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Monday, September 28, 2015

South Asia Seminar 10/1/15 - Colonial Ressentiment: A Global Genealogy by Sunil Agnani

Colonial Ressentiment: A Global Genealogy
by Sunil Agnani
Department of English and Department of History,
University of Illinois at Chicago

Date:  Thursday, October 1
Time:  4:00 p.m.
Place: 710 Social Sciences

But, you will ask, in what does this general will [volonté générale] reside? Where can I consult it?… In the principles of written law of all the civilized nations [les nations policées]; in the social practices of savage and barbarous peoples… and even in those two passions—indignation and resentment [l'indignation & le ressentiment]—which nature seems to have extended as far as animals to compensate for social laws and public retribution.
      —Diderot, “Natural Law” / Droit Naturel  (1755) from Encyclopédie
What might Diderot have meant in proposing that two passions, indignation and ressentiment, were the repositories for a general will, akin to written law (for civilized peoples) or social practices (for peuples sauvages)? This talk aims to trace one term which arises in some eighteenth-century writings on empire and slavery, namely that of ressentiment (in contrast with studies of sympathy, with which it is of course tied).

Sponsored by
: Consortium for the Study of the Asias, Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, Institute for Global Studies

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