Gender Talk Series: Narrating Relational Uniqueness…


Prof. Fanny Söderbäck
Narrating Relational Uniqueness: Adriana Cavarero’s Narrative Theory and Saidiya Hartman’s Critical Fabulation

This talk draws from Italian feminist philosopher’s Adriana Cavarero’s narrative theory to examine the work of feminists of color who engage in practices of self-narration and critical re-writing of the archives of Black life in the wake of slavery.

Cavarero controversially argues that we are incapable of telling our own story, and thus always depend on others to narrate our lives. I begin by elucidating the importance of Cavarero’s narrative theory for developing a framework for understanding selfhood in relational terms. Next, I put critical pressure on Cavarero’s dismissal of autobiography by way of looking specifically at practices of self-writing in women of color’s attempts to affirm relational and interdependent aspects of identity. Finally, I turn specifically to Saidiya Hartman’s concept critical fabulation, reading it as an example of the kind of relational narrative that Cavarero seeks to promote in her work.
I suggest that Hartman, like Cavarero, ventures to trace the contours of the extraordinary singularity of the women whose lives she narrates in her work – lives that would have been rendered invisible and silent had it not been for her insistence on putting them into what she calls a counter-narrative. My hope is to open avenues for relating the narratives of these distant traditions, through their shared commitment to relational conceptions of selfhood and their mutual desire to narrate history – and histories – otherwise.

Fanny Söderbäck is Associate Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University and the co-founder and co-director of the Kristeva Circle. She will soon be joining the Department of Philosophy at Södertörns Högskola. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research. She is the author of Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray (SUNY Press, 2019). She has edited Feminist Readings of Antigone (SUNY Press, 2010) and is a co-editor of the volume Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). She is currently working on a book project on Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, in which she puts her work into conversation with queer and trans theories as well as Latinx, Black, and decolonial feminisms to re-envision selfhood and human relations through the framework of singularity (forthcoming with SUNY Press).

Please register for this event to receive the Zoom link: [email protected] by November 13th.

Gender Talk Series and KUFO: Fanny Söderbäck: Narrating Relational Uniqueness…
KL. 13:15
Evenemang av CGF – Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University, SE

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