Northwestern Events Calendar


Political Theory Workshop | Up the Street Series: Fanny Söderbäck

When: Friday, May 6, 2022
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM Central

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Up the Street Series: Fanny Söderbäck. 

"Sexual Violence as Ontological Violence:Narration, Selfhood, and the Destruction of Singularity"
Abstract: In this paper, I take as my point of departure Adriana Cavarero’s claim (in Horrorism and other texts) that certain forms of violence are of an ontological kind, insofar as their aim is the destruction of singularity and the human condition of relationality as such,as a cue for framing sexual violence. More specifically, and despite the fact that Cavarero herself excludes sexual violence and rape from her analysis of ontological violence, I offer a reading of the myth of the Medusa that emphasizes her experience as a rape victim, as well as ananalysis of Susan Brison’s autobiographical testimonyof the aftermath of her sexual assault, in order to highlight central aspects of Cavarero’s conceptualization of horrorist violence. Furthermore, I examine Cavarero’s work on narration, so as to lay bare some of the philosophical presuppositions that underpin Brison’s account about the healing power of self-narration, but also to raise questions about the relationship between biographical and autobiographical forms of narration in the context of trauma testimonies and attempts at narrating the unspeakable or making a singular self reemerge from the ruins of selfhood. Drawing not only from Relating Narratives but also from her essay “Narrative Against Destruction,” I hope to shed light on how Cavarero’s treatment of both violence and narration can help us see and hear a vulnerable self in victims of sexual violence – a self whose singularity is at stake and whose relational uniqueness can find a voice despite the attempt at its destruction.

Fanny Söderbäck is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Teaching Practicum at DePaul University. She teaches and conducts research in the area of feminist philosophy. Her research is focused on questions of temporality, embodiment, subjectivity, and birth. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Kristeva Circle​.

Her book Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray​ (SUNY Press, 2019)​. treats the role of time as it appears in the work of French feminist thinkers Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. Söderbäck's current research projects include a monograph on the Italian feminist thinker Adriana Cavarero (forthcoming with SUNY Press), and a project that puts into conversation Julia Kristeva and Gloria Anzaldúa around issues of foreignness and strangeness.

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