Spring Programme 2022

26th January

Professor Havi Carel (University of Bristol):  What is it to be vulnerabilised?  

This talk proposes the concept of vulnerabilisation to refine common talk of ‘vulnerability’. I introduce the concept and distinguish several ways individuals can be made vulnerable by interpersonal encounters and interactions with social structures. I then offer two concepts from contemporary philosophy of illness to help us understand the dynamics of vulnerabilisation: the structural phenomenon of ‘institutional opacity’ and the clusters of person-level failings we call ‘pathophobic vices’. I end by suggesting that these concepts can illuminate the dynamics of vulnerabilisation in ways that may be of use to philosophers of illness and disability.  

Havi Carel is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol and the author of Phenomenology of Illness (2016), Illness (2008, 2013, 2018 shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize), and of Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger (2006).

This talk will be a Zoom talk and will begin at 7 pm. If you want to join the meeting please email glosphilsoc@gmail.com who will send you the invitation.

23rd March

Professor Lisa Guenther (Queen’s University) Solitary Confinement and the Meaning of Existence.

The testimony of prisoners in solitary confinement shows that prolonged isolation has a profound effect on their sense of time, space, and identity, to the point of making some people feel like they no longer exist.  Why do we do this to people in the name of justice?  And what does this testimony teach us about what the meaning of existence? 

ALL WILL BE REVEALED in this informal chat.

Lisa Guenther is Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies. She is the author of Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives (2013) and The Gift of the Other: Levinas and the Politics of Reproduction (2007), and co-editor of Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration (2015) with Geoffrey Adelsberg and Scott Zeman. Recent publications include “Seeing Like a Cop: A Critical Phenomenology of Whiteness as Property” (in Race as Phenomena, 2019) and “Police, Drones, and the Politics of Perception” (in The Ethics of Policing, forthcoming).  As a public philosopher, Guenther’s work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Globe and MailAeon, and CBC’s Ideas. She was a member of the P4W Memorial Collective from 2018-21, and she worked with REACH Coalition in Nashville, Tennessee, from 2012-17. She is currently working on the relation between prison abolition and decolonization in the context of Canada and the United States. 

This talk will be a Zoom talk and will begin at 7 pm. If you want to join the meeting please email glosphilsoc@gmail.com who will send you the invitation.

April 6th

Dr Robert Booth (Liverpool Hope University) When Talk is not Cheap: Phenomenology and Environmental Activism.

COP 26 has been and gone, leaving, for many, something of a bitter taste in the mouth. Delegates failed to make good on Alok Sharma’s imperative to ‘consign coal to history’. Moreover, COP 26 perhaps signalled the death knell of our already slim hopes to limit global temperature increases to a level that avoids the catastrophic consequences of a ‘hothouse Earth’ trajectory which guarantees unprecedented fatalities and further global warming to come. This all sounds horrifying, but in an important sense, it is just business as usual: huge advances in our scientific understanding of the ‘issues’ constitutive of our environmental crisis just have not brought about the requisite attitudinal and behavioural changes to disrupt them at root. In this talk, with the help of the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, I pursue the suspicion that this disconnect between thought and action may be traced back, in part, to the violence already implicit in the limited and often dualistic models that natural scientists offer of those ‘issues’ in the first place. If tackling the behavioural and attitudinal violence of our crisis situation also requires tackling the conceptual violence implicit in the basic terms of debate, I will suggest, then, largely in virtue of the kind of critically self-reflexive mindset it demands, a specifically Merleau-Pontian ecophenomenology may have much to offer impactful and sustained environmental activism.

Dr Robert Booth is a Senior Professional Tutor in the School of Education at Liverpool Hope University. Most of his work asks how the respective theoretical insights of phenomenology, feminist theory, and new realism might helpfully reorient our approaches to various environmental and social problems. His most recent monograph Becoming a Place of Unrest: Environmental Crisis and Ecophenomenological Praxis is out now with Ohio University Press.

Meeting will begin at 7:15 pm in Rm HC203 on the FCH campus at the University of Gloucestershire.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s