“Give me glory!” – Feminism and the Politics of Refusal

Date & time

5.30–7pm Thursday 20 February 2020


Theatrette (2.02), Sir Roland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Cct, Canberra ACT 2600


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


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Presented by Centre for Law, Arts and Humanities (CLAH) and the Gender Institute

Public lecture
“Give me glory!” -- Feminism and the Politics of Refusal

In this public lecture, Distinguished Professor Bonnie Honig describes her response to a recent turn to “refusal” (challenging settler colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, or neoliberalism) and looks at The Bacchae as a drama of refusal.

The Bacchants in Euripides’ play refuse work (shunning the “shuttle and loom”), join forces, idle on Cithaeron, fight and then topple a king, and return to Thebes to claim their right to the city, before being exiled. The Bacchae is not normally seen as a drama of refusal but the women commit regicide and when they experiment with pleasure and spirituality outside the city (this is their offence, and their resource) they model a refusal with world-building powers.

Join Professor Honig as she considers the concept of “fabulation” as a “refusal concept,” and uses a reading of black girlhood in Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (2019) to confront the question of infrapolitics among black women, with revolutionary political implications.

Convenors: Professor Desmond Manderson and Associate Professor Fiona Jenkins


  • Professor Bonnie Honig »

    Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University, and (by courtesy) Religious Studies (RS) and Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS).

    She is the author of Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell, 1993, Scripps Prize for best first book), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton, 2009, David Easton Prize), Antigone, Interrupted. (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017). She has edited or co-edited several collections, including Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt (Penn State, 1995) and Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016). Her articles have appeared in Arethusa (Okin-Young Prize for best article in feminist theory), New Literary History, Political Theory, theory&event, Social Text, differences, the American Political Science Review, and more. She is currently writing a book based on her 2017 Flexner Lectures, titled: “Give me glory” - Feminism and the Politics of Refusal (Harvard University Press). Her most recent publication is “12 Angry Men: Care for the Agon and the Varieties of Masculine Experience,” fc Theory&Event 2019. In 2017-18 she served as the Inaugural Cranor Phi Beta Kappa Scholar, and she is currently an affiliate of the Digital Democracy Group at Simon Fraser University.


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