Job Talk: Mothers, Daughters and Siblings: Ordinary Ethics and the Reconfiguration of Kinship Affinities in the Wake of Sexual Violence
Feb 18, 2016
from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
|Contact Name||Lise Nelson|
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This talk argues that the violence of sexual assault impacts the way sexual assault survivors negotiate intimacy with their kin. In the case that I draw upon in this discussion, members of the kinship leverage the power of the state to recast the ties between parents and children, and siblings. I argue that it often children who bear the inordinate burdens of violence within kinship networks, and who invite the state, through the legal system, to participate in the renegotiating of family relations. When the state does intervene, it is not the extraordinary events of formal prosecution or rape that necessarily comprise the event that (re)constitutes kin relations, but the ever-present potential of the law that is called on to negotiate family alignments and intimacies—the law is itself affect in these settings. By grounding my analysis in a fine-grained ethnography, this talk locates the kinship network as the a site of ethical practice in which sexual assault survivors and their kin seek to practice judgment, reasoning, responsibility, cultivation, and commitment while questioning social life.
About the Speaker
Sameena Mulla is Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. She is author of The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention (New York University Press, 2014), which was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize competition by the Society for Medical Anthropology. Her current research, a collaborative ethnography focused on the sexual assault trial as a site of cultural production, is supported by the National Science Foundation, and focuses on the ways in which adjudication practices rescaffold normative assumptions about gender, sexuality, race, violence, disability and childhood.