely on Arendt’s critique of ‘sovereignty’ and on Cavarero’s Relating Narratives to show this.

On the other hand, when one considers what little role the body plays in Arendt’s thought, primarily seen as the site of life functions and necessities, it is fair to ask whether Arendt’s notion of self does not suffer from a traditional aversion toward the body. Contrary to this view, I claim that her position is far subtler: by affirming that plurality is the law of the earth, Arendt attests to the reality of embodied uniqueness, but roots it in the inter-relational dimension of many, not in any strictly material aspect, whether the body or other. Arendt insists that only in this way can the distinctive uniqueness of each, who one is, show itself. If Arendt’s position has some merit, to what extent does Cavarero’s posture of inclination allow for such unique distinctness to mani- fest? In what way does the inclination toward another, although symbolically reaching out to the other in recognition of some on- tological dependence, let such unique distinctiveness shine? Is a posture of inclination, in its openness toward the other, free from the risk of closing it?

Damiano Sacco, Kingston University, UK, Nothing to be Rethought: A Dialogue between Cavarero and Heidegger

In her 1990 Nonostante Platone, Cavarero undertakes the task of a new reading of Western metaphysics in order to trace its phallo- centric inception. In particular, it is Parmenides’ proem, and the fundamental assertion that ‘being is and cannot not-be, while not-being is not and must not be’ that are at the centre of her critique. The proem is read by Cavarero to perform for the first time the double move which gives rise to our phallocentric tradition. On the one hand, the world of appearances and materiality, the world in which people are born, is discarded and left behind, thus performing the erasure of the category of birth. On the other hand, man finds refuge in the world of being, the eternal locus of truth. It is in particular in the disavowal of not-being, as that which cannot be thought or spoken, that Cavarero finds the mark of our tradition. The ‘annihilation of nothingness, the Parmeni- dean insistence that nothingness cannot be […] so that everlasting being can be a remedy for the nothingness of death’, results in our tradition in the forgetting of the category of birth and the obsession with the one of death.

In this paper I suggest that an important dialogue can take place between Cavarero’s work on the notion of nothingness and Heidegger’s seminal one. From Being and Time, and his 1929 inaugural lecture at the university of Freiburg, to later works such as the lectures on Nietzsche or The Principle of Reason, Heidegger is arguably one of the first thinkers to perform a thematic analysis of ‘nothing’ [das Nichts], (logical) negation [die Verneinung] and the ‘not’ [das Nicht]. Crucially, Heidegger’s main thesis is that logical negation and the ‘not’ arise through a levelling down of truth to propositional statements about beings present-at-hand [vorhanden]. Dasein exists as a disclosure of Being [Sein] that is always coextensive, or ‘equiprimordial’, with its very conceal- ment, as expressed in the privative form of truth as a-lētheia. Only since it is primordially ‘held out into the nothing’ can Dasein then negate, in logics, the predicates of beings present-at-hand.

Thanks to this fruitful exchange between Cavarero and Heidegger, the disavowal of nothingness comes to represent the locus of, in turn, the phallocentric inception, the obsession with death, the erasure of birth and the forgetting of the question of Being [Sein] in favour of the hypostatisation of the truth of beings [das Seiende]. Against this background, I argue that the notion of being-toward death [Sein zum Tode], rather than representing the utmost instantiation of the obsession with death, is the very freeing of our tradition from the ordinary [vulgäre] conception of the negation of a being present-at-hand (what Heidegger calls perishing [Verenden]). Following the re-appropriation of the nothingness that was alienated in metaphysics, a conceptualisation of human existence ‘as a who’ rather than ‘as a what’ opens up, in which it is possible to find a space for an individuation outside of universalising logics. An individuation into one’s own-ness [Eigentlichkeit], which has nothing of authentic [~eigentlich~].

Mathijs van de Sande, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, What Matters is the Day After: Arendt and Cavarero on the Political Meaning of Story

In October 2011 Slavoj Žižek gave a short address to the temporary inhabitants of Zuccotti Park. Žižek praised Occupy Wall Street for its political intervention, but he also warned the occupiers not to “fall in love with themselves.” What really matters, he stated, “is the day after, when we will have to return to [our] normal lives. Will there be any changes then?”

The primary concern of these protesters, Žižek suggests, must be how their deeds will be perceived afterwards. Their movement will be of significance only if, and to the extent that, it is able to inscribe the dominant political discourse. This requires an ability to author one’s own story. The only real question at stake is how our political actions today, will change the way we see the world tomorrow. Following this line of reasoning, we may conclude that Occupy and similar recent protest movements have failed: they did not immediately affect our ‘normal lives’ on the ‘day after.’

