Monday Night Lecture Series - Wesleyan University

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Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities


Waiting in Necropolitical Times

Waiting in Necropolitical Times

Victoria Pitts-Taylor • Wesleyan University

December 4 @ 6 P.M. | Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center

Waiting is a key mode of experiencing the effects of power; in some instances, it may express what Lauren Berlant calls ‘slow death’. Waiting is a common aspect of medicalized gender transition – trans people seeking hormones or surgery are often made to wait for years. This talk explores temporal dimensions of medicalized gender transition – in particular, the waiting lists, waiting periods, setbacks, refusals, and structural delays imposed on trans patients. Can the attachment constituted in long-term waiting be sustaining, or is it a threat to one’s well being? How is waiting managed, accepted, and contested by people who are subjected to it? These questions take on a necropolitical cast in the context of high rates of suicide and violence against trans people. This discussion is part of a broader study that uses critical social theories and an eclectic archive to address waiting as relation between time, power, and social being. It argues that through regimens of waiting, biopower can enfold people into life-making practices while also rendering them neglected and disposable.

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