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Visiting Fellow Archive (2018-2019)

The 2018-2019 Visiting Fellow is Bonnie Honig, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science, Brown University.

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor in the depts. of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University. She is the author of Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell, 1993), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton, 2009), Antigone, Interrupted (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham University Press, 2017). She has edited or co-edited: Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt (Penn State, 1995), Skepticism, Individuality and Freedom: The Reluctant Liberalism of Richard Flathman (Minnesota, 2002),  Oxford Handbook of Political Thought(Oxford, 2006) and, most recently, Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016). She is currently at work on a new project called Theaters of Refusal, to be delivered as the Flexner lectures at Bryn Mawr College in the fall of 2017 and to be published by Harvard University Press.




Monday, March 4th, 2019 from 3-5 PM
“Bartleby” as a Figure of Inoperativity – The Body Politics of Post-Work
Institute for the Humanities, Lower Level of Stevenson Hall
701 South Morgan

Bartleby, the ubiquitous figure of refusal, is a character in a short story by Herman Melville, whose refusal is expressed in his now famous formula, “I [would] prefer not to. “ In this seminar we will discuss the story in detail, assessing the power and limits of refusal, in language and at work, in Melville’s story. We will attend not only to Bartleby but also, with the help of supplementary texts, to the story’s historical context (eg., the Astor Place riots) and to the other characters all of whom refuse work in a variety of creative ways. Why then has it been Bartleby who has so captured the imagination of critical theorists from Deleuze to Agamben?



Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 at 4 PM
Bartleby or the Bacchae? A Feminist Theory of Refusal
Institute for the Humanities, Lower Level of Stevenson Hall
701 South Morgan

Bartleby or the Bacchae? A Feminist Theory of Refusal

“Where’s your spine?” we often say to those who seem to lack moral ‘backbone.’ How do such vertical metaphors limit and drive our imagination of refusal? Drawing on Adriana Cavarero’s work, Inclination, this lecture develops a postural analysis of refusal in the Antigone, the Bacchae, Thoreau’s “Walking”, and Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Madonna. Cavarero promotes inclination (the leaning in posture of maternal care) as the preferred posture for her ethics and politics. This lecture pluralizes the feminist subject position of inclination to include sorority, as well, and argues that the refusals we find in maternal and sororal care express not only love but rage, and promise not only the holding of community but also the dismemberment of revolution/new beginning.