In this paper, however, I seek to offer a different perspective on how political actions and experiences continue to be of political relevance, long after their moment has passed and they seem to be forgotten. Any political act may sooner or later come to an end, but what always remains are the stories that can be told about it. In fact, according to Hannah Arendt it is only after- wards that we may be able to grasp the meaning of a political act. Adriana Cavarero expands on this by explaining how the unity of a story’s design only becomes visible from a retrospective point of view. How did this experience transform the lives of those involved? What was the significance of their deeds, and how did others perceive them? What bearing do – or could – their actions have on our world today? These elementary questions can only be answered retrospectively. In that respect, no one can be the author of one’s own story.

Arendt uses the metaphor of ‘crystallisation’ to explain how such stories of past deeds or experiences may continue to have political potential, even if they appear to be forgotten and have no noticeable influence on the dominant discourse. Like or- ganic remains that sink to the bottom of the ocean, and whose form and substance gradually change there over time, these stories go on to live a subterraneous life. They ‘survive in new crystallized forms and shapes that remain immune to the elements.’ Or, to put it in Cavarero’s terms, they acquire a new “figural unity” – which does not result from a projected plan or design, but develops gradually as a story is being retold and passed on. Sooner or later, Arendt claims, these crystalline formations may be retrieved and returned to the surface, and continue to play their political part.

This means that it is impossible to answer Žižek’s question. If, when, and how our current actions may be of political sig- nificance can never be foretold. The political meaning of a political action depends not only on its immediate outcomes, but also on how its story will be retold in the future.

Carla Schriever, University of Oldenburg, Germany, Preserving the Un-Narratable Life: Cavarero’s Alterity Ethics

To emphasize an important quote by Adriana Cavarero, “a unique being is such only in the context of a plurality of others who likewise unique themselves, are distinguished reciprocally the one from the other” (Relating Narratives, 113), we have to consider that uniqueness is closely related to the category of plurality with others who formulize their own individuality deriving from cultures, genders and languages. In approaching ethics we have to turn to an Arendtian question: How can we express something that exceeds our categories. Cavarero examines the narratable self as the basis for the connection to the unknown- to the other. The individual’s story which is recognized by the other follows the human desire of “having one’s story told” and combines the individual’s life course story with the collective history which appears to be rooted in plurality. Following Arendt’s notion Cavarero explains that “without the redemptive power of narration, nothing would remain of the individual’s life” (..) This stance offers a connection to the Butlerian term of ungrievable life and calls into question if the un-narrated life equals the ungrievable life. If one understands the constituting element of having one’s story told to remain commemorate-able, Butler’s notion of the ungrievable life understood as non-existent to a collective history is applied. Cavarero postulates that: “Memory, deceptively claims to have seen that which could be revealed only through the gaze of the other (40) that is, the unique pattern of appearings through which we show who we are. But no individual can see who was exposed to other’s eyes as their identity is wholly constituted in exposure (…) Identity always postulates another or rather a plurality of others” ( Relating Narratives, 40) This dimension of the connection between the narratable self and the plurality of others evokes the questions to which extend the subject depends on the existence of every individual other, like Lévinas would have proposed. Additionally it raises the question how the un- narrated life transforms into life unworthy of grieving.

Fanny Söderbäck, DePaul University, USA, Natality or Birth? Arendt and Cavarero on the Human Condition of Being Born

Few thinkers are as consistently Arendtian as Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero. While she has yet to write a book that focuses solely on Arendt’s writing, each of the seven books she has published to date engages deeply with her thought, and draws from it so as to establish the ontological framework of uniqueness so characteristic of her own philosophical project. Several key concepts and ideas from the Arendtian lexicon are put to use by Cavarero, but the most important, on my reading, is natality. As Cavarero herself puts it, “natality is perhaps the most original category of thought that Arendt bestowed to the twentieth centu- ry” (Cavarero 2014, 17). In the introduction to her very first book, In Spite of Plato, Cavarero identifies her critical engagement with Plato as having sprung from Arendt’s attention to natality. And yet, she acknowledges that the Arendtian concept is limited. In her most recent book, Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude, Cavarero maintains both her proximity to Arendt and her critique of the par- ticular way in which the concept of natality was developed by her. In this paper, I examine Cavarero’s engagement with the Ar- endtian notion of natality, and try to explain both why she sees in it such a fecund resource for her own philosophical project, and why she ultimately, and as a feminist, also raises concerns in her discussion of it.

