Sarah Burgess, “The Scandal of Identity, or How to Make a Scene”

Posted On April 16, 2019
Categories Uncategorized

The students of the Center for Ethics Student Forum and Phi Sigma Tau Zeta(GA), plus the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics, are delighted to announce this upcoming talk by Sarah Burgess (Department of Philosophy, University of San Francisco):

“The Scandal of Identity, or How to Make a Scene”

Abstract: Through a reading of the Supreme Court’s 2013 case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, this talk argues that ethical demands for recognition articulated in terms of identity falter, not simply because identity is restrictive and regulative (as we have well learned), but because identity claims operate as rhetorical tropes that stake or demarcate the scene of address in and through which they become intelligible. Contemporary social movements that rest the ability to claim rights or find a voice on identity, as well as the institutions that assert their sovereign right to legislate such demands, are thus marked by what I call the “imperialism of the turn,” the often problematic and sometimes violent way that identity forecloses scenes that might reveal or revel in the contingency of (this) identity. Attention to the scene of address as something other than the given, stable place where we might articulate oppositional arguments opens a way for us to re-imagine how we might create the conditions for justice by scandalizing identity—making a scene that accounts for the conditions in which we might hear and address one another.

F 4/19, 3:00-4:30 PM, 25 Park Place NE, 16th floor conference room.

Free and open to public.