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Braided Biopower: Queer, Crip, and Antiracist Theory in the early 20th and 21st Centuries.

Friday, September 17, 2021, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

The early 20th and  21st centuries are both clouded by the disturbing spectre of ultranationalist populism -- whether we call it fascism, neofascism, or local variants such as Trumpism, etc.  This essay begins with an examination of how modernist author Virginia Woolf, who lived and worked during the ascendancy of Euro-American biopower, engaged with three entwined strands of biopower,  state racism, heteronormativity, and ableist normativity—as well as a fourth Woolfian form elaborated upon in her epistolary essay Three Guineas -- state genderism.  While Woolf’s engagement with biopower is not always progressive, the complexities of her art and work yield a rich picture of how biopower worked in the early 20th twentieth century and model of how artists and intellectuals both deployed and resisted its workings. From there, the talk will open speculation on what we can learn about biopower in its present iteration in the 21st century from the artists and intellectuals (such as Woolf) who engaged and resisted the excesses and atrocities of biopower in the 20th.


Madelyn Detloff is Professor and Chair of English and Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University (Ohio), USA.  She is former Director of the Women’s Gender and sexuality Studies program at Miami.  Her books include The Persistence of Modernism: Loss and Mourning in the 20th CenturyThe Value of Virginia Woolf, and the co-Edited volumes Queer Bloomsbury and Virginia Woolf: Art, Education, and Internationalism.  She is author of a number of articles and chapters on Virginia Woolf, modernism, feminist, queer, and crip theory.

Zoom link:…

Meeting ID: 910 4256 1835

Passcode: 892071