Valentina Moro

CAS SEE Seminars with Guests – Bonnie Honig

On Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, the CAS SEE Seminars with Guests continued with questioning the (nature/s of certain) politics in the Arendtian fashion, introducing Professor Bonnie Honig, who was presented by our fellow Valentina Moro. The seminar took place at 4 PM CET due to different time-zones.

Saidiya Hartman’s “Fabulation” is an important concept in Black Studies, connoting the effort to supplement and amplify archives that erase rather than preserve the joy and freedom of Black life. Critics worry about fabulation’s departures from “facts” though we might well note fabulation’s commitment to the archives, with which Hartman always begins. In this paper, Bonnie Honig asks: How might Hartman’s “fabulation” be illuminated by Hannah Arendt’s idea of story-telling? And what sort of politics is postulated by each of these thinkers? The Bacchae, Euripides’ 5th-century tragedy of women refusing or rising up, and its reception history, is used as an example of how archives are shaped and facts established for the future. In the play, truths are established rather than discovered. And so, toward the end of the play, when the women return to the city, we may see this as a move in the agon over facticity.  The women demand glory for their refusal. That they fail need not mean we have nothing to learn from them. Quite the opposite.

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science at Brown University. She is the author of Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell, 1993, Scripps Prize for Best First Book), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton, 2009, David Easton Prize), Antigone, Interrupted. (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017). She has edited or co-edited several collections, including Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt (Penn State, 1995) and Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016).  Her articles have appeared in the journals ‘Arethusa’, ‘New Literary History’, ‘Political Theory’, ‘theory&event’, ‘Social Text’, ‘differences’, the ‘American Political Science Review’, and more. Her forthcoming book, based on her 2017 Flexner Lectures, deals with “a feminist theory of refusal”.

CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 Seminars – Federica Porcheddu and Valentina Moro

The ending of this year’s Spring Fellowship has digitally “happened” on July 7th, 2020, with two philosophical questions: one on food sovereignty and the other inquiring on the legacy of feminist movements.

Firstly, the relationship between human society and nature has been viewed through the lens of the more general process of commodification by Federica Porcheddu, our fellow and the Italian referent for the Cahiers d’études lévinassiennes, with areas of interest such as intersubjectivity, community, ethics, and politics.
Porcheddu’s project introduces a conception of nature according to which, far from being considered as an essential element for the survival of human beings, is instead conceived as a means to be exploited in order to guarantee the greatest profit possible, without any consideration for the high environmental costs that this entails. One of the most negative aspects of this process concerns in particular the commodification of food, a determining factor of the current global food crisis.
Challenging this view, Porcheddu takes the concept of food sovereignty as a possible alternative to reformulate the relationship between human society and nature. For her, food sovereignty opens up a perspective of global food justice which focuses on the importance of food as a fundamental human right, while highlighting the impact that human activity has on the environment.

In the second part of our meeting, Valentina Moro asked: How is it possible to act together and to mobilize by calling into question the entire paradigm of sovereign nation-states and its economic model? This political strategy needs to go beyond the denounce of an emergency (the financial crisis, or the environmental emergency) and requires a structural critique of the system that produced it. Moro‘s research focuses on feminist movements, the aim of which is to rethink the patriarchal forms of domination, that are embodied in the structure of liberal democracies and that entail hierarchies and inequalities.
In the first part of the research, she posed a question upon the way in which several theorists discussed the topic of the “body” – both individual and collective – as the core of a feminist reconsideration of the political relationship between human society and nature. The second part of her research explores the way in which the new wave of feminist mobilizations drew attention on the necessity of regaining control of one’s own body and boosted the challenge to reorganize within a collective body – a community, a group, a movement. From a theoretical perspective, assembly and organization are the key-words of the second part of the research. Valentina Moro is our fellow from the University of Padua who in 2019 obtained her first fellowship at the CAS SEE. Her research intersects the fields of political theory, classics, and feminist studies. She collaborates with the Hannah Arendt research center in Verona.

CAS SEE Weekly Seminars with Guests – Olivia Guaraldo

On Thursday, June 25th from 10.00 to 12.00 am the fifth CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Olivia Guaraldopresented by our Fellow Valentina Moro took place on Zoom. The seminar discussed Arendt’s imaginative reception of the Athenian democracy.

