Gender and Cultural Studies co-hosts 2012 Allen Feldman tour

SOPHI’s Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, together with the Departments of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Policy (Sydney), COFA (UNSW) and the ANU are sponsoring a tour by New York University’s Cultural Anthropologist, Assoc Prof Allen Feldman.

Allen Feldman is a political and medical anthropologist, the author of the acclaimed Formations of Violence: the Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland and numerous essays on the anthropology of the senses and political violence. His forthcoming book is entitled Archives of the Insensible: Aisthesis, War, and Dead Memory (Duke 2013)


On the apophatic blur of war

Co-hosted by the National Institute for Experimental Art, (NIEA), UNSW
(with dinner to follow)

Unofficial photographs and videos secretly obtained by a der Spiegel and the Rolling Stone magazines, show the falsified counterinsurgency shoot-to kill activities and image work of a Fifth Stryker Brigade “kill team,” in Afghanistan between January – May 2010. This unit is now indicted for murdering three supposedly Taliban sleepers who turned out to be Afghan civilians. My concern here is with how the praxis of sovereignty uses image work to install the event of violence as both material and inappropriable, sensible and intangible by which the state disavows the ethical excess and even the material actuality of its violence. In this talk what I term visual denegation is mapped across the counterfeiting photos of the American kill teams, as read through the Red Army Faction photo-paintings of Gerhard Richter.
Click here for more information

Jennifer Biddle:

SOPHI Common Room
Rm 822 Brennan MacCallum A18

POSTGRADUATE MASTERCLASS: An invitation-only workshop targetting visual and ethnographic methods in political projects.
Students from the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies (Sydney) and NIEA (UNSW)

Contact and RSVP :
Catherine Driscoll:
Jennifer Biddle:

Rm 148, Lower Level, RC Mills A26
Ethnographic Clinic on Violence, Human Rights, the Body, Transitional Justice  and Practice led Research

Students from the Departments of Anthropology and Social Policy (Sydney)

Contact and RSVP:
Catriona Elder:
Linda O’Connor:

Rm 148, Lower Level, RC Mills A26
SEMINAR: Department of Anthropology:
Faceless Speciation: of Animal Natality, Aperity and Inhumanization

The violence that is poised between humanitas and inhumanitas speaks to the metaphysical ordering and phantasms of everyday political terror. Are practices of political aggression separable from the Western metaphysical divide between human and animal, and what are the ideological utilities of this divide? Are acts and discourses of inhumanization how philosophical anthropology (and all anthropologies are ultimately philosophical and political) confesses itself, not as theorem or disciplinary taxonomy, but as a political culture with the most severe material criteria and bodily consequences? Does political animality point to an anthropological sovereignty that only acquires positivity, tangibility, and figuration through its displacement onto, and passage into, the extimacy that is animality? And why does subjugated or expelled animality perennially threaten anthropological plenitude as an uncontainable negativity? These questions imply that the many thresholds of language, labor and finitude that have repeatedly delimited, governed and consigned the animal and human in metaphysical thought and practice can be remapped as a properly political dominion; a wildlife reserve in which philosophical, ethological, and anthropological declaratives and descriptions encrypt zoopolitical relations of power and force, and where the animal predicate circumscribes a concentrated time and space of subjugation, exposure, disappearance and abandonment.
Robbie Peters:

SEMINAR: Department of Gender and Cultural Studies with Sociology and Social Policy:
The Disputation of Ashraf Salim: Sovereignty Before the Law

In Kafka’s fable “Before the Law” the appeal to infinite regress, to higher and deeper authority, creates the illusion of an interiority of law, that someone or something is within the hallowed and hollowed abode of the law even if this indwelling is merely the performance of withholding law from others, that is as the visibility of an invisibility that materializes a concrete delimited outside from an amorphic and disframed interiority. The site of law has no positive content other than this act of exclusion, of making a border and a before of law as the event of a self-emptying event. Withholding renders sovereignty untouchable, unscathable and as such unprofanable as its law can be symbolized and re-presented but not presented or touched in situ. In its infinite regress Kafka’s law holds to its bare-life of withholding law and to the bared and exposed life from which law is withheld. The Combatant Status Review Tribunals at Guantanamo (2002-2010) similarly inscribe a territory, a space, and a speculum where the sovereignty of the state can be performed as the event of withholding of law, as a pantomime of a juridical legitimacy without legality that is mediated by the sheer gate-keeping performativity of hollowed out juridic forms and ceremonies including the publication of the transcript under discussion. It offers an opening to a non-event, an aperture that is withdrawn as law and act in its very appearing as an event. In the recesses of the security state, in the security state as an assemblage of recesses, the law itself is securitized and subjected to an extraordinary rendition and consigned to a black site from which all other black sites are authored and transmitted.
Tess Lea:


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