To this end, I begin by providing a brief overview of the role of natality in Arendt’s thinking, and examine the promise of the concept. I point to her emphasis on human plurality and singularity – and their rootedness in the fact of birth – as crucial fea- tures for Cavarero. Throughout her work, she reiterates philosophy’s failure to account for the uniqueness – corporeal and singular – that marks each human life, and emphasizes time and again Arendt’s careful attention to the crucial fact that the human being is “an irremediably unique being” (2016, 104). Her own ontology of uniqueness is thus thoroughly grounded in Arendt’s account of natality. The second section of my paper seeks to elaborate a critical analysis of Arendt by bringing attention to three issues identi- fied by Cavarero, namely her lack of attention to the fact that we are born from a maternal body; her silence on the topic of sexual difference; and her emphasis on the public sphere as a sphere of equals, when in fact the scene of birth is one marked by asymmetrical vulnerability. This last issue is further developed in the third and final section of the paper, where I examine the idea that natality, for Cavarero, becomes the very concept by which we can distinguish and normatively differentiate acts of care and love (on the scene of birth) from acts of utter and complete wounding and violence (what she calls horrorism). Upholding the normative dis- tinction here depends on a conceptual distinction that she makes between vulnerability and helplessness. If both birth and violence have in common a fundamentally asymmetrical structure, the crucial difference between them, in other words, is that the former is rooted in vulnerability and relationality (conditions of possibility for human uniqueness), while the latter is marked by helplessness and loneliness (the destruction of human uniqueness and the rendering of singular individuals into superfluous victims). To main- tain the ethical potential of the scene of birth, therefore, we have to insist on the very characteristics Cavarero attributes to it – ones, as this paper aims to show, that are ultimately missing in the Arendtian account thereof.

Erzsebet Strausz, University of Warwick, UK, Narratable Selves in the Modern University: Radical Pedagogy, Subject Formation, and Storytelling

The ‘story of the stork’ in Relating Narratives inspired a pedagogical practice and critical project within the discipline of International Studies that also reflects on and works with processes of subject formation under neoliberal government, including the spaces, mi- lieu and everyday experiences of the modern university. Besides (and in challenge of) the output-oriented curriculum that fore- grounds marks and CV items, I designed a pedagogical experiment that seeks to capture learning journeys as delicate, intricate, subtle and often accidental processes of transformation and self-formation. I wanted to find a way to record and archive those in- tellectual and affective differences which twenty weeks of intense, challenging, sometimes even frustrating critical engagement with the world of ‘security’ and our situatedness in it might produce in and outside of the classroom. How do we know what we know and who do we become in the process? The project started with a simple question that I asked students to respond to in writing during the first lecture of the final year module Critical Security Studies: “What does security mean to you?” I collected these snippets of paper in an airport security bag and then repeated the exercise in Week 20, asking them to reflect on the question “What does security mean to you now?” By collecting and re-presenting these fragments to the class I sought to expose the process of subject formation in the course of academic study and some of the ways in which ‘knowledge’ and ourselves as ‘knowing sub- jects’ can be experienced as entities that are never fixed or static: there is always movement, there is always potential to know oth- erwise, and ultimately, to be otherwise. Bringing attention to our own ‘narratability’ in the gaze of the other, the courage to emerge as incomplete, narratable selves in front of each other and the gesture of giving a story to another gave rise to a sense of community and equality in the space of the classroom. It also created a sensibility around collective transitions without erasing the traces of individual journeys. In those moments of (self-)awareness the potential of the modern university to serve as a space of critical reflection, democratic education and self-exploration as a social good (Williams, 2006) might have been restored and per- haps, in some very small ways, reinvented. Following Cavarero, Rancière and Butler, this paper offers a theory-infused comment on the transformational potential of storytelling, subjecthood and pedagogy in the context the neoliberal university and contempo- rary security governance.

Maria Svanström, University of Helsinki, Finland, Towards More Justice Between Different Forms of Expression

In the presentation I claim that hierarchical dichotomies with roots deep down in history, such as mind/body, men/women and public/private, affect the hierarchies between different forms of expression in political theory and praxis, speech being the domi- nant form of expression in these two contexts. This has above all two serious consequences. First, it affects the hierarchies between different forms of expression in society – as an example I use above all dance art, which is rooted in the body and thus in many ways a marginalized art form. Second, by taking inspiration from a broader field of sexual difference thinking I argue that there are groups in the margins of civil society whose experiences have not yet been articulated verbally. The exclusive focus on verbal expression in politics is thus destructive especially for these groups.

My claims related to the hierarchies between different forms of expression are derived from Adriana Cavarero’s concep- tual analysis related to the theme of voice that she makes in For More than One Voice. Cavarero shows how the bodily voice has throughout history been associated with women, animals or infants – and related to these with mere affections and irrationality.

The consequence of this is that what is characteristic for the voice has never been thought through. Instead it has been the thoughts – the mental images contemplated by the mind – expressed through speech that according to Cavarero have got the ex- clusive attention related to speech in philosophy as well as in other disciplines. In the presentation I show how Cavarero’s analysis related to the theme of voice inspires to take thinking further toward other forms of expression than vocal and verbal expression. Cavarero’s analysis enables for instance to ask how dance art is diverging from speech and written text when it comes to expres- sion of ideas, and furthermore, to elaborate on the specific characteristics that dance art does not share with verbal expression, for example related to the tactile.

