Perspectives on Ethics: Bonnie Honig

Perspectives on Ethics

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.

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Bonnie Honig
Brown University
Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science & Interim Director, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women

Mon, Jan 14, 2019
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin