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Talk: "'Interior Frontiers': As Political Concept, Diagnostic, and Dispositif" by Ann Laura Stoler

Nicholson Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture

This lecture considers the concept of “interior frontiers” (originally used by the German philosopher Johan Fichte in 1803) with respect to its quixotic political qualities: as a concept alert to the sorts of sensibilities that get recruited to produce hardening distinctions between who is “us” and who is construed as “them”; as a diagnostic of where and how sites of anxious over-identification emerge, and as a dispositif, central to the discriminations and visceral charge on which racialized governance depends.

About Ann Laura Stoler

Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research. Stoler is the director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry. She taught at the University of Michigan from 1989–2003 and has been at the New School for Social Research since 2004, where she was the founding chair of its revitalized Anthropology Department. She has worked for some thirty years on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, the sexual politics of empire, and ethnography of the archives. She is the recipient of NEH, Guggenheim, NSF, SSRC, and Fulbright awards, among others.

Her books include Capitalism and Confrontation in Sumatra’s Plantation Belt, 1870–1979 (1985; 1995), Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (1995), Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (2002, 2010), Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (2009), and the edited volumes Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (with Frederick Cooper, 1997), Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (2006), Imperial Formations (with Carole McGranahan and Peter Perdue, 2007), and Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (2013). Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times is forthcoming from Duke University Press. Her commitment to joining conceptual and historical research has lead to collaborative work with historians, literary scholars and philosophers, and most recently in the creation of the journal Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon, of which she is one of the founding editors.

This event is organized by Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory (external link).

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