Abstract

Seminariet i feministisk kontinentalfilosofi i Stockholm: Margrit Shildrick
Margrit Shildrick - Rethinking the temporality and imaginaries of death.

My presentation will offer a philosophical examination of living well with the dead by looking at the issue of spectrality through the work of Derrida and others. What does it mean to respond to the dead, who, though temporarily forgotten, return to haunt us not as remembered human beings but as remnants or remainders? The distinctions between past and present; past, present and future; between living and non-living; absence and presence; and self and other are all made indistinct when the chrononormativity of the life course from being born to dying is displaced by a non-linear temporality. Taking as my reference point the recent public revulsion in the face of disclosures about Ireland’s uncared-for dead, and particularly those of Mother and Baby Homes, I ask  what differential is in play with respect to those who are grievable ( as Butler has it) and the others – the abandoned mothers and babies – who constitute bare life (Agamben)?

The re/discovery of those lost to public discourse invokes a new sense of civic obligation to recover their voices and stories, and then to rebury them so that they (or rather we) may rest in peace. I will suggest first that such a strategy simply re-enacts the original offence and fails on the grounds of both responsibility and justice. An alternative hauntological ethics, as developed by Derrida, is one way forward in suggesting that there are social imaginaries that allow us to live well with the dead not because we give them respect, but because death itself has been rethought. Going further, I will close with some speculations arising from Deleuze’s understanding of vitalism and Braidotti’s optimistic claim that ‘death frees us into life’.

Date: December 7th, 13-15.00
Location: Stockholm University, room D4110 (located in the corridor between House D and E, 4th floor)

Welcome!

Ulrika Björk, Lisa Folkmarson Käll & Ina Hallström