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Society for the Humanities Presents: Bonnie Honig

Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 4:30pm to 5:30pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, Lewis Auditorium
232 East Ave, Central Campus

Society for the Humanities presents a public lecture by one of our 2018-19 Invited Society Scholars, Bonnie Honig.  Co-sponsored by Cornell Jewish Studies.

Bartleby or the Bacchae? Toward a Feminist Theory of Refusal

“Where’s your spine?” we often say to those who seem to lack moral ‘backbone’. How do such vertical metaphors limit and drive our imagination of refusal? Drawing on Adriana Cavarero’s work, Inclinations, this lecture develops a postural analysis of refusal in Antigone, the Bacchae, Thoreau’s “Walking", and Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Madonna. Cavarero promotes inclination (leaning in) as the posture of maternal care for her ethics and politics. This lecture pluralizes the feminist subject position of inclination to include sorority, as well, and argues that the refusals we find in maternal and sororal care express not only love but rage, and promise not only the holding of community but also the dismemberment of revolution and new beginning.

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor in the depts. of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University. She is author of Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell, 1993), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton, 2009), Antigone, Interrupted (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair, (Fordham University Press, 2017). She has edited or co-edited: Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt (Penn State, 1995), Skepticism, Individuality and Freedom: The Reluctant Liberalism of Richard Flathman (Minnesota, 2002) the Oxford Handbook of Political Thought (Oxford, 2006) and, most recently, Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016). She is currently at work on a project called Theaters of Refusal,  delivered as the Flexner lectures at Bryn Mawr College and to be published by Harvard University Press. 


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Society for the Humanities


cascal, cashum, sochum, jwstcal


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Kina Viola


Bonnie Honig

Speaker Affiliation

Brown University

Disability Access Information

Auditorium is ADA accessible - for any questions and concerns regarding accessibility, please contact


Reception at the A.D. White House following the lecture is free & open to the public.

Open To

General Public

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