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November 29, 2018 | 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Category: Lecture
Location: Welcome Center Auditorium
Cost: Free
Audience: Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty

Paul Taylor (Penn State), "The Ferguson Rebellion, Five Years On; or, Philosophy and the Event, American-Style" (Philosophy and African American Studies joint event)

Abstract: Next year will mark the fifth anniversary of the day Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the aftermath of that day, "Ferguson" seemed to be the name not just of a place but also of an event, in the fullest sense of that term. The word stood for something momentous, like Appomattox or Selma or Stonewall (the inn and the 1969 riots, not the man). It marked one of those periodic occasions that push people to reflect on the demands of justice, the art of living well, and the burdens of living well together. Now, though, every passing day presents some new outrage or controversy that pushes this occasion farther away from the living present, and threatens to diminish its claim to relevance.

"The Ferguson Rebellion, Five Years On" explains what it means to treat Ferguson as an event, and to take that event seriously even now as a contemporary barometer of important social conditions. The temptation to forget is dangerous, but it is also entirely predictable in light of the conditions that Ferguson brought to light. Provoked but not constrained by Alain Badiou's influential work on the philosophy of the event, this talk will build on suggestions from Alice Walker and James Baldwin to suggest an approach to the upheavals in Ferguson that is both appropriate to the moment and properly responsive to the burdens of ethical life.

For more information about this event, please contact Jonny Cottrell at 3472672154 or