[SydPhil] UNSW Philosophy Seminar: Simone Bignall, Tuesday 30 April

Joanne Faulkner j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au
Fri Apr 26 10:12:14 AEST 2013

Date:               Tuesday 30 April
Time:              1 p.m.
Venue:           Morven Brown 310, University of NSW
                        (map reference C20: (1.7MB)<http://www.facilities.unsw.edu.au/Maps/pdf/kensington.pdf>)

Dr Simone Bignall (UNSW)

Postcolonial redemption: Agamben’s thought as transformative chrēsis

A significant strain of contemporary Continental Political Philosophy takes as its point of departure the horrific fact of the Jewish Holocaust at the behest of the Third Reich. While this concern to investigate and repudiate the ideas and conceptual operations underwriting the attempted annihilation of Europe’s internal Others is undeniably important, it is troubling how far less attention has been given by Continental Philosophers to the long, dark history of European colonialism, to the violence waged upon Europe's external Others, and to the role played by philosophy in its justification and process. This general neglect on the part of Continental Philosophy to reflexively address its own past uses and imperial inclinations is all the more troubling because European colonisation is far from being a thing of the past. In Australia, for example, the polity is sullied daily by the hostilities that result when an imposed settler society remains unreconciled with the Indigenous peoples it displaced. Is European thought capable of being delivered from this problematic colonial history, and if so, then what might constitute a postcolonial redemption of Continental Philosophy? One Continental thinker who has devoted significant attention to the notion of ‘redemption’ is Giorgio Agamben, and it is his work that I will focus upon in this paper. For Agamben, redemption or deliverance from a problematic tradition calls for a process of release and exit, which is realised only in an ethos of practice that he theorises in terms of Pauline chrēsis, or 'transformative use'. I engage with the apparent insularity of Agamben’s Eurocentric Philosophy by testing whether his concepts and paradigms are 'useful' for thinking about postcolonial justice in Australia.

Simone Bignall is Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of Postcolonial Agency: Critique and Constructivism (2010), and co-editor of Deleuze and the Postcolonial (with Paul Patton, 2010) and of Agamben and Colonialism (with Marcelo Svirsky, 2012), all published by Edinburgh University Press.

Dr Joanne Faulkner, j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au
School of Humanities

Dr Joanne Faulkner
ARC DECRA Research Fellow
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Room 338, Morven Brown Building
University of New South Wales
Kensington, NSW 2052

j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au
+61 2 9385 2287


Co-Government/Institutional Representative, Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy: http://www.ascp.org.au

Branch Vice-President, UNSW Branch of the NTEU, National Tertiary Education Industry Union: http://www.nteu.edu.au
NTEU Office Tel: +61 2 9385 2479, email: nteu at unsw.edu.au
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