How would political responses to public problems change were we to take seriously the agency of nonhuman bodies? Bennett grants such bodies the capacity to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence or vitality. Drawing on a tradition extending from Spinoza to Serres, Bennett develops the conceptual vocabulary for a political ecology of things. How might we render the self more susceptible to the non-linguistic communicability between vibrant materials? In her talk, Bennett examines what hoarders, as people preternaturally attuned to things, have to teach us. She will follow the tangled threads that link nonhuman bodies, human selves, and the agentic assemblages they form.
Jane Bennett is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches political theory and American political thought. Her recent publications include Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke, 2010), essays on the poet Walt Whitman’s notion of “solar judgment” and on Michel Serres’s notion of time, and The Enchantment of Modern Life (Princeton, 2001). She is a founding member of the journal theory & event, and is currently working on a project on over-consumption and practices of hoarding.
Introduction by Christine Hentschel
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