I claim that a society where different forms of expression are more equally represented would not only be more just, but also more alive. However, to take Cavarero’s thinking further in this direction requires one to depart from her thinking especially in one crucial respect. Cavarero is namely – with reference to Aristotle – not interested in conceptualising politics as separated from speech, since speech is what according to her makes human beings human. This is something that in my view needs to be questioned since ideas, individuality and relationality can all be expressed also through other means than through speech – such as through movement.

Maria Tamboukou, University of East London, UK, Epistolarity and the Singular You: Gendered Politics and Labour Histories

In this paper I discuss ‘the singular you’ in Adriana Cavarero’s political philosophy by looking at epistolary narratives of women workers and labour organizers on both sides of the Atlantic in the first half of the twentieth century. In doing so I point to the cata- lytic role of letters in creating a narrative scene for the I/you encounter to emerge and unfold, but also for important gendered interventions in the labour movement to be moulded, discussed and enacted. Read within the horizon of the political women workers’ letters carry traces of ‘words and deeds’ in the Arendtian conceptualization of action. In this context letters are theorized as performative gestures of the relational self, open political interventions, actions in writing, but also as records of the past and political memories of the future.

Konstantinos Thomaidis, University of Exter, UK, Geometries of Listening: Training the Voicing Actor

The politics of training actors are gradually coming to prominence in performance studies discourse, with a key focus on the la- bours, enculturation and capitalisation of the trainees’ bodies (Camilleri 2009; Evans 2009; Margolis and Renaud 2010; Kapsali 2014). By contrast, the role of voice in such processes has received much less critical attention. Adriana Cavarero’s seminal For More Than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Uniqueness, in its sustained critique of the devocalization of material phone in favour of dematerialised logos, interwove voice and bodily co-presence in ways that can be helpful in redressing this gap. This paper, how- ever, proposes to do so by taking cue from Cavarero’s latest publication, Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude, in order to rethink the geometrical schemata embedded in conventional ways of training voices. What does it mean to be under or over a tone? Which are the assumptions embodied in fixing (and fixating on) the actor’s alignment as a ubiquitous strategy of vocal empowerment? Are theatre voices only to be raised? How can such ways of imagining, training and discussing voices be rendered revelatory of a ‘dis-inclined’ politics of voice?

Nina Tolksdorf, Johns Hopkins University, USA, The Will to Tell It All: With Cavarero and Butler Towards an Ethics of the Kafkaesque

Referring to Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler, my talk will discuss Franz Kafka’s The Trial in order to, in turn, comment on Cavarero’s account of an ethics of inclination. Gilles Deleuze and Félixe Guattari have shown that we engage a series of bent – or inclined – heads throughout Franz Kafka’s oeuvre (Deleuze/ Guattari, Kafka. Toward a Minor Literature). In Kafka’s The Trial, after the protagonist K. is suddenly arrested without apparent reason, he enters a court were part of the attending crowd watches the event from a narrow gallery so that the people “could only stand bent down with their heads and their backs touching the ceil- ing” (Kafka, The Trial, 33). Or K. is told to stay in front of a pulpit in a way that he has to bend his had back in order to see the priest he is talking to. The pulpit again is “curved in exceptionally low so that a man of average height would not be able stand upright and would have to remain bent forward over the balustrade” (Kafka, The Trial 175). Time and again it almost seems as if one could equate the postures with a moral standpoint – particularly because “bent” in German is “unaufrecht” or “unaufrichtig,” which means “insincere.” However, as Deleuze and Guattari say, even though it is possible to come up with binary oppositions that would support “bi-univocal relations”, according to them it is senseless to do so, when we do not ask where this system is com- ing from. Cavarero questions precisely this system when she analyzes western metaphysics and art and sees rectitude – and thus integrity – equated with masculinity and reason, whereas inclination marks the female (Cavarero, Inclinations). In Kafka it is par- ticularly the bent and/or inclined posture that refers to an ethics that is independent from a static subject position, which is often enough established forcefully but in the name of ethics (Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself).

And it is exactly the bent posture that we have to picture, when K. sits down and starts writing his petition, in which he wants to explain and justify every single detail ofhis life. Because everything and everyone is somehow connected to K. and his trial, he would need to write the whole world in order to accomplish this. He still is willing to try. By reading Kafka with Cavarero and Butler we can develop an understanding of K.’s attempt to narrate his life as the will to tell it all that at the same time reveals an understanding of responsibility without limits.

Georgios Tsagdis, Kingston University, UK, Radical Love: A History of Exclusion, a Singular-Plural Recuperation

Among the countless crises of the twentieth century, the fading of love as a decisive category in the production of ethico-political meaning has been among the least considered. The forgetting of love was forgotten. The present talk offers itself up to the recent acceleration of the recovery of the potential of love. In its text love emerges not merely as the original or continuing condition of philosophy (Badiou), but as the identity of thought itself (Nancy). Thinking through love and as love is thus summoned to animate every future emancipatory undertaking in the service of difference.

