Broadcast: Tuesday 23rd June 2009.
The guests were Alex Douglas, Ben Dawson and Matt Wraith.
In a continuation of the discussion on States of Exception we reconvened the panel, for the large part, to reconsider what role liberalism may play in our understanding of governmentality. Is there such a thing as a political liberalism divorced from ideology, and if there is, can it give us a sense of what freedom looks like?
The show was hosted by Seph Rodney.
Drawing on recent theorisations of the biopolitical, and responding to a new vitalism in much contemporary philosophy, Ben Dawson’s PhD investigates the allegation that, in modernity, ‘life’ is immediately politics, and focuses on connections in the late eighteenth century between the evolving discourse of rights, physical and metaphysical conceptions of the ‘vivifying principle’, and the ‘birth of biopolitics’.
Matthew Wraith studied English Literature at Glasgow University graduating in 2002. He went on to do a Masters in Modern and Contemporary English Literature at Birkbeck, writing his dissertation on Waste in Modernism under the supervision of Steven Connor. He also worked for Roger Graef’s documentary production company Films of Record. He has taught English in the Basque Country, Istanbul and, most recently, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. At the Consortium, he is writing about the phenomenology of 20th Century urban experience, looking at the how the city engages the different bodily senses and how they relate to theories of consciousness, the mind and the brain – the mind in the city and the mind as a city. He views the sensations of city life not through the customary notions of sensory overload but through less common notions of sensory restriction and prohibition: untouchability, deafness, blindness and visual limitation generally. He would like to examine these ideas through a range of twentieth century philosophy, literature and film. He has recently been offered the chance to pursue the last of these further through working as a researcher for a Film London documentary biopic of Derek Jarman.