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Impolitical Critiques & Decolonial Grammars

November 5, 2020 │ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

María del Rosario Acosta López (UC Riverside)

“Grammars of Listening as Decolonial Grammars: Notes for a Decolonization of Memory”

This talk engages in a self-critical reflection on the limits and decolonial potential of the project advanced by the author and entitled ‘grammars of listening’. In the first part, the author explores the theoretical context that frames said project, namely, the analysis of the epistemological and ethical challenges that result from the task of listening to testimonies in working on historical memory. This involves a philosophical inquiry into the concept of traumatic violence as a “colonizing” form of violence. The second part of the talk examines the extent to which the project on grammars of listening holds under the scope of a decolonial look, and proposes two possible strategies for a “decolonization of listening,” namely, the invention of history and the resistance of memory.

Timothy C. Campbell (Cornell University)

“Politics without Bios: An Impolitical Critique of Biopolitics”

Thinking and writing in a moment of COVID-19 presents some unexpected sights. Horizons that before went unnoticed become visible; oppositions change, with some terms dominating where others did before. Naturally, forms of critique change as well. Nowhere has this been less true than in biopolitical reflection, especially in that sub-genre referred to as Italian Thought. Here is where, as Bruno Latour might say, some continue to play at a “caricatured form of the figure of biopolitics.” This state of affairs in which discussions of biopolitics dominate how we understand and talk about life during the pandemic calls for critique. In my talk, I will be drawing upon an earlier moment of Italian Thought, referred to as the impolitical, in order to contest the hegemony of biopolitical reflection. I will be asking after the impolitical possibilities for biopolitics in order to avoid turning politics repeatedly into a quarrel over the status of life.


November 5, 2020
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm