Engl. /Ling. Friday Seminar, 13 Sept.: Subjectivity and Political Responsiveness (Dr. Simone Drichel)

13 September 2019 4:00pm

The Otago English and Linguistics Seminar series for semester 2, 2019 continues this week with a presentation by Dr. Simone Drichel, entitled, ‘ “Only the Individual can see the Tears of the Other”: Relational Subjectivity and the Refusal of Political Responsiveness.’  

Dr. Drichel is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Otago. She lectures in New Zealand and postcolonial literature, as well as literature and psychology. She describes her topic as follows:

Recent scholarship which highlights our inherently relational existence seems to have left untouched the popular political imagination. This paper seeks to answer Judith Butler’s pointed question, “What makes political responsiveness possible?”, and also what may make it impossible. What is it that leads to the refusal of our inherent relationality and how can we counteract this refusal? Based on the work of British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott, I outline an argument for seeing autonomy as acquired in the safety of a “holding environment” with a reliably available relational other. This “individual” has little in common with its “monstrous” Enlightenment cousin and I ask what it might take for such a creature to become a political reality.

The seminar meets as usual in the Castle Lecture Theatre D, at 4.00 p.m. on Friday, 13 September.  


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