These comments were originally presented at the Eastern American Philosophical Association in Philadelphia on January 9, 2020 at the satellite meeting of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.
I appreciate this book and am glad to have it in the world. Serene Khader canvasses a breadth of debates of multicultural and transnational feminism within the field. She frames possible objections and offers responses in many cases just as the reader begins to consider that objection and in other places where the raising of the objection clarifies Khader’s position. The book is highly readable both for non-academics and technically sophisticated for scholars. I taught the book in my feminist philosophy course that focused on transnational feminism this past semester and it became a touchstone for debates throughout the course. Khader offers nuanced frameworks that aim to be effective in on the ground transnational feminist activism. I have now read and reread this book three or four times and I can say that the initial objections have melted away as I have continued to sit with it, but I think there is still something in my initial concerns that I now think are about whether universalism can be decolonized within a liberal framework. Khader herself points to these questions. In conclusion, I’ll ask whether an alternative notion of universalism in a Marxist or post-Marxist vein is what Khader’s project invites.
I would sum up my remarks with four questions:
- Who is the book for?
- What work does the sense of universalism that Khader aims to recover do?
- What is the status of this account as non-ideal theory?
- Can universalism be decolonized within a liberal framework?
“The crowd is not a community. It doesn’t rely on traditions. It doesn’t have a history. The crowd is not held together by unstated norms or an obscene supplement that extends beyond its own immediacy (although crowd images and symbols clearly shape the reception and circulation of crowd events). Rather, the crowd is a temporary collective being. It holds itself together affectively via imitation, contagion, suggestion, and sense of its own invincibility. Because the crowd is a collective being, it cannot be reduced to singularities. On the contrary, the primary characteristic of a crowd is its operation as a force of its own, like an organism. The crowd is more than an aggregate of individuals. It is individuals changed through the torsion of their aggregation, the force aggregation exerts back on them to do together what is impossible alone.” Jodi Dean, Crowds and Party Read more
I learned about the Feminist Epistemologies, Metaphysics, Methodologies and Science Studies (FEMMSS) 6th conference at the GLCA Women’s/Gender/Sexuality Studies workshop in Ann Arbor last May from someone who works in science studies. FEMMSS is the feminist epistemologists and metaphysicians equivalent to the Feminist Ethics and Social Theory (FEAST) conference. Since FEAST meets every other year, FEMMSS meets on the off year. What’s great about this conference is how interdisciplinary it is — people from physics, neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, history and sociology are here. I have enjoyed the interdisciplinary conferences I’ve attended in the last several years, from HASTAC to PODNetwork to Wonder and the Natural World at IU this last June. The conversations are lively and cross-pollinating, and the intradisciplinary anxiety and intensity seem softened by the interdisciplinary engagements. Read more
Today was the first day of the Ancient Philosophy Society in Portland, Maine, hosted by Jill Gordon at Colby College. A new day has dawned for the APS when so much discussion of gender in ancient philosophy and explicitly of feminist approaches to ancient philosophy is given center stage. I was planning on posting a blog on the conference as a whole, but today’s program was so rich, and so focused on gender, that it deserves a post of its own. Read more
Last week, I finally sat down with some friends and watched the 2012 film, “Hannah Arendt,” by Margarethe von Trotta. The film focuses on Arendt’s trip to Israel to watch the Eichmann trial and the writing of her article for The New Yorker on the trial, Eichmann in Jerusalem. With nice timing, The New Yorker is making its archives including this article available for a limited time on its website so check it out here. Arendt argues in that essay that what was most appalling about the trial and about Eichmann and most frightening for a political environment tending more and more to totalitarianism was that Eichmann did not claim to think. Read more
On April 27, 2014, I will be commenting on Emanuela Bianchi’s essay, “The Aristotelian Organism and Aleatory Matter.” I’m posting my comments here for those of you who won’t be attending the Ancient Philosophy Society in Tampa, FL April 24-27. I’ll be live tweeting at #APS14, follow me @adrieltrott.
A note on the photograph: Emma took this photo of my husband and I in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy in 2012. At the time, we’d only been married for three weeks. She later posted it with the caption, “Marriage: Italian Style.” I think this it’s particularly apropos given the dispute that she and I have over the role of the feminine in Aristotle’s work.
It is a pleasure for me to comment on Emma Bianchi’s work, not only in the spirit of friendship, but also in the spirit of true and earnest disagreement with a friend with whom I share many philosophical commitments. This project seems to be drawing together some elements of Bianchi’s previous work, and as such, I find her formulations and concerns to be helpful in my own thinking on Aristotle. So I’d like to express my gratitude to her for keeping these questions and concerns about Aristotle at the fore. These are questions and concerns that I share, questions that I thank Bianchi for forcing me to think about more carefully in Aristotle. They are important questions whose ramifications extend beyond the confines of Aristotle and Aristotle scholarship. Bianchi encourages us to critically consider the implications of the standard of substance as a unified and hegemonic totality. Read more