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Atelier Genre(s) & Sexualité(s) « How (not) to argue about identity politics »

by Carolyn D’Cruz, La Trobe University, Australia

Public debates about identity politics are bad at dealing with moral uncertainty, complication in argument, and trying to ensure debaters are on the same conceptual page before they take their sides. By their nature debates need two opposing sides, and arguments are built by demolishing the grounds and claims of the adversaries’ positions. When moral and political issues get caught in a public debate – especially in response to the 24/7 rhythm of tabloid sensationalism – positions get calcified and the drive to measure public opinion gets wedged into extremes. Opinion polls ask whether wearing the burqa in public should be banned; if immigration and refugee intake should be halted; if political correctness explains electoral failures; or if trans folk should be allowed to use bathrooms that don’t match the assignation of their original birth certificates. Rather than adopting for or against positions on matters regarding identity politics, this paper asks how pre-set political position taking can be re-framed in an anti-programmatic way.

Having been constantly called to explain who she is to complete strangers, Carolyn D’Cruz has ended up with a research focus on identity politics and the collisions between personal, professional and political life. She is author of Identity Politics in Deconstruction: Calculating with the Incalculable and co-editor of After Homosexual: Legacies of Gay Liberation. Carolyn is a Senior Lecturer in Gender Sexuality and Diversity Studies at La Trobe University.

Tuesday 14 January, 5 pm – 7 pm

Henry Janne Room
S Building – 15th floor
Avenue Jeanne, 44
1050 Bruxelles

Free entrance