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Life and Politics: Potentiation and Extinguishment


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Speaker(s): Professor Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Chair: Professor Craig Calhoun

Recorded on 14 January 2013 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Are all progressive politics inevitably acts of absolute extinguishment and emancipation, of the production and repression of life? If so why has a progressive imaginary been loathe to confront its own politics of extinguishment. Povinelli examines one strand of progressive political thought--the conversation among critical sexuality studies, immanent critique, and the biopolits--in order to open the problem of ethics and extinguishment beyond the safety of liberal adjudication and justification.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Professor of Anthropology & Gender Studies at Columbia University. She has directed the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, co-directed the Center for the Study of Law and Culture, and currently Chair of the Department of Anthropology. Povinell’s research seeks to produce a critical theory of late liberalism. She is the author of four books (Labor’s Lot, Chicago, 1994; The Cunning of Recognition, Duke, 2002; The Empire of Love, Duke 2006; Economies of Abandonment, Duke, 2011). The Cunning of Recognition receiving a Bookforum Best Book of the Year. Karrabing-Low Tide Turning, a film she co-directed with Liza Johnson, was selected for the Berlinale Shorts Competition in 2012. She was the German Transatlantic Program Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Fall 2011; a Wyse Visiting Professorship at Cambridge University Spring 2012; and a Hallsworth Visiting Professorship at Manchester, Spring 2013.

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