Humanities and Social Sciences (B3)
1st quadrimester :
Reflections on the concepts of legitimate violence and civil disobedience
Professor: Selma Bellal
The humanities and social sciences are instruments of objectification of reality, which are confronted with the difficulty, as many authors have highlighted1, that reality is itself a social construction, produced by a certain majority vision. Marginalized parts of reality thus escape this majority vision, which is neither neutral nor apolitical, but the product of conflicting relationships. It is therefore not surprising that the human and social sciences are largely interested in these conflicting relationships.
Many struggles for new rights have, historically, emerged from a questioning of the gaps between principles and reality (e.g. relations of domination that may have developed under the cover of certain legal principles; etc.). These discrepancies have led to a desire for possible progress. And these struggles took part in a certain extension of the Democracy, making the notions of counter-power and contestation inseparable from this one. In this perspective, protest should not be subject to repression. However, protest becomes problematic when it resorts to violence and/or when it stirs up the ambiguity between legality and legitimacy.
Different treatments of protest then collide and give rise to different representations:
-unacceptable violence (definition of terrorism; use of force on the police; police blunders; destruction of property; ...),
-legitimate violence (monopoly of the use of violence by the State; legitimate defense; vigilantism; ...),
-the desirability for democracy of civil disobedience as a form of direct action.
From there, this course proposes, this year, to lead a critical reflection2 around the concepts of legitimate violence and civil disobedience, by analyzing their social construction. Their representations obviously vary, in space and in time; as shown by the variable geometry treatment of certain protests (migrant aid movements; environmental activist movements; squat and self-managed space movements; cultural decolonization movements; etc.), or the criminalization of certain social movements elsewhere (e.g. rainbow movements in Poland or Turkey; labor movement in Belarus; ...), while they are considered to be invigorating for Democracy here.
We will look at various treatments of these themes in national or international political news, as well as in artistic contributions; some artists
1 Let us think in particular of the works of P. Bourdieu or, those of S. Harding and of the "Standpoint feminism".
2 Recognizing precisely the interest that each level of reality be studied in itself and in relation to the others, this course is part of an interdisciplinary perspective at the crossroads of the social, political and philosophical sciences.
The body as an archive of violence
Professor : Maxime Jean-Baptiste
Of violence Slavery, and later colonization, are traumatic events for the black body, which require an approach that is not only theoretical, historical, sociological but also, and above all, practical. Practical, in the sense that the words to speak of this painful history are words that refer to wounds that are still open, still alive. Slavery is a wound that provoked a void in the spirit of the uprooted black body, and the violence of this "economic" process was inscribed in the bodies. The black body in this context, is not only a body made of assemblies of limbs, of veins where blood flows, but is a memory in itself, an archive. It is a body that contains within it the stories of the past, which have no other form than wounds on the skin, unwritten stories that are painfully transmitted from generation to generation, in the dark, far from the attention of the master. A history of violence that is still active today, because colonial processes have taken on new forms, all equally violent and destructive, such as racism, police violence or self-destruction, to name but a few. From this point of view, Frantz Fanon represents a major figure on whom we will stop in order to analyze these themes. Fanon proposes works of deep commitment, combining theory and practice. We will analyze the emergence of his thought that links psychoanalysis, poetry, theater, literature and sociology, allowing a writing that will analyze in an affected way, the colonial situation that is at work in Algeria, a conflict in which he will be a witness and participant, especially as a psychoanalyst. It is in particular the text "Of the violence", being part of the work "The Damned of the Earth", that it will develop a deep and always current reflection on the processes of enslavement that undergoes the colonized body, as much as the need for this last one to use the violence at ends of liberation. We will also see how this thought has been crossed by the influence of different geographical contexts, respectively Martinique, France, Algeria and the United States. Thought as voice, theory as a weapon of resistance During the module, we will see how Frantz Fanon, like many authors operating in the field of postcolonial studies, needed to combine their words, their thought with that of action, of orality. We will extend Fanon's reflections to a large corpus of authors, from the Négritude movement to the current French-speaking rap scene, in order to perceive the survival of both models of oppression of the black body that are still current, as well as the resistances and forms of life that are deployed within this colonial structure. Many texts, a fortiori, many voices will resist a rigorous academic and theoretical written context, to poetize themselves, to liberate themselves, to link the word to life, to flesh. As a practice of thought, we will begin each class by listening to the voice of an evoked author, giving us access to both the content of a reflection as well as the body that carries the words, as well as the voice that chants and shakes the verb. In a second time, we will pay a particular attention to texts which will have this need to be heard and declaimed. The reading of texts in progress could be resolutely performative and alive. In an extension of Frantz Fanon's work, we will listen to and immerse ourselves in the voices and texts of Aimé Césaire, Léon-Gontran Damas, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Gil-Scott Heron, Edouard Glissant, Bell Hooks, Olivier Marboeuf, Jamika Ajalon, and Samira Saleh among others.