Agora Speaker Series: “Spatial Debilities: Slow Life and Disaster Capitalism in Palestine”

September 28, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

As the keynote address to the Race, Media, and Technology workshop co-hosted by the Department of Communication and the Pitt Student Chapter of the Rhetoric Society of America, with additional support provided by the Department of English, the Cultural Studies Program, the Humanities Center, and the Provost’s Office, Dr. Jasbir K. Puar will be presenting on her most recent book, The Right to Main: Debility, Capacity, Disability. In The Right to Maim Dr. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar's analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel's policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability's interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.

Location and Address

1500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall

Directions and Parking Information

Garage and street parking available

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