The talk begins with a confrontation of three eminent gestures in the genealogy of the exclusion of love from politics. Wollstonecraft, Arendt and Badiou are examined as representatives of radical political and feminist projects, which, in their dis- tinct ways of dis/joining desire and love, sought to exclude the latter from politics, privileging certain forms over others. This privi- leging and exclusion is seen as resting on the Platonic division of the human soul and a corresponding division of the political body, under the rule of logos. Instead of casting doubt on the division itself, this genealogy will reinstate evermore forcefully the reign of logos over affect and desire. This paper proposes then not a mere reversal of this hierarchy, but the political inclusion of the voice of desire as an irreducible element of the singular plurality of love. Drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy’s thinking of love across all its tropes, figures and forms as well as on Michael Hardt’s forays into exploring the political potential of love, this paper proceeds to show the inalienable theoretical and ethico-political significance of love as always-already dispersed, and through this, its radical emancipatory potential.

Elena Tzelepis, University of Athens, Greece, Antigone’s Democratic Promise

In order to explore the gender implications of the other of politics as disquieting and uncanny otherness to the intelligibility of the political, I focus in this paper on the tragic figure of Sophocles’ Antigone. What is done to polis by the feminine alterity, the one relegated to the encypted or buried other, the foreign inside the house, the inner enemy of the polis?

True to the prefix anti- that marks her name, she opens up the question of belonging vis-a-vis both genos and the polis. Pointing to what is excessive to the genos and what is foreign to the polis, she is a misname, a catachresis, that leaves open the pos- sibility of a different relationship between affect and the polis. In her resilient claim to tend the exposed dead body of her brother who has been declared a traitor and thus denied the honor of a proper burial, Antigone confronts the exclusions of legitimate grief and unsettles the assumptions of political normativity upon which grief is historically founded. In spite of Creon’s prohibition, she affirms her philia of incestuous and matrilinear kinship and bears witness to the absolute corporeality of her mother’s son turned into an internal enemy: Polynices is a kin (being of the same blood to Creon) who has transformed into an enemy to the polis; an enemy reduced to mere body, bare death. But through her passionate claim Antigone herself has now transformed into an enemy to the city –a foreign body. As a result of her transgressive passion, she is condemned to be walled in alive; she must be entombed, sealed alive inside a cave, thus not only uncannily mirroring her dead brother’s unburied body that rots by the Theban walls, but also exemplifying her own ambivalent position of exclusionary inclusion vis-a-vis the polis: once again, she figures the limits of intelligibility. In her masterful reading of Antigone, Adriana Cavarero puts it this way: “The politics that banishes the body from within its walls speaks indeed, from beginning to end, only in the grammar of the body” (Stately Bodies, p. 48).

Antigone, this paper explores, displaces the proper boundaries of the political and opens up the question of belonging and non-belonging to the polis. This reconfiguration of the political entails a certain shift to the forces that are prior to, or constitutive of, the proper self-presence of intelligible politics; a shift towards the founding violences it rests upon. Antigone becomes a means of disruption against what Judith Butler calls “melancholy of the public sphere,” that is, against the demarcation of the intelligibly human polis according to gender, sexual, and familial norms. She inhabits a gendered discursive mode in a way that tests the lim- its of the polis and its democratic promise.

Leire Urricelqui, University of Lucerne, Switzerland, (Un)grievable Voices: An Analysis on Discursive Violence

The purpose of this paper is to explore the normative structure that enables the emergence of dehumanizing categories in dis- course, that is, categories that enable the nonrecognition of uniqueness. Categories that produce the inequality of grievability be- tween human lives. This aim will be first approached through a central figure within the frame of alterity that emerges in Classical Greece: the barbarian. My aim is to analyze the barbarian as a model of a hegemonic grammar of oppression to investigate who is the barbarian today, that is, who embodies the sufferer of this oppression today and plays the role that the barbarian takes within Greek discourse. The barbarian appears not only to question our logos, our ethos and our nomos, but also to put them in danger and to threaten us with their destruction. He is defined as a danger to our values and freedoms, to our democratic system, and be- comes the object of our fears. But the barbarian is not only the one that appears as a threat to our civilization. The term acts as an oppressing name, since from the moment a subject is named as barbarian, he or she is stigmatized as the unreasonable other. Bar- bar shows an incomplete use of the language within the logocentric conception. It is the sound of incomprehensible speech: there is no semantike in his phone. The existence of categories such as the barbarian provides evidence of a logic that allows radical ine- qualities between humans. Today, we do not talk about the barbarian, but new images of the stranger and the enemy are manifest in our language. To analyse the category that represents today the hegemonic and oppressed logic that ones defined the barbari- an, I will focuse on the terrorist. Similarly to the barbarian, the terrorist does not count as a human. He or she is expelled and ex- cluded from the political frame in which life is protected and guaranteed by the laws. If the barbarian, in contrast to the Greek, marks the frontier between the viable and unviable, between the reasonable and unreasonable, and in the end, between the human and nonhuman, the aim is to understand how the terrorist introduces the border between what we consider a viable and rea- sonable speaker and what not, between what we consider a grievable life and what not. This involves analysis of how the “terror- ist” can be used to control the public sphere, the regulation of what can be seen, thought, looked at or listened to. The intention is to explore the similiraties and differences between the terms “terrorist” and “barbarian”, to understand how the use of these terms produce images and voices of a dangerous and threatening other, from which we need to protect ourselves at any price. Thus, I want to analyze which grammar turns the real into unreal and enables the discoursive emergence of dehumanized categories, to understand how do these categories limit what can be marked as a life and the death that will count as a loss.

