Arts of Resistance: Locating Black Women’s Philosophies CUNY 10/21

“Arts of Resistance: Locating Black Women’s Philosophies”

Friday, October 21, 2011

CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, Room 5409
New York, NY

This paper works through Foucault to examine the parameters within
which Black women’s lived experience can be intelligible as philosophy.
Toni Morrison characterizes the condition of Black women in the US as
one in which they have “nothing to fall back on; not maleness, not
whiteness, not ladyhood, not anything.”  It is at the juncture of
self-invention, which simultaneously contests and resists imposed
categories, that Black women’s philosophies emerge. As opposed to a
static set of philosophical principles, Black women’s philosophies are
more aptly described as philosophical strategies that perform
ethico-political interventions–doing philosophy from the posture of
critique.  In evoking the notion of “doing philosophy,” the project
calls attention to philosophy as a practice, or process of habituation,
whereby one develops an active critical posture in which theory and
action are necessary linked.  My account enlists Foucault’s analytic of
subjugated knowledges, takes up his elaborations on genealogy (as
outlined in Society Must Be Defended), and explores his discussions of
critique and the “Aesthetics of Existence.”

Speaker bio:
Devonya N. Havis (Ph.D., Boston College) is Assistant Professor of
Philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. Her research engages
contemporary continental philosophy with critical race theory to
promote social justice. Her current work develops a conception of
auditory identity as a counter to the longstanding philosophical
emphasis on the visual. Recent articles include “Blackness Beyond
Witness” in Philosophy and Social Criticism (2010). Courses she teaches
range from introduction to traditional Western philosophical concepts
to explorations of the political implications of Hip-Hop theory. She is
the Conference Site Coordinator for the Foucault Circle’s 2012 Annual
Meeting, taking place in Buffalo on March 30-April 1.


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