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Graduate Summer 2019: Tiffany Tsantsoulas

Disorientation as Resistance: the world-making potential of a decolonial poetics of the human

Department of Philosophy

Disorientation as Resistance: the world-making potential of a decolonial poetics of the human

This project develops a phenomenological concept of resistance to oppression, as defined within decolonial feminist ethics. It is my contention that such an ethics – that is, one that responds to the unique challenges of our neocolonial, white supremacist, heterosexist global culture – requires resistant praxes that can subvert and transform our everyday lived experience. To that end, I combine research from the growing fields of critical phenomenology and decolonial philosophy to articulate a concept of resistance to oppression at the level of the unthematized, taken-for-granted structures governing our orientation to the world. In particular, I investigate how we, as members of a collective ‘humanity’, might cease living a concept of ‘the human’ that differentially humanizes and dehumanizes. The ultimate goal of this investigation is to open a horizon for an ethical change in our habitual relation to ourselves as human; I articulate this change as itself a form of resistance to oppression. The result is a rigorous example of how decolonial theories of ethical resistance can be thought phenomenologically and decolonial feminist values can be instilled within critical studies of the structures of experience.