Olivia Guaraldo is an associate professor of political philosophy at the Department of Human Sciences and the director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Political Studies at the University of Verona. Her field of expertise focuses on modern and contemporary political thought. She has worked extensively on the thought of Hannah Arendt. She has also worked in the field of contemporary feminist political theory, investigating the theoretical and political relationships between the thought of sexual difference and gender theory. She has edited and introduced the Italian translations of Judith Butler’s works, Precarious Life (Rome 2004, Milan 2013) and Undoing Gender (Rome 2006, Milan 2014). Among her most recent books: Comunità e vulnerabilità. Per una critica politica della violenza, 2012;  She has have co-edited, with Angie Voela, the Gender and Education special issue “ ‘If Not Now When’: Feminism in contemporary activist, social and educational contexts” (2016). Recently, she has been working on the Arendtian theme of Public Happiness, with the aim of rethinking democracy in light of new participatory practices and a new affective lexicon that enables to frame political action in generative terms.

Caught in the midst of the catastrophic events of the 20th century, both existentially and intellectually, Hannah Arendt sought to interpret her present from a politically oriented theoretical perspective. After her original analysis of totalitarianism as an essentially unprecedented phenomenon in human history, where all the pre-existing categories of thought and action had proven insufficient to explain what happened, Arendt embarks in the difficult task to re-imagine the political, convinced as she is that the public life lived together, the ‘vita activa’, is the most meaningful dimension for the human beings. This is why she goes back to Greek antiquity to recover, with philological freedom and interpretative creativity, a notion of the political that the Western tradition has completely lost. Central to this recovery is her reading of the Athenian democracy as ‘isonomia’, a notion she reads as correspondent to an essentially anti-modern, participatory experience of ‘no-rule’.

Watch the CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Olivia Guaraldo:

 

The translation of Olivia’s new article “Historical Minutiae: On Statues and Broken Mirrors” is available here.

Seminar with Valentina Moro: “Staging gender in Antiquity: why is this archive still crucial for feminist theory? The case of the study of kinship”

“The research project I worked on at CAS SEE focuses on feminist discourses and methodologies. In this seminar presentation, I discussed several contributions in the research field of Gender in Antiquity, which are significantly relevant for their feminist methodology. This links my research as a fellow in Rijeka and my previous work, insofar as I have a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and, in my Ph.D. dissertation, I have analysed several Greek tragedies from a political perspective. On the one hand, my aim is to demonstrate why such an archive was and still is so important for scholars such as Judith Butler, Adriana Cavarero, and Bonnie Honig (whose work I will refer to, among others’). On the other, I will insist on a specific methodological approach in the study of gender in Antiquity, which analyses kinship ties as being agonistically constructed in the characters’ speeches.
From the 1970s onwards, many scholars in both fields of Political theory and Classics have been referring to the Greek tragedies, calling into question the idea of gender. The political relevance of their analysis is related to the way in which each of them problematized the theatricality of the representation of gender in the Greek sources. I am particularly interested in several scholars who focused on female characters in ancient literary sources by analysing the network of relationships in which they are embedded – and especially kinship relationships.
For instance, Victoria Wohl evokes Deleuze and Guattari’s critique to the traditional interpretation of kinship ties and gender roles as fixed structures, hierarchically depending on the figure of the Father. Judith Butler investigates the specificity of kinship ties and problematizes whether they are constitutive relationships deeply rooted within a political community or whether they depend on an authoritative narration (which requires a validation). And so on.
Which are the specific feminist approaches these scholars deployed in analysing the Greek tragedy? If we aim to reconsider the history of the political concepts from a feminist perspective, which is the possible contribution of the research on gender in Antiquity?”

Valentina Moro obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Padua (Italy) in 2018. In 2016 and 2017 she was a visiting research fellow at Brown University (USA). Her research intersects the fields of political theory, classics and gender studies. Currently, she is a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe at the University of Rijeka (Croatia) and at the Istituto italiano per gli studi filosofici in Naples (Italy). She co-edited the book Polis, Erōs, Parrēsia. Letture etico-politiche contemporanee della tragedia greca (Padova University Press, 2018) and she is a member of the editorial board of the journal Materiali foucaultiani.

Seminar with Valentina Moro was held at the University campus in Rijeka in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows on December 6, 2019.

Call for Papers: Feminist Responses to Populist Politics

Special Issue 25, European Journal of English Studies

Guest editors: Mónica Cano Abadía (University of Graz), Sanja Bojanić (University of Rijeka), Valentina Moro (University of Padova/University of Rijeka)

‘Populism’ is as slippery a term as the political soil it rhizomes in. During the last decade, it has been tested in political reality on numerous occasions and with varying outcomes. The distinction between right and left populisms has also become a staple in everyday academic, policy, and civil society discourses. On the left or the right, populisms often act as a bogeyman, as a threat to politics as usual, and as a sure sign that the world is, yet again, out of joint.

