04/03/20 - Laura McMahon, "Essential Insecurity: Humanism, Violence, and Political Action in Merleau-Ponty and Fanon"

Laura McMahon, "Essential Insecurity: Humanism, Violence, and Political Action in Merleau-Ponty and Fanon"
04/03/2020, 03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
April 03
2020/04/03 15:00
Friday, April 03, 2020
2020/4/3
03:00 PM
2020/4/3
04:30 PM

Drawing on philosophical resources from Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Frantz Fanon, this paper argues that a genuinely humanistic politics requires that we embrace our capacity to be transformed by our social and political encounters with others. However, much of contemporary political life is devoted instead to the misguided pursuit of security. Part One of this paper explores the special kind of violence enacted by the quest for security on the part of nominally liberal political regimes, engaging predominantly with Merleau-Ponty’s 1947 Humanism and Terror. Part Two articulates a politics of vulnerability, rather than security, through the analysis of two cases from the Algerian War of Independence, engaging with Fanon’s analyses in A Dying Colonialism (1959) as well as more recent historical and sociological sources. Part Three engages with Merleau-Ponty’s work on perceptual norms in order to argue that we can only politically realize humanistic values by developing a virtuosic capacity to see what the situation calls for, allowing us to draw in creative ways on the resources of unchosen, shared, and often oppressive situations in ways that enable rather than disable the possibility for human relations.

Location

Mathematics and Science Center

Room 143

146 Library Drive

Rochester , MI 48309-4479


Contact Information
Joshua Blanchard