Rafael Zawisza, University of Warsaw, Poland, Lusus naturae: Arendtian Natalism as a New Law on Earth

The thought of Adriana Cavarero does not comply neither with Franco-American post-structuralism nor with Italian reflection on biopolitics. Its exceptionality could be explained only via Arendtian natalism as a defence of the uniqueness rooted in birth. How- ever, in order to unearth critical potential of the concept of natality, Cavarero’s illuminations of it must be confronted with Han- nah Arendt’s background, namely theological roots that constituted polemical context for natalism as a third attempt to overcome gnosis. It is precisely acosmism of Arendt inherited via Franz Rosenzweig that guarantees de-naturalisation of natality in a role of the critical premise for emancipatory politics based of a recognition that human being is always a “freak of nature”, unnatural by nature.

Adriana Cavarero remains immune to cryptotheological dimension of Arendt’s thought. But still, she uses her hybrid language: uniqueness has “its glory”, there is “the miracle of finitude”; even though natal self demands not salvation, but care, nonetheless, birth conserves for an individual a constant “promise”, without an author though19. Doesn’t Cavarero’s stubborn repeating that every human being is unique sound like a kind of theology? Is God, then, necessary to confirm our uniqueness or is it enough to link it just to the irrepeatable character of each life-story? Despite the fact that Cavarero extends many of the intui- tions of Arendtian natalism – like critique of thanatocentrism in philosophy and sacrificial paradigm of subjectivity, not to mention the motive of uniqueness and univocality – she resists to transgress the human condition: self’s exposure “cannot be transcend- ed”20, it is limited by the others’ stories. Yet, it is contradictory to Arendt’s early writings, where reflection on natality appeared: in Der Liebesbegriff bei Augustin individual uniqueness was extracted as entity in contrast to the indifference of the Cosmos and tran- scendence of God as the antithesis of creaturely finitude, while in Rahel Varnhagen individual’s battle for significance faced History.

In the end, my intention will be to get involved in a passionate discussion with Adriana Cavarero, whose theoretical in- novations, in my view, could receive additional support by reminding the genealogy of natalism. By doing this, I want to avoid two Italian types of interpretation of Arendt, oppositional ones, yet symmetrical: 1) biopolitical reduction of Arendt to an admirer of pure zoe – by the philosophy of immanence (G. Agamben, R. Esposito, A. Negri), 2) bioethical, religiously motivated reduction of Arendt to a pro-natalist – by the philosophy of transcendence (S. Kampowski, A. Papa). Both paradigms distort Arendt’s natalism, committing a sin of renaturalisation. To rescue Arendt from the reductive appropriations, Cavarero’s theoretical achievements should be, however, complemented by a post-secular perspective emphasising creatureliness (A. Bielik-Robson, E. Santner). Ar- endtian speculations about God as deus absconditus are nothing but the hidden preconditions for human freedom, plurality, and uniqueness, since alien God’s negativity is employed in taking life out of nature.

Khaled Zouaoui, Constantine I University, Algeria, Love and Sex as Political Acts

This paper examines the themes of love and sex in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four and how the author treats them. In a world of total submission, the people are allowed only to love their invisible leader, Big brother. They are utterly stripped of their humanity, privacy, sense of integrity and most importantly, they are sexually repressed. An individual called Winston Smith grows to know more than he is supposed to, and eventually his inquiries lead him to question the authority of Big Brother. By chance he comes to understand the objectives of the Party’s very sexual repression and the eradication of any form of love between individu- als, be it mother and son, husband and wife or any other kind of relationship. As Winston Smith ponders the government’s re- strains on its subjects, he comes up with the decision to become a political dissident and do what the Party forbids. . He engages in a romantic relationship with a woman called Julia and indulges in promiscuity with her. As he is in the peak of his relationship he understands that his behaviors have become totally political. Overall, the paper inspects the viability of the use of the sexual be- havior as a form of political dissent and resistance against the state

19 Adriana Cavarero, Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood, London-New York: Routledge, 2000, pp. 3, 53, 72. 20 Ibidem, p. 73.

