Dina Al-Kassim & Erin Soros: October 15th & 16th

Two exciting talks coming up at TIA House!

Dina Al-Kassim, Monday, October 15, 1-3pm 

Baring It All? The Limits of Naked Protest

The sovereign’s obscenity knows no bounds, but what understanding might we glean from his mirror image in postfeminist performance and resistance?

Departing from Proudhon’s anti-feminist treatise on the dangers of expanded suffrage and representative democracy when granted to women, the term “pornocracy” might be remobilized to describe the nexus of hypersexual publicity and wanton defiance of democratic forms – Strauss-Kahn, Putin, Berlusconi, Trump, Kavanaugh – enabled by the privatization of public goods today. In this light the claims of postfeminism to sovereign choice and public exposure, as exemplified by the protest-for-hire group Femen, emerge as so many stations in the restricted economy of “commandment” examined by Achilles Mbembe as an “aesthetics of vulgarity” in the postcolony where obscenity greases the wheels of local logics and value’s circuits. Giorgio Agamben’s genealogy of the emergence of identity-without-the-person offers a persuasive account of the desire to be recognized that drives the circuit of celebrity. Yet this account fails to register commandment’s passions, its aesthetics of vulgarity. If postfeminist nudity reflects the pornocrat’s obscenity, both insist upon sovereign subjectivity as the condition of the only life worth living. What are the stakes of the body in these circuits of vulgarity? How is the avant-garde gesture commanded in today’s pornocratic state?

Erin Soros, Tuesday, October 16, 1-3pm

“Eyes, Birds, Walnuts, Pennies”: Trauma and Testimony

The phone rings, and no one speaks. All you hear is someone breathing.

It happens again, and again—then there are the e-mails, the innuendoes just skirting the explicit.

Or the phone rings and this time he says what he will do.    

There are gifts too, left on the doorstep, at the workplace, in the hardware store around the corner. 

Housewarming, he says. 

A hybrid creative-critical performance, “Eyes, Birds, Walnuts, Pennies” attends to the psychological effects of criminal harassment—otherwise known as stalking—and the vertiginous extremes of language that can occur in response and in resistance to the threat of sexual violence, an assault that does and does not take place, a dreaded future that can at any moment arrive.

Dina Al-Kassim researches political subjectivation, sexuality, and aesthetics in global avant-gardes, transnational modernist and contemporary postcolonial cultures. She is the author of On Pain of Speech: Fantasies of the First Order and the Literary Rant (University of California Press, 2010). Her publications have appeared in Camera AustriaTransStudies Quarterly, Grey Room, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, International Journal of Middle East StudiesPublic Culture, and Cultural Dynamics. She is jointly appointed in the Department of English and The Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (CA). 

Erin Soros has published fiction and nonfiction in international journals and her stories have been produced for the CBC and BBC as winners of the CBC Literary Award and the Commonwealth Award for the Short Story. Her articles weaving psychoanalysis, philosophy and narrative have appeared in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, The Journal of Intercultural Studies, The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, and The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, with new work in Literatures of Madness and in Women and the Psychosocial Construction of Madness. She has been a visiting writer at four universities, most recently Cambridge, and has just finished a position as an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. 

 The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing                                               Social Sciences Tower 1059, University of Calgary                                                       2500 University Drive NW

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