The Wednesday Lectures 2016 Hosted by Raimond Gaita
It is striking how often people now speak of 'a common humanity' in an ethically inflected register, one that expresses a fellowship of all the peoples of the earth. More often than not, however, we refer to the idea of a common humanity when we lament the failure of its acknowledgment. The forms of that failure are depressingly many: racism, sexism, homophobia, the dehumanization of our enemies, of unrepentant criminals and those who suffer severe and degrading affliction. As often as someone reminds us that 'we are all human beings', someone will reply that to be treated like a human being you must behave like one.
Many people appear now to fear that within twenty years or less national and international politics will be dominated by crises that caused and inflamed by the shameful gap between the rich and the poor nations, aggravated by the effects of climate change. They fear their children and grandchildren will not be protected as they have been from the terrors suffered by most of the peoples of the earth because of impoverishment, natural disasters and the evils inflicted upon them by other human beings. In such circumstances the ideal and even the very idea of a common humanity is likely to seem to have been a foolish illusion.
The Wednesday Lectures 2016 hosted by Raimond Gaita will explore what sustains and what erodes the idea of a common humanity and, more radically, whether it is a useful idea with which to think about the moral, legal and political relations between people and peoples.
Wednesday, 20 July: White Concepts
White Concepts are concepts that claim universality but that are blind to the colonial conditions of production of their universality. The lecture will explore these questions: is 'a common humanity' a white concept and is it useful to even ask this question today?
Ghassan Hage is Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory at The University of Melbourne. He has held a number of visiting professorships including at Pierre Bordieus Research Centre and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, American University of Beirut, University of Nanterre - Paris X, University of Copenhagen and Harvard University. His books include: White Nations: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society; Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society; Alter-Politics Critical Anthropology, Political Passion and Radical Imagination and, as editor, Responsibility; Force Movement, Intensity: The Newtonian Imagination in the Humanities and Social Sciences and Waiting.
Wednesday, 3 August 2016, 6:30 pm Where
Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville Booking