The Use and Abuse of "Identity": A Fanonian Critique

August 17, 2019

Samir Gandesha

Saturday, August 17, 2:00PM–4:00PM, Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by ​SFU's Institute of Humanities and South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

The question of identity has become urgent for activism in the West though the issue has been important in many other parts of the world as well in a variety of forms. 

Political Identities form in opposition to oppression (or, reactively, as perceived victimization) and demand recognition, rights, and equity (or aggressively promote their denial). They also divide, become separated in privilege, get co-opted, and become instruments of domination. Can identity struggles lead to fundamental social transformation or must they necessarily be limited to the horizon of recognition and reform? Can the empowerment of identity be woven into solidarity or must it necessarily be doomed to fragmentation and the sustenance of the status quo? 

Samir Gandesha’s introductory lecture and discussion, from 2:00PM to 3:00PM will be open to all. Following a short break, there will be a more focused discussion with a limited group of 25 pre-registered participants.

To register for discussion, please RSVP to Chinmoy Banerjee.

Speaker

Samir Gandesha has been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley (1995-97) and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Universität Potsdam (2001-2002). He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of the Humanities and the Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. His work has appeared in a wide range of journals including Political TheoryNew German CritiqueConstellationsLogosKant StudienPhilosophy and Social Criticism, the European Legacy, the European Journal of Social TheoryDiscipline FilosoficheEstudios PoliticosZeitschrift für kritische TheorieRadical Philosophy, and Constelaciones: Revista de Teoria Critica. He is co-editor with Lars Rensmann of Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford, 2012), and co-editor with Johan Hartle of Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (University of Amsterdam Press, 2017) and Aesthetic Marx (Bloomsbury Press, 2017). He regularly contributes to popular publications such as openDemocracyCanadian Dimension, the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail. In the Spring of 2017, he was the Liu Boming Visiting Scholar in Philosophy at the University of Nanjing and Visiting Lecturer at Suzhou University of Science and Technology in China. In January 2019, he was Visiting Fellow at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe and in February 2019, he was Visiting Lecturer at Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas - FFLCH-USP (Universidade de São Paulo). He is currently editing a book entitled Spectres of Fascism (Pluto Press), co-editing (with Peyman Vahabzadeh) Beyond Phenomenology and Critique: Essays in Honour of Ian Angus (Arbeiter Ring), and preparing a manuscript on the “Neoliberal Personality.”