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Reflections on Kinship Trouble

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
7 PM
Julius S. Held Auditorium, 304 Barnard Hall
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Contemporary theories of kinship in literature and psychoanalysis often seek recourse to Greek tragedy to confirm the definition of kinship. But a closer consideration of some Greek tragedy suggests that characters are regularly confused about who is related to whom, whether someone is one’s mother or father, or whether the beast that one has just killed is really one’s son. Although often mythological and phantasmagoric, plots such as those found in Euripides’ Bacchae suggest that kinships is a site of perpetual and consequential confusion. In that play, the queering of gender combines with kinship trouble to produce scenes of accidental murder and infinite remorse. Renowned scholar Judith Butler examines how we might seek recourse to this play to think about new forms of kinship, multiple parenting, and primary relations that exceed and confound both biological and marital bonds.

Apr. 18, 2012 - 7:00PM