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The Powers of Memory in the Little Things

Closing lecture given by Judith Butler

On 8 October 2020, in the framework of the 2020 edition of the Politics and Aesthetics of Memory Chair, directed by Chilean theorist Nelly Richard, American feminist theorist Judith Butler gave a lecture based around the idea of memory outside hegemonic readings of history. She began by reflecting on the virtual medium of the lecture she was presenting, on a situation that brings us together but creates a longing for contact and encounter as it leaves us in solitude. She went on to refer to the right-leaning and volatile political situation in the United States on the eve of the election and in the midst of the pandemic, characterising it is as necropolitical exhilaration. She also contrasted this context with the resurgence of Black Lives Matter, at once a movement and a slogan, and also an archive of live, just as Richard has put forward. Finally, her lecture centred on a reading of Marx from a feminism perspective, connecting the exist/resist of Palestinian claims and the performance “Un violador en tu camino” by Chilean collective Las Tesis. The lecture was followed by a conversation with Nelly Richard and Ana Longoni.

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds the Hannah Arendt Chair and is a Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School (EGS). Her work, initially focused on gender studies, also sets forth notable reflections in the field of ethics, politics and human rights. She is one of the foremost intellectuals of our time.

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