Posts

Showing posts from 2019

5: Guest Seminar with Dr. Nicholas Ray (and wine!)

Image
11 Dec | 5.00-7:00 pm | Seminar Room 1, 3:01, Clothworkers South Building

We are excited to announce that our fifth session of the year, and final session of the Autumn term, will be lead by Dr. Nicholas Ray. Dr Ray is a lecturer in Critical and Cultural theory at the University of Leeds, with expertise in Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the intersections of psychoanalysis and culture, and translation. In particular, Dr. Ray's research has been, and continues to be, influenced by the writings of French psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche.
In this special session, Dr. Ray will guide our discussion of a chapter from Kristeva's Étrangers à nous-mêmes (1988), translated into English as Strangers to Ourselves (1991). In this text Kristeva tackles the figure of the stranger - the foreigner or alien in a land not their own, as well as the strangeness within the self. We will also be reading 'Hostipitality' (2000) by Jacques Derrida, in which he considers the hosti…

4: Powers of Vomit

Image
26 Nov | 5.00-6.30pm | The Pack Horse, Upstairs Room, Woodhouse Lane

Please note the change of day and location for this session. In support of UCU strike action, our meeting will take place off campus at The Pack Horse pub on Woodhouse Lane, and we encourage all attendees to avoid crossing picket lines wherever possible.

For our fourth session of the year we will be reading 'Approaching Abjection', the first chapter of Kristeva's (arguably) most well-known text,Powers of Horror (1982), published in French as Pouvoirs de l'horreur (1980). In this text Kristeva theorises the abject and its associated affect, abjection. Drawing upon the scholarship of Georges Bataille and Mary Douglas, among others, and working within a Lacanian psychoanalytic framework, Kristeva interrogates the abject as 'the jettisoned object, [that which] is radically excluded and draws me toward the place where meaning collapses' (2). Kristeva's theorisation of the abject has been hugely…

3: Let's Get Semiotic

Image
6 Nov | 5.00-6.30pm | Seminar Room 1, 3:01, Clothworkers South Building
For our third session of the year, we will be reading a selection of extracts from Revolution in Poetic Language(1984) [the reading is pages 1-53 of the pdf, the rest is translator's notes], the English translation of La révolution du langage poétique (1974). This reading will build upon the discussion in our last session, as we consider in greater detail Kristeva's theorisation of the semiotic and the symbolic, the chora, the thetic function, mimesis, and the semiotic component of poetic language. This week we won't be reading any secondary literature, allowing us time to get into the real nitty gritty of Kristeva's thought.

As always, all are welcome and discussion will continue in the pub following the session.

2: Language, Bodies and Drives

Image
16 Oct | 5.00–6.30pm | Seminar Room 1, 3:01, Clothworkers South Building
For our second meeting, Quilting Points will be reading Julia Kristeva’s ‘From One Identity to Another’ (1975), alongside Judith Butler’s ‘The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva’ (1988). Kristeva’s essay sets out many of the defining ideas of her early period—the subject-in-process, chora and the distinction between the semiotic and the symbolic—in order to characterise what is in her view the privileged access of poetic language to primordial and prediscursive drives.
Butler’s essay, later included in what remains her most well-known work, Gender Trouble (1990), takes ‘From One Identity to Another’, alongside other texts from the period, as its object of critique. Butler raises questions regarding not only the logical consistency of Kristeva’s theories, but also the political ramifications of those theories.
All are welcome, and as always discussion will continue in the pub following the session.

1: Introducing Julia Kristeva

Image
2 Oct | 5.00-6.30pm | Seminar Room 1, 3:01, Clothworkers South Building
For our first session of the year we will discuss the trajectory of Julia Kristeva's academic and political career, as represented in her own words in 'My Memory's Hyperbole' (1984). In this autobiographical essay, Kristeva charts her entry into the francophone intelligentsia, her experiences with the Tel Quel group, her engagement with radical politics in France, her 1974 trip to China, and her turn towards America.
In addition, we will also discuss Toril Moi's introduction to French feminist theory and her exposition of Kristeva's work, as found in Sexual/Textual Politics (1985).
All are welcome, and as always discussion will continue in the pub following the session.

Reading Julia Kristeva 2018-19

Image
Quilting Points 2019-20: Reading Julia Kristeva

We are pleased to announce the return of Quilting Points, at interdisciplinary critical and cultural theory reading group at the University of Leeds, for its eight consecutive year. The directors for this year are Sam Ross (School of PRHS), Izzy Jenkinson (School of English), and Sam Ridout (School of Music).

This year we will be reading and reflecting on the work of Bulgarian-French philosopher, cultural theorist, semiotician, psychoanalyst, novelist, and communist spy (!?) Julia Kristeva.

In our first session, on the 2nd October, we will read Kristeva's 1984 essay "My Memory's Hyperbole", in which she tracks her own academic and political trajectory, alongside two extracts from Toril Moi's Sexual/Textual Politics (1985), in which she provides an introduction to French feminist thought and Kristeva's feminist work respectively.

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

Image
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 (https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/english-research-innovation/doc/american-studies-research-group-1). 
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

Image
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: http://natalia.cecire.org/research/
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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…

#5: Frames of War 23/01/2019

Wednesday 23 January | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI | All welcome 
A Happy New(ish) Year from Quilting Points! We have a few changes to announce. Firstly, our sessions will now take place on Wednesday evenings (23 January, 13 February, 6 March and 27 March). Secondly, and more excitingly, this semester’s programme includes the following two special events: Film Screening, 27 February: Paris Is Burning (a collaboration with Leeds Cineforum)Guest Seminar, 27 March: Griselda Pollock on Anne Emmanuelle Berger’s The Queer Turn in Feminism: Identities, Sexualities, and the Theatre of GenderThe first session of the semester will take place on Wednesday 23 January. We will be reading from Butler’s ‘Torture and the Ethics of Photography: Thinking with Sontag’ from Frames of War(2009). Written as a critical response to Sontag’s On Regarding the Pain of Others, the essay uses the Abu Ghraib torture photographs to ask whether Sontag is correct to argue that photography has lost its power to incite an ethical …