Conference programme

Monday 19 June

Keynote | 11.00am – 1.30pm | Old Courtroom Lecture Theatre | Chair: Mark Devenney

Adriana Cavarero | Archaeology of Post-truth
Judith Butler & Bonnie Honig | Responses

Session 1: 2.30pm – 4.00pm
Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Christine Battersby

Ian Bryan, Lancaster University, UK, Peter Langford, Edge Hill University, UK, Cavarero’s Horrorism: Beyond the Arendtian Distinction Between Violence and Power?

Olivia Custer, Independent Scholar, France
Cavarero in Dark Times, Simona Forti, University of East Piedmont, Italy, From Horrorism to Grey Zones

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Maria Tamboukou

Alberica Bazzoni, University of Oxford, UK, Gollarda Sapienza and Adriana Cavarero: Two Resonant Voices for a New Subjectivity

Alejandro Romero-Reche, University of Granada, Spain, Narratable Selves in Conspiracy Theories

Konstantinos Thomaidis, University of Exter, UK, Geometries of Listening: Training the Voicing Actor

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Heather McKnight

Yvon Bonenfant, University of Winchester, UK, The Queered Vocal Body and Participatory Art: Weird Voices and Strange Somatics

Diana Georgiou, Goldsmiths University of London, UK, Queer Inclinations: A Visual Analysis of Rectitude

Jenny Gunnarsson-Payne, Södertörn University, Sweden, Re-queering Kinship and Assisted Reproduction

Coffee & Tea | Edward Street Gallery Space | 4.00pm – 4.15pm

Session 2: 4.15pm – 5.45pm

Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Diana Georgiou
Joanna Kellond, University of Brighton, UK, ‘Lost to reflection’: Fathers, mothers, and the politics of gender in the poststructural ethics of Simon Critchley

Sara Paiola, Birkbeck University of London, UK, The Thread of Relationships and the Mother/Carer’s Double Vulnerability

Fanny Söderbäck, DePaul University, USA, Natality or Birth? Arendt and Cavarero on the Human Condition of Being Born

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Wanda Canton

Clare Woodford, University of Brighton, UK, Queer Madonnas, dangerous rectitude: between Medusa, Medea, and the martyred (M)other

Vicente Ordóñez-Roig, Universitat Jaume I, Spain, “It is noble for me to die”: Zambrano’s Antigone through Cavarero’s lens Elena Tzelepis, University of Athens, Greece Antigone’s Democratic Promise

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Eva von Redecker

Lucy Benjamin, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, To Speak of Love: Vocal Exchange in Spike Jonze’s Her

Jessica Borotto, University of Liège, Belgium, Thinking the Subject with Cavarero, Butler, and Haraway: From the Vertical Line to the Tentacular Tree

Heather McKnight, University of Sussex, UK, Narrating the Boundaries of Being Human: Blurring the thresholds of self in Falling Water and Sense8

Tuesday 20th June

Late Registration | 09:00am – 9:30am | Edward Street Foyer

Session 3: 9.30am – 11.00pm

Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Vicente Ordóñez-Roig

Elvira Roncalli, Carroll College, USA, On Being Inclined – Yet Apart: Cavarero and Arendt in Conversation about the Self
Mathijs van de Sande, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, What Matters is the Day After: Arendt and Cavarero on the Political Meaning of Story

Erzsebet Strausz, University of Warwick, UK, Narratable Selves in the Modern University: Radical Pedagogy, Subject Formation, and Storytelling

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Peter Langford

Lucia Farinati, Kingston University, UK, The Force of Listening

Soula Marinoudi, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece, Autistic Unique Voices: Relationalities of Anticipation and Vulnerability

Nayeli Urquiza Haas, University of Kent, UK, Medea and the Tragedy of the Stranger: An Appeal to Hearing Vulnerability

Inclinations Book Launch | 5.45pm – 6.45pm| Edward Street Lecture Theatre

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Fanny Soderback

Christine Battersby, University of Warwick, UK, Cavarero, Kant and the Arcs of Friendship

Georgios Tsagdis, Kingston University, UK, Radical Love: A History of Exclusion, a Singular-Plural Recuperation

Khaled Zouaoui, Constantine I University, Algeria, Love and Sex as Political Acts

Coffee & Tea| Edward Street Gallery Space | 11.00am – 11.30am

Session 4: 11.30am – 1.00pm

Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Elvira Roncalli

Rachel Jones, George Mason University, USA, Cavarero with Nancy: Towards an Ethics and Politics of Non-Equivalence

Nina Tolksdorf, Johns Hopkins University, USA, The Will to Tell It All: With Cavarero and Butler Towards an Ethics of the Kafkaesque

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Elisabetta Bertolino

Gustavo Bussmann, Birkbeck University of London, UK,  Politics of Gender: Identities and the Subject of Rights

Olivia Guaraldo, University of Verona, Italy, Cavarero, Lonzi and Italian feminist materialism

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Rafael Zawisza

Eva von Redecker, Humboldt University, Germany, Sustaining Assemblies: Councils, autocoscienza, and their reproduction

Lea-Riccarda Prix, Humboldt University, Germany, Inclined Labour: Bending Hegel to Reproduction.

