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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Alterity, Intersubjectivity, Ethics: A multi-disciplinary workshop - September 2013 - University of Cambridge

Call for registration

Alterity, Intersubjectivity, Ethics: A multi-disciplinary workshop,
Division of Social Anthropology
University of Cambridge

Monday, 30 September, 2013

Alterity, Intersubjectivity, Ethics: A multi-disciplinary workshop exploring
theoretical directions for the study of ethics and morality

Monday 30th September 2013, 9am – 5pm

Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, University of Cambridge

8 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX

Website and registration:


The 'ethical turn' across the arts and humanities has taken its place in
social and cultural anthropology primarily as a way to address
long-standing questions of human agency within cultural and political
systems. Anthropologists have been developing their own take on questions
of ethics and morality in ways drawing largely from neo-Aristotelian and
Foucauldian theorisations.

Theories of subjectivity, gendered or sexual difference, affect, and the
'post-human' have become prominent in investigations that question the
bounds of the self/subject, and the ways in which we can conceptualise it
as socially or politically emplaced. Building on this emerging literature,
but cautious of some of its ontological assumptions, the premise behind
this workshop questions the prioritisation of certain notions of the
'self' over inquiries into the nature of the ethical 'subject'.

This workshop seeks to ask what such theories, and different disciplines'
elaborations and critiques of them, can usefully lend current
conceptualisations of ethics and morality.

The keynote lecture entitled 'Attunement, Fidelity, Dwelling: A Critique of
Metaphysical Humanism' will be delivered by Associate Professor Jarrett
Zigon of the University of Amsterdam.

Workshop format:

The aim of the workshop is primarily to exchange ideas across disciplines
and with different theoretical and ethnographic references. The day is
structured so as to promote as much discussion as possible, rather than
presenting polished research results. The workshop will be divided into
four thematic sessions addressing the themes of:

• Feminism and the question of the other

• Ethics, violence and politics

• Post-humanism and animal/human relations

• Affect and the ethics of noise

Each of the four sessions will be structured around a research paper, to be
pre-circulated to all workshop participants, which will form the starting
point for the discussion.

Workshop preparation

After registering participants will receive drafts of the research papers in
advance for each of the four sessions and are strongly encouraged to read
these prior to attending the workshop. The workshop welcomes participants
across academic disciplines keen to engage in lively discussions and raise
questions and ideas during the day.

Questions to be discussed during the workshop:

• What analysis of attachments and detachments across sameness and
difference do
concepts such as affect enable or disable?

• What are the challenges to more recent feminist theories that attempt to
show how ethics is suggested and solicited by an ontology of
interdependency between people?

• How do lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex subjectivities
complicate ethical and political responses to deeply ingrained normative

• In light of the central place of 'the Other' in anthropological
concerns, how can feminist and other theories of alterity inflect
anthropological theories of ethics?

• How do questions of politics enter into, impact upon, or undermine our
theorisations of the ethical?

• Can claims of relationality and acknowledgment of difference be shown to
be fundamentally non-violent? How do we continue to address violence
within ethics?

• How can psychoanalytic theories addressing subject/object, or self/other,
relations, help us to theorise the space in which ethical subjectivity is

• Do contemporary theories of affect push us beyond concepts of
'relationality' or
'intersubjectivity' in theorisations of ethics?

• Can Levinasian theories of ethics as the pre-subjective relation to the
Other inform ethnographic inquiries into ethical relationality?

• What other approaches from philosophy or other disciplines can inform
the study of ethics and morality?

• Do these theoretical approaches invite us to question the idea of
intersubjectivity as the place of ethical relationality?

To learn more and to register please visit

Supported by the Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Conference organisers:

Fiona Wright

Claire Benn

Eirini Avramopoulou

Tiffany Page

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