Special Events

On Movement: The Incarnations of Liberal ‘Freedom’

Thursday, The Heyman Center

Pursuing a short claim made by Hannah Arendt, Hagar Kotef proposed
that the body’s capacity for movement is the materialization
of the Liberal concept of liberty. She argued that at least in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, movement was a primary
mode of corporealization of the subject, at the core of Liberal
theory.
In other words, the Liberal subject appeared as a concrete,
embodied subject in precisely those moments when he could
be configured as a moving body. This claim counters a familiar
critique of Liberalism that accuses it of fabricating a fiction of universality
by abstracting its discursive object and allocating corporeality
only to subjects at the margins of its discourse (women, poor,
colonized).