Clashing Vulnerabilities webinars in spring 2022

As a warmup to the Clashing Vulnerabilities conference that will be held in either Fall 2022 or Spring 2023, you are invited to participate in a three-part webinar on January 27th, February 24th, and March 24th, 2022

  • Who or what is vulnerable in the world today, and what happens when different vulnerabilities clash?
  • From what position – and with what approaches – can we determine or acknowledge conflict? Critique or dismiss it? 
  • Is there a metric we might use to decide who or what is “most” vulnerable? What difference would such a judgement make? Who gets to make it? 
  • How might we acknowledge that vulnerability itself is a contested term, one that can be wielded for both progressive and retrogressive ends?
The event is free, but registration is obligatory. If you wish to attend, please send an email with your name and affiliation to:



Sexual Suicide Redux
Perhaps American conservative George Gilder wasn’t wrong in his poignantly titled 1973 manifesto Sexual Suicide when he forecast that women wearing pants would spell the end of Western civilization. Whenever the traditional gender binary (and attendant sexual arrangements) begins to look precarious, every side—patriarchs v. feminists; TERFS v. trans activists—wields their side’s vulnerability to violence and injury as the preferred form of moral suasion. Even Dave Chappelle’s an injured party! How to weigh competing claims of endangerment in the context of collapsing binaries?

Thursday January 27th, 2022, at 16:00 CET. Zoom link:


Aquifer Aporias
In certain places and times, what is now missing from the land, from memory, from democracy and from our emotional lives seems to align. These absences, in turn, render people vulnerable to conjoined forms of economic, environmental, social and affective collapse. This talk examines one such alignment in the context of extreme aquifer depletion on the United States’ High Plains in order to reflect on the defining crises of the contemporary and the potential of ethnography to suggest more sustainable ways ahead.

Thursday February 24th, 2022, at 16:00 CET. Zoom link:


Mother Dairy: A More-Than-Human Politics of India’s Cow Protectionism
Hindu ultranationalist politics (called Hindutva) seeks to narrowly reconceptualise India as a “Hindu state”. Cows figure prominently in this imaginary. India criminalises cow slaughter, based on the well-known Hindu reverence of cows as sacred. However, during the reign of the ruling Hindu nationalist party, BJP, India has also become one of the largest global producers of beef. This talk addresses this seeming puzzle by demonstrating how the cow-worshipping, beef-criminalising, aspirational Hindu state obscures an industrial scale of underground cow slaughter. Unwanted dairy cows are illicitly transported to slaughterhouses, in ways that create and exploit the vulnerabilities both of ‘low’ caste Dalits and Muslims (who perform the risky, racialized labour of slaughtering cows), and the cows, which are racialized and Hinduised. Seeking to overcome the anthropocentrism of the people vs. animals impasse that characterises much political debate, I conclude with some thoughts on a post-dairy society, one based on an ethic that is anti-caste, anti-anthropocentric, and anti-Hindutva.

This webinar has been postponed until September. Information about the new date and time will be available in the coming weeks.