Revolutionary constitution-making in the 18th century U.S. is described as an “outbreak” by Hannah Arendt. This talk looks at the power of contagion in democratic theory, focusing on the idea of democratic contagion and on efforts in political theory and popular culture to contain it from John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice to Euripides’ Bacchae to the recent film, The Fits, (2015, dir Holmer). The talk follows Hortense Spillers to consider U.S. constitutionalism not as a contagion of writing, as Arendt says, but as a virus that may be subject to mutations better able to shape and serve the body politic in the future.
Professor Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University. She is author of several books, including: 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), Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017), A Feminist Theory of Refusal (Harvard, 2021) and Shell Shocked: Feminist Criticism After Trump (Fordham, 2021)
The Lecture will be hosted by the School of Law, Gender, and Media at SOAS, University of London
Venue: Senate House Alumni Lecture Theatre, Room 110, Paul Webley Wing, SOAS, University of London WC1H 0XG
Time: 6.00-700pm, 27th May 2020