Enemies to the State: Towards a Politics of Resistancelecture Wed 20 Mar 2019, 17:30
Lecture Theatre 1 (LT1)
Queen's Building, University of Exeter, Queen's Drive
Exeter EX4 4QH
- Free - advance booking essential
In her inaugural lecture, Professor Angelique Richardson of the Department of English will look at ways in which the smartest thinkers have challenged biologistic notions of class and race and ask what we might learn from them in the context of an aggressive anti-immigration environment and eugenic ideas.
As science shifts from the gene-centred fallacies of the last century, embraces process over fixity, and rejects race as a biological category, political and public discourse in the UK sees a move in the opposite direction with an intensification of biologistic notions of poverty and race. These are demonstrated, for example, in an increasingly punitive benefits system, a resurgence of eugenic ideas in public discourse, and an aggressive anti-immigration hostile environment policy.
Taking up some of these myths of biology, this talk will observe that we can find among Victorians and Edwardians some antecedents for this passing off as natural that which is the product of society and circumstance. However, the smartest thinkers of the last two centuries called this out at every turn, rejecting eugenic notions of efficiency and productivity, and subsequent calls from the Tory party for the sterilisation of those they considered unfit. They were moved instead by a biology of collaboration, peace and internationalism and a celebration of life, love and immediacy.
Likewise, they challenged reductive notions of gender to point out ways in which wider structures of power operated on groups and individuals.
The talk will also ask who belongs in universities, and who doesn’t. Do money and class still decide? And (how) should humanities scholars move from the pleasure of representation to a politics of resistance?
All are welcome to attend this free lecture. Advance booking is essential.
Please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01392 722301.
This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception from 6.30 – 8.00pm in Queen’s Café.