February 02 2018 | 13:00–18:30

Special session with Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun (Paris 7 / Medfil) and Éléni Varikas (Paris 8 / CEDREF)

13:00-15:30 – Round table

  • Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun: Masculinity as a political category of domination

In a now classic text, the American historian Joan Scott has defined gender, which she carefully distinguishes from "biological sex" as "a primary way of signifying power relations", which, according to her, constitutes social relations based on perceived differences. According to her, it implies four sets of elements: first, symbols and symbolic representations that are culturally available, second, normative concepts, thirdly, a notion of politics in reference to institutions and social organization, and finally, that which relates to subjective identity. Gender thus refers to the relations of the masculine and the feminine, to "a first field within which, or by means of which, power is articulated". One can extrapolate by making the observation, within what one might call a "general anthropology" that the masculine refers to domination while the feminine means and symbolizes submission. This binary opposition is therefore a social institution, not a fact of nature. It can therefore be transgressed at the risk and peril of those who risk it. The transgressions will interest us only for what they teach us of the reiteration of the norm, in its many aspects. The masculine is declined, in fact, under different figures all of which refer to an image of power.

  • Eléni Varikas: For a Feminist Theory of Politics

Is it possible to read back concepts, axioms and assumptions that have long served to delegitimize exclusion, subjugation and obedience, to put them at the service of a democratic redefinition of citizenship? To reconcile complementarity with individual autonomy and self-definition of women? To transform the metaphor of the "political body" into a metaphor for a divided power? The main advantage of this metaphor is precisely that it excludes from the outset the multiplicity. An androgynous body, a body with two sexes, with various characteristic features and different colors is by definition monstrous: here is the message that transmits for centuries this gigantic body that the moderns invented to neutralize the danger of "the multitude with several heads ". According to this message, a divisible power is monstrous in that it leads by definition to war and anarchy. "No one can obey two masters", said for centuries this giant body, not only to women but also to "men of color", to immigrants, to foreigners, to nomads, to all those who claim to participate in what is common, the public thing.

16:00-18:30 – Workshop

  • Collective: Interventions, readings and discussion in solidarity with the women political prisoners imprisoned in turkish and israeli prisons (following), with Assia zaino (Paris 8)

The relevance of the issue of political prisoners has led to the emergence of the one of the possibilities and resources of resistance to all forms of imprisonment and impasse linked to political conditions.
The initiative for this workshop is inspired by and one of the following of a meeting with Assia Zaino's research on Israeli jails, with "Des Hommes et des femmes entre les murs, ou comment la prison façonne la vie des palestinien-ne-s" (Men and Women Inside the Walls, How Prison Shapes Palestinian Life, Agone 2016), by Sarah Caunes on the struggles and mobilizations of prisoners imprisoned inside Turkish prisons, and Valentin Schaepelynck on the history of institutional analysis. It reflects on the collective initiatives of solidarity with the political prisoners in Turkey since the coup d'état of July 19, 2016 followed by a mass repression, and the referendum of April 16, 2017 giving full powers of the executive to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It reflects on the situations of friends imprisoned in Iran, who lived or are still living in one of the many camps inside or outside the Fortress Europe, or in the Middle East. It is an expression of our solidarity with the recent events of Nabi Saleh.

Political studies open seminar – Paris 8 Saint-Denis University