Ioan Davies memorial lecture examines the politics of love and evil

Michael Hardt, literary theorist and a professor of literature and romance studies at Duke University in Durham, NC, will present York’s annual Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 5pm, in the Burton Auditorium located in York’s Centre for Film & Theatre.

The question of love and its existence in a world that has known great evil is a political question for Hardt, but one which has been hijacked by modern thought in three crucial ways. First, love has been corralled within the limits of the family, making it a private affair. Second, the various components of love, such as eros, friendship, and community, have been segregated as if they had nothing to do with one another. Finally, love has come to be understood as the unity that overcomes individual differences, which Hardt sees as particularly destructive to many political projects.

Right: Michael Hardt

Hardt’s lecture will focus on how to construct a new political concept of love. Love is experimentation with differences that extends across the social field. This is a notion of love, Hardt will demonstrate is a concept that political activists are already working with. Hardt is the co-author, with Antonio Negri, of the best-selling Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000) and its follow-up Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).

He is also co-author of Labor of Dionysus: A Critique of the State-form (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), author of Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993) and co-editor of The Jameson Reader, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000) and Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996).

The Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture series brings prominent international thinkers to York University each year to present their views on culture, democracy and society in changing global contexts. The lecture series and annual graduate scholarship in Communication and Culture are named for the late Ioan Davies.

About Ioan Davies

A prolific thinker in his own right, Ioan Davies taught at York University from 1972 until his sudden death on Feb. 15, 2000. He helped establish the African Studies Program, the Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought, and the Joint Graduate Program in Communications & Culture.

Right: Ioan Davies

Davies, whose memory is honoured in this annual event, taught graduate courses on aesthetics and contemporary critical theory in the Department of Social & Political Thought in the Faculty of Arts at York. Davies explored art and popular culture in terms of what kinds of opportunities they offer for common political action.

Along with his distinguished academic career, Davies was also a journalist, managing editor and founder of the journal border/lines, and author of several works of fiction. He explored links between cultural expression, everyday life and political practice in his books, Cultural Studies and Beyond: Fragments of Empire (Routledge, 1995), Writers in Prison (Blackwell, 1990) and Social Mobility and Political Change (Pall Mall, 1970).

This year’s event is made possible by the generous support of the following donors: York University’s Bethune College; Dean of Arts; Department of Political Science; Department of Sociology; Division of Social Science; Faculty of Fine Arts; Graduate Program in Communication and Culture; Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies; York University Council of Masters; and BaumgartJenkinson Design.

For more information on the 2005 Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture, click here.