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

Presenter/s: Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities; ANU Gender Institute

Event type: Public lecture

Event date: Thursday, 20 February 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Event venue: Theatrette (2.02), Sir Roland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Cct, ANU

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.

In this lecture, Honig considers in particular the concept of “fabulation” as a “refusal concept,” and uses a reading of black girlhood in Hartman’s Wayward Lives to confront the question of infrapolitics among black women, with revolutionary political implications.


Speaker: Distinguished Professor 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). Bonnie is a political, feminist, and legal theorist specializing in democratic theory. 

Convenors: Associate Professor Fiona Jenkins and Professor Desmond Manderson


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Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute