The Evidence of Plasticity: A Workshop with Catherine Malabou (Durham University, January 26-27, 2016)

January 26th:
The Evidence of Plasticity: A Workshop with Catherine Malabou
Sponsored by Digital Studies, CHI and the IAS.

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14.00-16.30 – papers, plus responses from Catherine Malabou:

  • Ian James (Cambridge), ‘The Place of the Void’
  • Sofia Ropek-Hewson (Cambridge), ‘Brains, Pills and Dildos: Activating Neuroplasticity through Pharmacology and Prosthetics’
  • Maria El-Turk (Durham) ‘Plastic Reading of the 17th Century’.
  • Gerald Moore (Durham) ‘History as the History of Addictions: Culture, Plasticity and the Dopamine System’

16.45-18.00 – Roundtable on the ‘evidence of plasticity’, led by Catherine Malabou.

Located at Durham University, Williams Room, St Chad’s
Contact Gerald Moore
for details about this event.


January 27th
Durham Castle Lecture Series: Great Hall, Durham Castle

19.30  Catherine Malabou, “The Anthropocene: A New History”

Professor Malabou will interrogate the notion of “Anthropocene” as a specific temporal determination situated at the boarder of nature and history. The Anthropocene is both a geological era and a historical moment. Clearly, such a phenomenon requires a new concept of history, in which nature plays a central role, and ceases to be the eternal recurrence of the identical to become a genuine source of events. A phenomenon like global warming can thus be analysed as a historical turn of nature. New notions like deep history, negative universal history, neurohistory, are currently be used by historians, theoreticians of environment, and evolutionary biologists. She will propose a philosophical approach to these new determinations.

Biography: Malabou graduated from the École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines (Fontenay-Saint-Cloud). Her agrégation and doctorate were obtained, under the supervision of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Her dissertation became the book, L’Avenir de Hegel:Plasticité, Temporalité, Dialectique (1996). Central to Malabou’s philosophy is the concept of ‘plasticity’, which she derives in part from the work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and from medical science, for example, from work on stem cells and from the concept of neuroplasticity. Malabou is preparing a new book on the political meaning of life in the light of the most recent biological discoveries. This work will discuss Giorgio Agamben’s concept of ‘bare life’ and Michel Foucault’s notion of biopower, underscoring the lack of scientific biological definitions of these terms, and the political meaning of such a lack.

This lecture is free, and open to all. No tickets or registration are required. Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Contact Durham Castle Lecture Series for more information about this event.

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