But are these misgivings of any substance? Perhaps the world is actually disjointed. It may be that populisms, left or right, fill in the cracks and fissures that have been lain open for only a short period of time, one that coincides with decades of sustained feminist efforts to change the world for the better. Despite the gains, much of what has been won is now being brought to a halt – and it seems that populisms play their share in this stoppage. It is therefore vital to ask what feminist responses to populisms could be. Can the answer to this question be reduced to the issue of political allegiance, or is it a matter of needing to adjust to new political realities? Would this imply then embracing these realities as well? What is the role that populisms now play in shaping the relationship between radical and mainstream feminisms? If we claim that feminism has always been populist to a certain extent, then we have to have a clear notion of the populus at its core. Alternatively, we might categorically posit that feminist populism is a contradiction in terms and therefore also reject the possibility of left populist feminisms.

This special issue addresses feminist visions of politics as a different answer to populisms’ challenges. We wish to mark ambivalences and name conceptual reasons for why it is insufficiently daring or even reactionary to place feminist emancipatory strategies close to politically divisive contemporary tendencies. Instead, we call for a return to notions of feminist resistance and resilience – notions that put an emphasis on agency, change, and hope in the face of the grave challenges we are faced with around the world. The following topics may be addressed:

  • What does ‘feminist populism’ refer to?
  • To what does feminist resistance to populism refer?
  • How does feminist resilience function?
  • What are the consequences, challenges and possible solutions that feminist resilience can bring about in civil society and institutions?

Detailed proposals (up to 800 words) for full essays (7,500 words), as well as a short biography (max. 100 words) should be sent to all of the editors by 31 December 2019: Mónica Cano Abadía (monica.cano-abadia@uni-graz.at), Sanja Bojanić (sanja.bojanic@uniri.hr), Valentina Moro (valentinamoro8@gmail.com).

Spring – Autumn 2019 CAS SEE Fellowship Recipients

The Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe (CAS SEE) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Spring – Autumn 2019 CAS SEE Fellowship Awards at the University of Rijeka. The purpose of the CAS SEE Fellowship Programme is to further the research and creative work in the fields of the humanities and humanistic social sciences in the Balkans. Fellows will present their work within the CAS-Collegium, creating an intellectually heterogeneous atmosphere and fostering a productive self-examination or even friction, which may lead to new and unexpected ideas and innovation.

Please join us in congratulating the following CAS SEE Fellowship Awards, University of Rijeka recipients:

Bojan Baca (York University, Canada)

Project – title: “Digitalization of the Marketplace of (Reactionary) Ideas: The Alt-Right as a Political Ideology, Social Movement, and Counter-Culture”

Monica Cano Abadia (University of Zaragoza, Spain)

Project – title: “New Materialist Cartographies of Patterns of Exclusion in Digital Environments”

Guglielmo Feis (University of Milan, Italy)

Project – title: “Channeling Social Justice through the Blockchain? A Critical Review of the Potentiality of Distributed Ledger Technology (DTL) in Reducing Financial Inequalities and Improve the Access to Financial Information”

Ivan Flis (Utrecht University, Netherlands)

Project – title: “Open Science as a Movement of Digital Disruption”

Greta Favara (University of Milan, Italy)

Project – title: “Normative Political Theory and the Public Role of the Theorist”

Natasha Jankovic (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Project – title:Rijeka: an experimental field of concrete utopia”

Nilay Kilinc (University of Surrey, UK)

Project – title: “Highly-Skilled Turkish Migrants’ Search for Alternative Diaspora Spaces in Europe: How They Build (Digital) Social Networks Beyond the ‘Culture of Rejection’”

Dragana Kovačević Bielicki (University of Oslo, Norway)

Project – title: “Mapping the anti-migrant protests in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through their online media coverage (2015-present)”

Massimo Leone (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)

Project – title: “Democracy and Trolling in Internet Threads (DETROIT)”

Andrey Menshikov (Ural State University, Russia)

Project – title: “Unequal Distribution of Religious Freedom in the Discourse on Human Rights”

Valentina Moro (University of Padova, Italy)

Project – title: “Deconstructing Languages of Rejection: a Political Theory Analysis of Feminist Discourses and Methodologies”

Sabino Paparella (University of Bari, Italy)

Project – title: “Political Disintermediation in the Digital Era”

Roberto Roccu (LSE, London, UK)

Project – title: “Comparative Political Economies of Lost Hope: Subaltern Trajectories of Inequality, Transformation and Rejection from the Arab Uprisings to Crisis Europe”

Oszkar Roginer (University of Graz, Austria)

Project – title: “Cultures of Rejections – (self)perception of minorities and knowledge production”

Francesca Rolandi (University of Milan, Italy)

Project – title: “Doš’o sam u grad iz pasivnog kraja. Internal Migration, Settlement Dynamics and Social Practices in post-World War II Rijeka”

Snezana Vesnic (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Project – title: “Positive European Futures: Creating New Concepts for the Transformation and Redefinition of Digital European Values Case study: Rijeka Between Analog and Digital”