Woodrow Wilson

Department of Politics

Political Theory Colloquium 2016

Ayten Gondogdu, Barnard College

Presentation Title: Between the Human and the Person: A Critical Inquiry into the Subject of Rights

Start Date: 12-02-2016

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: Gibson S296

Details:

Discussant: Andrew Gates

Abstract

Between the Human and the Person: A Critical Inquiry into the Subject of Rights

Historically, various categories of human beings (e.g. slaves, women) were denied personhood; not every member of the human species was considered to be a rights-bearing subject. We have come to see these exclusions as unacceptable prejudices of a bygone era particularly with the rise of a human rights framework that establishes each human being as a person entitled to a set of fundamental, inalienable rights. The peculiar formula of “the human person,” inscribed in many human rights documents, suggests that personhood has finally become coextensive with humanity. Engaging with the works of Hannah Arendt and Roberto Esposito, this presentation takes issue with some of the widely shared assumptions about personhood, especially the idea that personhood is a universally shared and inherently given human attribute. It highlights how this legal artifact continues to be characterized by hierarchies and remains to be elusive for many groups–a problem that exposes us once again to the gap between “the human” and “the person.”

Bio
Ayten Gündoğdu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College-Columbia University. Her research draws on the resources of modern and contemporary political theory for the purposes of addressing problems related to human rights, migration, citizenship, and sovereignty. She is the author of Rightlessness in an Age of Rights: Hannah Arendt and the Contemporary Struggles of Migrants (Oxford University Press, 2015; Yale Ferguson Award, ISA-Northeast; ISA Theory Honorable Mention). The book offers a critical inquiry of human rights by rethinking Arendt’s key concepts and arguments in light of contemporary phenomena such as immigration detention, deportation, refugee encampment, and struggles for regularization. She is currently working on a new project that examines how the concept of “the human person” figures in the human rights discourse, attending to its violent exclusions as well as inventive reappropriations.

 

Mike Signer

Presentation Title: Of Demagogues, Statesmen, and Constitutionalism: Lessons for Democracy from the 2016 Election

Start Date: 11-11-2016

Start Time: 12:00

End Time: 1:30

Location: Gibson 296

Details: 

Special Event – Lecture Format
“Since its inception, democracy has faced threats from within.  Michael Signer’s books have addressed two different forms of this pathology.  Demagogue examines instances when the people choose  to cast their lot with a predatory mass leader or demagogue, who in turn can become tyrannical.  Becoming Madison examines the abandonment of responsibility by democratic leaders, exploring the career and thought of young James Madison, and his rivalry with Patrick Henry, as a case study in the statesmanship so central to constitutional democracy.  In his talk, Signer will address both the demagogue and the statesman’s relationship to democratic constitutionalism both in his work and as illuminated by the 2016 presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

Bio
Michael Signer is a lecturer at the University of Virginia, where he teaches in both the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics; Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, a triple-A bond rated city of nearly 50,000 frequently rated as one of America’s best places to live; and Managing Principal of Madison Law & Strategy Group, PLLC, where he practices corporate and regulatory law. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from U.C., Berkeley, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law; and a B.A. in politics, magna cum laude, from Princeton University. He previously served as counsel to Governor Mark Warner of Virginia, chief national security advisor to the 2008 John Edwards for President campaign, and senior policy advisor at the Center for American Progress. He was a 2009 candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia. He is the author of Demagogue: the Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies (Palgrave Macmillan 2009) and Becoming Madison: the Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father (PublicAffairs 2015).  His writing has appeared in The University of Richmond Law Review, Democracy & Society, Dissent, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, The Atlantic, The Washington Post,USA Today, and The New Republic. He has been interviewed by The New York Times¸ USA Today, NPR’s Morning Edition, MSNBC, Fox News, and the BBC.  He lives with his wife and twin boys in Charlottesville.

 

Joel Schlosser, Bryn Mawr College

Presentation Title: Herodotean Materialism

Start Date: 10-28-2016

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: Gibson 296

Details: 

Discussant: George Klosko

 

Adom Getachew, University of Chicago

 

Roxanne Euben, Wellesley College

 

Heath Fogg Davis

Start Date: 01-29-2016

Start Time: 10:00

End Time: 12:00

Location: Gibson 296

 

Jennifer Pitts, University of Chicago

Start Date: 03-18-2016

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: Gibson 296

 

Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania

Start Date: 05-06-2016

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: Gibson 296