#11: Natalia Cecire presents, 'Single Sex: The Queer Poetics of Cell Biology at Bryn Mawr College, 1905'

We are delighted to formally announce that, for our summer term guest talk, we will be joined by Dr Natalia Cecire, lecturer (assistant professor) in English and American literature at the University of Sussex. We are also pleased to say that we'll be hosting this talk in collaboration with the American Studies Research Group, based in the School of English ( 
Cecire's talk draws on Freud's use of nineteenth-century theories of microscopic life in Beyond the Pleasure Principle to situate Marianne Moore's poetics, often described as "shelled" or in various ways hard-surfaced and repelling, in relation to the surprisingly intense research in the biology of sex, inheritance, and generation at Bryn Mawr, the women's college that she attended from 1905 to 1909.
Following the Q&A, we will be hosting a wine reception in the School of English. 
All students and staff membe…

#10 Antigone's Claim - 23/05/2019

23 May | 5.00 - 6.30pm | Room 1, LAHRI (29-31 Clarendon Place) | All welcome!
In Antigone’s Claim (2000), Butler begins by outlining her assumption that the figure of Antigone may potentially point to an alternative to what she terms the growing feminist trend of ‘seek[ing] the backing and authority of the state to implement feminist policy aims.’ Yet Butler’s aims shift as she begins an engagement with the history of scholarship on Antigone, including Hegel, Lacan, Lévi-Strauss and others, who determine Antigone as the pre-social and pre-political embodiment of kinship relations definitively separated from the state. Butler disrupts the demarcation of kinship and state, rendering Antigone’s dual act of refusal – actual and linguistic – as one of both transgression and assimilation to highlight the entanglement of kinship relations and the polis. From this vantage point, Butler elaborates on the subversive potential of Antigone’s speech act as one that opens sedimented and ideal forms …

Save the Date: Guest Talk from Natalia Cecire 4th June

We're interrupting our steady stream of reading to announce that, for our penultimate seminar, we will be hosting a special guest lecture by Dr Natalia Cecire (University of Sussex). Dr Cecire will be discussing her ongoing research project, 'Quartz Contentment', details of which can be found on her website here:
The event will take place on Tuesday 4th Junefrom 5 - 7pm (location TBC). A wine reception will follow the Q&A session after Dr Cecire's paper.
We really look forward to welcoming Dr Cecire to the University of Leeds this coming June, and we hope as many of staff and students as possible will be able to make it. 
Further details about the paper itself and the location will be sent out in due course. In the meantime, save the date - it looks set to be a fascinating paper.

#9 The End of Sexual DIfference? - 09/05/2019

9 May | 5.00 - 6.30pm | Room 1, LAHRI (29-31 Clarendon Place) | All welcome!

In our first session of the new semester, we will be reading Butler’s essay ‘The End of SexualDifference?’, taken from Undoing Gender (2004), alongside James Penney’s introduction to his provocative polemic After Queer Theory (2014).
Undoing Gender collects together a series of essays in which Butler asks the ever-prescient question of how restrictively normative conceptions of gendered and sexual life might be ‘undone’. Utilising discourses of ‘undoing’ and ‘dispossession’, Butler (re)theorises the precarious ontology of gendered and sexual selves in Hegelian terms of recognition and desire. As she considers the issue of how the self is undone by its desire for the Other, she reflects on precisely what is claimed, and what is lost, in processes of gendered and sexual subjectification. Subjects covered in the essays range from gay marriage, norms of kinship and heterosexuality, to transgender, transsexual and i…

#8: Reading Butler through Berger with Professor Griselda Pollock

27 March | 5.00 - 6.30pm | Room 1, LAHRI (29-31 Clarendon Place) | All welcome!Guest Seminar from Griselda Pollock, and a Wine Reception
We are delighted to announce that, for our final session of the semester, we have invited Professor Griselda Pollock(School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds) to lead us through a reading of Anne Emmanuelle-Berger's The Queer Turn in Feminism: Identities, Sexualities, and the Theater of Gender (2014). In particular, we will be focusing on the final chapter in Berger's book, 'Roxana's Legacy: Feminism and Capitalism in the West'. Access to the pdf can be found here. In addition to this, Pollock has provided a reading guide to Berger's work, which can be downloaded here. Pollock's guide provides useful theoretical and historical context to Berger's arguments and her source material, so we recommend reading it alongside the chapter. 

Griselda Pollock is professor of Social and Critical …

#7: Gender is Burning - 06/03/2019

Wednesday 6 March | 5 - 6.30pm | LAHRI (29-31 Clarendon Place) | All welcome

For our third session of the semester, we will be reading Butler's fourth chapter from Bodies That Matter, 'Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion' (1993). In an analysis of of the legendary queer documentary Paris is Burning (dir. Jennie Livingston, 1990), Butler contests any assumed relation between drag and subversion. She uses the documentary as a touchstone for thinking about the ways in which drag performance risks reidealising certain gender, racial, and class norms - and for considering the subversive potential of the systems of kinship underpinning drag ball culture. Touching on issues such as spectatorship and fetishisation, Butler argues for the ambivalent modalities of power embedded in the queer subcultures of drag balls. 

A pdf of the chapter can be found here. Butler's chapter makes a number of important responses to negative criticisms of Paris is Burning, m…

#6: 'My life, your life, equality and the philosophy of non-violence' 13/02/2019

Wednesday 13 February | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI | All welcome

This semester’s second session will be a discussion of Butler’s Gifford lectures given at the University of Glasgow in October 2018. Entitled ‘My life, your life, equality and the philosophy of non-violence’, Butler’s lectures continue and develop her work on both precarity and grievability. Butler aims to uncover the mechanisms which define which life is determined as a life, which loss is registered as a loss. Critical of the myth of individualism and the concomitant notion of a subject-centred morality, Butler produces what she terms a ‘counter-fantasy’, an ethics that registers our mutual dependency and fundamental relationality. Butler’s notion of non-violence is not a call for pacificism, but rather an active and ‘aggressive’ response to the violent effects of contemporary biopolitical structures.

Our discussion will focus primarily, but will not be restricted to, Butler’s first and third Gifford lectures. We will also be rea…