Lunch| Grand Parade Cafeteria | 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Keynote | 2.00pm – 4.30pm | Old Courtroom Lecture Theatre | Chair: Clare Woodford

Judith Butler | Leaning, falling and working-through: Reflections on non-violence

Bonnie Honig | Postures of refusal” Antigones, with Cavarero

Adriana Cavarero | Response

Conference Dinner | New Era Chinese Restaurant| 8.00pm, 6B Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3WA

Wednesday 21st June

Session 5: 10.30am – 12.00noon

Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Rachel Jones

Federica Castelli, Roma Tre University, Italy, Relational, Political, Exposed: A Reflection on Embodied Subjectivities and Public Space

Carla Schriever, University of Oldenburg, Germany, Preserving the Un-Narratable Life: Cavarero’s Alterity Ethics

Maria Svanström, University of Helsinki, Finland, Towards More Justice Between Different Forms of Expression

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Jenny Gunnarsson-Payne, Emile Bojesen, University of Winchester, UK, Vulnerable Pedagogies

Pam Laidman, University of Brighton, UK, My Uniqueness, Her Risks, Their Vulnerability

Mareike Gebhardt, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, Narrating Citizenship Otherwise: Spatiotemporal Performances of the Political Beyond Hegemonic Constructions

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Sara Paiola

Jack Robert Coopey, Durham University, UK, Thorns & Thistles: Recoils of the Subject and its Plateaus of Sensations: A Post-Deleuzian Critique

James Garrison, University of Bristol, UK, The Aesthetic Life of Power: Appearance, Vulnerability, and Ritual Technique

Damiano Sacco, Kingston University, UK, Nothing to be Rethought: A Dialogue between Cavarero and Heidegger

Lunch | 12.00noon – 1.00pm | Grand Parade Cafeteria

Session 6: 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Alejandro Romero-Reche Sara Diaco, University of Tübingen, Germany
Horror and the ‘Killing of Uniqueness’ in the Greek Tragedies and in Plato
Laura McHenry, Carroll College, USA, Horrorism, Trauma, Self

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Jane Jones

Marzia D’Amico, University of Oxford, UK, Patrizia Vicinelli: A Non-Conforming Heroic Subject

Jane Jones, Independent Scholar, On the Subject of the Voice

Susan Notess, University of Tartu, Estonia, My Stranger-Voice: Heteronymy in Vocal Revelation

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Lucy Benjamin

Elisabetta Bertolino, University of Palermo, Italy, Voicing Resistance Against Objectification in Sex Work

Tuija Pulkkinen, University of Helsinki, Finland, The Politics of Philosophy in Adriana Cavarero’s Feminist Thought

Maria Tamboukou, University of East London, UK, Epistolarity and the Singular You: Gendered Politics and Labour Histories

Coffee & Tea | Edward Street Gallery Space | 2.30pm – 3.00pm

Session 7: 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Panel 1 | Room: Edward Street 102 | Chair: Erzebet Strausz

Emma Ingala Gomez, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, Oblique Refigurations of the Human: Catachresis and Inclination in Judith Butler and Adriana Cavarero

Laurie Naranch, Siena College, USA, The Narratable Self: Violence and Democratic Encounters

Tim Huzar, University of Brighton, UK, Reading Cavarero’s (anti-)Arendtian Politics with Rancière

Panel 2 | Room: Edward Street 103 | Chair: Nayeli Urquiza Haas

Lorenzo Bernini, University of Verona, Italy, Bad Inclinations: Cavarero, Queer Theories and the Drive

Wanda Canton, Birkbeck University of London, UK, Can I Get a Witness? Psychoanalysis and the Gorgon Gaze

Leire Urricelqui, University of Lucerne, Switzerland, (Un)grievable Voices: An Analysis on Discursive Violence

Panel 3 | Room: Edward Street 104 | Chair: Jack Coopey, Sarah Bufkin, University of Oxford, UK

My Body as Our Witness: Consolidating Meaningful Political Claims During the 1981 Hunger Strikes in Northern Ireland

Simon Faets, Munich School of Philosophy, Germany, Biopolitics and the Voice of the Excluded: Relations between Judith Bulter’s understanding of Biopolitics and the Thinking of a New Right

Rafael Zawisza, University of Warsaw, Poland, Lusus naturae: Arendtian Natalism as a New Law on Earth

Closing Remarks | Room: Edward Street Lecture Theatre| 4.30pm – 5.30pm

Adriana Cavarero, with, Simona Forti, Olivia Guaraldo and Tim Huzar

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