Sandra Noeth: Disposable Bodies and Performative Strategies of Protection: On the Controversial Status of the Body in Shielding
Holding your breath while walking down the street, evaluating the risk posed by a passing body; performing subtle gestures of touch on your own body while experiencing discrimination or neglect; rehearsing how to appear at a border, where the individual body is always already part of real or imagined collectives. The talk takes, as its starting point, different experiences of shielding ranging from the small-scale to the everyday and the structural. It raises the question: how can body-based aesthetic and performative strategies and practises, on a micro-political level, produce knowledge about the unequal recognition of bodies and their respective protective needs? In the context of the HZT research week, I will focus on the ambivalences that emerge when a body becomes a shield: when protecting and valuing some bodies exposes others in political, legal or ethical states of vulnerability. The presentation provides insight into an ongoing research project on the idea of bodily integrity which I am developing in dialogue with artists, activists and theorists from different fields.
Banu Bargu: Human Shielding as Embodied Critique
My presentation will revisit voluntary human shielding as an embodied form of resistance, drawing on examples from the Middle East and North America. I will discuss how shielding as the public performance of self-endangerment for the protection of others can be considered a subset of the political technique of disembodiment. Considering human shielding alongside other forms of self-harm and self-destruction, which I also gather under the umbrella of political disembodiment, I will centre my reflections on the role of the body as the vehicle of critique.
Since 2018, Dr. Sandra Noeth is a Professor at the HZT-Inter-University Centre for Dance, and a curator internationally active in independent and institutional contexts (2009 – 2014, Head of Dramaturgy and Research at Tanzquartier Wien). She specialises in ethical and political perspectives toward body-practice and theory (e.g. bodies under structural violence, bodies in the experience of borders). Selected publications: Bodies of Evidence: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Politics of Movement (2018, with G. Ertem) or Resilient Bodies, Residual Effects: Artistic Articulations of Borders and Collectivity in Lebanon and Palestine (2019).
Banu Bargu is associate professor in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research brings together political theory, anthropology, philosophy, global history, and Middle East studies around questions of the body, power, violence, and resistance practises. As a political theorist, her main areas of focus are modern and contemporary political thought, poststructuralist and critical theory. She is the author of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia UP, 2014), which received the First Book Prize given by APSA’s Foundations of Political Theory section and was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. She is the editor of Turkey's Necropolitical Laboratory: Democracy, Violence, and Resistance (Edinburgh UP, 2019) and co-editor of Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique (Palgrave, 2017). She has previously taught at The New School for Social Research in New York City and SOAS (University of London). Her new book, Corporeal Counterpolitics, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2022.
The event will be held in English.
Zoom link for the event: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86334738834?pwd=a0pNOU5jSktkYmh3c0RiQ0dwcHdXUT09