[csaa-forum] Philosophies of Difference Seminar Series: 9th March, 6pm at RMIT City Campus.

TANIA LEWIS tania.lewis at rmit.edu.au
Mon Mar 7 10:40:43 ACST 2016

Dear CSAAers

A reminder that the Philosophies of Difference Seminar Series starts
Wednesday, 9th March with a talk by Helen Ngo at 6pm at the RMIT City
Campus. Details below.

All welcome!

PoD #1: *“Racist Habits: A Phenomenological Analysis of Racism and the
Habitual Body”: Helen Ngo (Deakin University)*


This lecture will examine how the phenomenological concept of habit can be
productively deployed in the analysis of racism, in order to propose a
reframing of the problem. Racism does not unfold primarily in the register
of conscious thought or action, I argue, but more intimately and
insidiously in the register of bodily habit. This claim, however, relies on
a reading of habit as bodily orientation – or habituation – as developed by
Merleau-Ponty in the* Phenomenology of Perception*. Drawing on his account,
I turn to two salient dimensions of racist praxis which I argue are better
understood through the frame of habit: bodily gesture or response, and
racialised perception. Building on the analyses of contemporary critical
race thinkers, I argue that racism is habitual insofar as it is embedded in
bodily modes of responding to the presentation of racialised ‘others’ and
in ‘sedimented’ modes of racialised seeing. However, this is not to suggest
that the acquisition of racist habits is passive, or that such habits
foreclose the possibility of change. In the final section, I revisit the
concept of habit and its usual characterisation as ‘sedimentation’ or
‘calcification’. I argue that while such a reading gives voice to the
anchoring weight of the temporal past in habit, a more prospective
rendering of the concept is available to us through a rereading of
sedimentation as active passivity; habits are not only acquired, they are
also *held*. This in turn will allow us to recast the question of
responsibility in relation to one’s racist habits.


Dr. Helen Ngo is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at Deakin University. She
completed her PhD at Stony Brook University, USA, specialising in
phenomenology, critical philosophy of race, and feminist philosophy. She is
currently engaged in teaching and research at Monash University, and is
also working on a forthcoming book based on her doctoral dissertation, *The
Habits of Racism*.


6pm – 7:30pm, Wednesday 9th March 2016


Building 9, Room 9.3.4A

RMIT City Campus (cnr Bowen & Franklin)


The Philosophies of Difference group (PoD) are a Melbourne-based group of
scholars working in continental philosophy and interested in problems that
have been marginal to the dominant traditions of Western thought. We engage
with approaches including: critical philosophy of race, decolonial thought,
feminist theory, Indigenous studies, philosophy of disability, philosophy
of nature, queer theory and trans philosophy.

The PoD Seminar Series is supported by the Communication, Politics and
Culture Research Centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT




philosophiesofdifference at gmail.com

We hope you can make it!

Dr Rebecca Hill
Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies
Academic Advisor for Creative Writing

School of Media and Communication
RMIT University
GPO Box 2476V
Melbourne VIC 3001

Tel: 61 3 9925 2985
Room: 9.5.42

Associate Professor Tania Lewis
Deputy Dean Research and Innovation
School of Media & Communication
RMIT University - Building 9, Level 4, Room 15
GPO Box 2474, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia


*New articles*

Supermarket wars, celebrity chefs & ethical consumption

Researching green transformations <http://ics.sagepub.com/content/18/3/347>

*Research Projects*

*Research Groups*
Digital Ethnography Research Centre: www.digital-ethnography.net/
Beyond Behaviour Change: www.rmit.edu.au/research/urban/beyondbehaviour
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