Paper for MLA Queering Value Panel, January 6th, 2012 (Seattle).
Full text, online eipcp, hardcopy of the series at Diaphanes. And in German as “Von der Prekarität zum Risikomanagement und darüber hinaus”.
How to consider forms of hierarchisation, submission, intolerance, meekness and domination that obtain in the university without deferring to either the dream of a universality or, what is the same thing, the nightmare of a total mobilisation, which is to say, the absolute hierarchy of the general equivalent and its political variants?
As is more or less well-known, Kant’s writings on the university, collected under the heading of The Conflict of the Faculties, are preoccupied with establishing limits, borders — above all the limits to conflict. On the one hand, there is the distinction between philosophy (which includes the ‘life sciences’ and sociology) and what he refers to as the ‘higher faculties’ of law, theology and medicine — ‘higher’ because closer to sovereignty.
Paper for “On the Borders of Politics: Activism, Democracy, Labour,” Department of Gender And Cultural Studies, University of Sydney 2007 Seminar Series, June 1. Continue reading
Discussions of the state of emergency so often render the world in dismal and bloody hues sketched by some transcendent hand that they function as little more than occasions for lyrical indignation or, worse, simply fuel the exquisite sense of urgency that drives the activist — and therefore putatively transcendent — economy of demonstrations, symbolic protests, etc. To be sure, times are grim. But they have been so for most of the world, for a very, very long time. And neither pessimism nor optimism will enable this moment to be seized for what it might be. Nor, as someone once said, do we lack communication. What seems to me glossed over in usual accounts of the state of emergency is a proposition that may seem too terrible to consider but which, if one is inclined to embrace politics as risk and not retreat, is also a chance. My first suggestion is simple: if it appears to ‘us’ as if the present is an exceptional moment in the history of the world, this is not because it is indeed an exceptional experience for the world, but because ‘we’—what it means to say ‘we’—have come unusually close to a sense of the world.
Paper given at City/State Conference, July 2002; published in the City-State Reader (Sam de Silva, ed.). Continue reading