Elsa Dorlin

Scholar in Social and Political Philosophy, France

Elsa Dorlin is Professor of social and political philosophy at the University of Paris VIII Vincennes/Saint-Denis (France). Previously, she was Associate Professor of History of science and History of Philosophy at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and, in 2009, she won the bronze medal of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) for her work on feminist theory and philosophy of gender. She has been Visiting Associate Professor at the Critical Theory Program of the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2011), and recently Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination (2018-2019). A specialist in the philosophy of Michel Foucault and continental philosophy, Dorlin’s research also focuses on Marxism, black feminist epistemology and Fanonian and decolonial phenomenology. She is the author of several books and articles, included La Matrice de la race. Généalogie sexuelle et coloniale de la Nation française (Paris, La découverte, 2006). Her latest book Self-defense: A philosophy of violence (Paris, Zones, 2017), winner of the 2018 Frantz Fanon Book Prize from the Caribbean Philosophical Association, has been translated in eight languages and is forthcoming in English (Verso). 

©Ian HANNING/REA, Fos-sur-Mer

Senses of the collapse. A phenomenology of toxic capitalism.

The phenomenal effects of capitalism on our bodies are at the heart of a project of political genealogy of the senses. From collapsology and philosophical reflections on denial, Elsa Dorlin’s research focuses on the historicity of lived experiences of toxic capitalism and elaborates a phenomenology, a study of the daily sensory perception of the collapsing world. The question then is not "what do we know?" (or is there too much or too little information?), but what do we perceive and how this perception determines us not to act? This reflection is coupled with a precise geography situated in the South of France as a laboratory. From Porquerolles to Fos, which populations have been spared or exposed from industrial pollution to capitalist contamination of life and death? The archives are filled with a social and sensory narrative of resistance to this process of extreme toxicity. How was our perception targeted by a certain type of government and, for some of us, made it totally unfit to feel exposure to the risk of death?