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Institute of Advanced Study

Abjection, Bare Life and Dehumanisation Workshops

This programme of work focuses on the different ways in which human life is damaged, destroyed and abandoned. It addresses three interlinked problematics. First is the question of how to understand processes of de-humanisation. Participants in this programme will examine the theoretical vocabularies required to understand suffering, loss, harm, damage and pain, and use them to develop specific concepts such as ‘bare life' and ‘abjection'. Second, they will ask, using visual media such as photography, how processes of de-humanisation - particularly those associated with suffering - are witnessed and whether they might be witnessed otherwise. Third, they will consider how it is possible to sustain qualities of humanness in the face of processes of dehumanisation. Here the focus will be on practices and ethics of generosity, affirmation and vitality, as well as on various legal apparatuses for sustaining humanness. These three ethical and political problematics are addressed across three workshops with reference to substantive work on a range of contemporary issues, including militarisation (specifically the ‘war on terror'), colonialisation, new technologies and urban infrastructure.

11 February 2009, Room 206, Elvet Riverside

2.15pm - 5.15pm
Witnessing Dehumanisation


6 March 2009, Derman Christopherson Room, Calman Learning Centre

10.00am - 5.00pm
Dehumanisation Workshop 


24 June 2009, Derman Christopherson Room, Calman Learning Centre

10.00 - 5.00pm
Sustaining Humanness: Affirmative Critique


The first and third workshops are for internal participants only. The second workshop is open to all.  All three workshops are free to attend. To register for these events or for more information, please contact Dr Ben Anderson or Professor Andrea Noble.