Elaine Stavro Distinguished Visiting Scholar 

The Elaine Stavro Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Theory, Politics & Gender Studies was created to introduce Trent students to leading speakers in humanities and social sciences and significantly build on the University's reputation for interdisciplinary programs. The Visiting Scholar will provide students, faculty and members of the community with exceptional access to eminent scholars and people engaged in theory, politics and gender studies.  

Toward a Democratic Theory of Contagion

Dr. Bonnie Honig

Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of MCM and Political Science, Brown University 

A picture of Bonnie Honig

Noting that some texts of refusal feature centrally a contagion, this talk asks whether refusal is itself contagious. Three models of contagion are identified and the politics of their containment are analyzed in the Greek tragedy, the Bacchae, the film The Fits, and John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. The backdrop is the nearly lost concept of performativity as inaugural speech-action (JL Austin, How to do Things with Words), and Eve Sedgwick’s contribution to it of “deformativity” - a specific kind of speech act that is sexually shaming, aiming to control the spread of queerness lest it catches on.

Date: Monday, September 19, 2022
Time: 7:00 p.m. 
Venue - The Gathering Space, Gzowski College/Enwayaang Room 102

Watch the recording of the lecture

About Dr. Bonnie Honig

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University. In 2017-2018, she was Interim Director of the Pembroke Center and served as the Inaugural Carl Cranor Phi Beta Kappa Scholar. Currently an affiliate of the Digital Democracy Institute at Simon Fraser University and the American Bar Foundation, Chicago, her work in democratic and feminist theory studies the cultural politics of immigration (Democracy and the Foreigner, Princeton, 2001), emergency (Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy, Princeton 2009), mourning (Antigone, Interrupted, Cambridge, 2013) and the democratic politics of refusal (A Feminist Theory of Refusal, Harvard, 2021). Her book Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017) came out days after Trump’s 2017 inauguration and her first piece of public writing about that presidency, “The President’s House is Empty,” appeared on that inauguration day in the Boston Review. A collection of her public writing, Shell Shocked: Feminist Criticism After Trump appeared with Fordham in 2021.

For more information, contact Babin Joy, babinjoy@trentu.ca.