Ewa Majewska is a feminist philosopher of culture. She studied Philosophy, French Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Since 2003 she has lectured at the Gender Studies at the University of Warsaw, after receiving her PhD in Warsaw, she was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (BBRG), working on theories of subjectivity and translation;  in the years 2011 – 2013 she was the Adiunct Professor in the Institute of Culture at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. In 2013/14 she was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna, Austria, in 2014-2016 she was a fellow at the ICI Berlin and between 2016-2019 – she was an adjunct Professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland.

She is the author of four books: Feminizm jako filozofia społeczna (2009), Sztuka jako pozór? Cenzura i inne formy upolitycznienia kultury (2013), Tramwaj zwany uznaniem. Feminizm isolidarność po neoliberalizmie (2017) and Kontrpubliczności ludowe ifeministyczne. Wczesna ‘Solidarność’ iCzarne Protesty (2018), and the co-editor of two volumes on neoliberalism and politics: Zniewolony umysł II. Neoliberalizm i jego krytycy (with Jan Sowa) and Futuryzm miast przemysłowych (with Kuba Szreder).Further publications include: A Bitter Victory? Anti-fascist Cultures, Institutions of the Common, and Weak Resistance in Poland, in: Third Text, (33/2019), ‘On Weak Resistance’, in: Praktyka Teoretyczna (2(32)/2019) (2/2019), ‘Feminism Will Not Be Televised’, in: e-flux (#92 – June 2018), ‘What Does She Still Want? Ophelia’s Madness as a Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere’ in: Zorkawollny.

Weak Resistance and its Implications for the Arts

ICI Affiliate Project 2019-20

This project explores the concept of weak resistance and examines its implications for the field of art. In the times of growing precarization, the forms of resistance to the neoliberal modes of exploitation, exclusion, and expropriation often take on the ordinary, everyday and common forms and references, rather than the until now hegemonic heroic formats of action. They often follow the feminist critique and re-appropriations of the everyday, the queer analysis of failure as a form of resistance, and the subaltern/decolonial resistance to the hegemonic Western normalcy. The project builds on previous work tracking the implications of this shift in the modes of resistance analyzed in political theory. But, as Jacques Rancière rightly argues, politics and art are just two aspects of the reconfigurations of the social, and hence the forms of resistance might have important implications for the field of art.

For art practice, the theory and history of the idea of the ‘avant-garde of the weak’ makes it possible to compose different temporalities and connections, in which what has until now been seen as heroic can also be perceived as weak, at least strategically. Following Boris Groys and his thoughts on ‘weak universalism’, the project asks whether a ‘weak avant-garde’ is possible and what its consequences might be for a feminist, queer, and decolonial art history and aesthetics. It also investigates the antifascist strategies of contemporary public art.

Chasing Europe,
or on the Semi-Peripheral Publics

ICI Project 2014-16

The semi-peripheral countries of the in-between economic and geopolitical zones are still perceived as following the core and cutting off from the peripheries (Wallerstein 2006, Spivak 1999). In my research I would like to undermine this logic and to look at the semi-peripheral states as errant and failing, becoming heterotopic sites of the utopian realized in existing conditions (Foucault, 1994; Deleuze and Guattari, 1980). The “Solidarność” workers union and the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, built in two semi-peripheral countries – Poland and South Africa – as forms of resisting the non-democratic regimes, will be discussed as examples of the public undermining the Western concepts of the public sphere and as inspirations for a decolonial, feminist theory of semi-peripheral public (Habermas, 1989; Fraser, 1990; Kluge, 1990).

In order to do so, we also need to look at the agency of these states as forms of a new division of the sensible, where the agency of the oppressed is not solely seen as result, but also as source of politics.