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Rethinking the Biopolitical Turn: from the Thanatopolitical to the Geneapolitical Paradigm

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 5:00pm, Rockefeller Hall, Room 300

Chiara Bottici
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, New School for Social Research in New York

Western philosophy has consistently privileged death over birth as the defin-ing moment of our existential condition. Bottici argues that both Foucault’s and Agamben’s biopolitical model is entrenched in this tradition and is thus intrinsi-cally “thanatopolitical.” But what if birth had both an ontological and a political priority over death? Ontological because we die only as a consequence of having been born, and political because, while we may die alone, we are always born in the company of somebody else. If human beings are conceived as beings-after-birth, a different perspective emerges. In this lecture, Bottici argues that we can discuss it along “geneapolitical” lines.