Elsa Dorlin

Université de Paris 8-Vincennes Saint-Denis

Phenomenology of Prey

The Phenomenology of Prey is a philosophical research project on the experience of daily violence linked to various modalities of predation (defined in an intersectional approach). What does it mean to be a prey at the turn of a street, a subway train, facing the police, in your boss’ office, in the intimacy of a bedroom? From the diversity of the daily experiences of these face to face encounters, how do we take care of ourselves in those moments when “normal” life is unstable? A common way to resist to this violence is to forget or underestimate what this violence does to us; how it makes us feel; how it makes us try to underestimate its effects on us, our bodies, and our lives. But, not listening to ourselves while remaining alert, by making so much effort to resist, and sometimes just survive, implies a grueling attention to others and what they can or want to do to us, so the prey becomes the hunter’s "experts."

Dorlin is a professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Paris 8 Vincennes/Saint-Denis in France. In 2009, she won the bronze medal of the CNRS for her work on feminist theory and philosophy of gender. Recently, she was Visiting Associate Professor at the Critical Theory Program of the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2011). A specialist in the philosophy of Michel Foucault, Dorlin’s research also focuses on black feminist epistemology and Fanonian phenomenology. Her latest book Self-defense: A philosophy of violence (Paris, Zones éditions, 2017), winner of the 2018 Frantz Fanon Book Prize from the Caribbean Philosophical Association, is forthcoming in English (Verso).

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