In her talk "The Inhuman and the Anarchist: Rafael Barrett’s Anthropodecentric Writings," Jennifer French (Williams College) will be continuing her exploration of the Hispano-Paraguayan anarchist Rafael Barrett (1876-1910) by focusing specifically on the anthropodecentric aspects of his writing. A pre-circulated paper by French on Barrett will provide an overview of his work, specifically his best-known text, Lo que son los yerbales [What the Yerbales Are], which exposed to Paraguayan and regional audiences the exploitative labor practices associated with the yerba mate industry.
Prof. French's talk develops her considerations further along two interrelated lines. On the one hand, she looks specifically at Barrett’s writings about natural and evolutionary science—especially iterations of his newspaper column, Mirando Vivir (“Looking at Life”)—to see how the boundary-breaking anarchist responds to Darwin’s blurring of the ontological divide between human and non-human species. On the other hand, French proposes to read Barrett, and specifically Barrett’s virtuosic prose style, in dialogue with feminist theorist Elizabeth Grosz, who writes about aesthetics and Darwin’s theory of sexual selection in her 2011 book Becoming Undone.
The talk will be followed by a response by Prof. Javier Uriarte (Stony Brook) and a Q&A open to all participants.
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