Violence, Vulnerability and the Politics of Being Human
Tim Huzar is a PhD student at the University of Brighton working with the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics. In 2013 he was awarded a doctoral research studentship within the research cluster 'Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence'. He is supervised by Dr Mark Devenney, Prof Bob Brecher and Dr Clare Woodford
Tim's research project explores the manner in which accounts of violence undermine received notions of what it is to be human. These may be ‘theoretical’ accounts of violence, as in the works of Judith Butler, Adriana Cavarero and Elaine Scarry, or they may be ‘narrative’ accounts of violence, as in, for example, the post-holocaust testimony of Primo Levi, David Rousset and Jean Améry. Whether theoretical or narrative (a distinction which can only be maintained so far), accounts of violence typically pose a challenge to established understandings of what it is to be human, either by demonstrating that what is ‘proper’ to being human is undermined in scenes of violence, or by demonstrating that violence already prescribes who counts as human to begin with. The negotiation of scenes of violence typically already presumes a particular understanding of the human, for example the human as vulnerable in Butler’s work, or the human as unique in Cavarero’s work. Rather than adjudicating between these accounts of the human, Tim’s project explores what each account is able to say about the human, and where each account reaches its limit.
Tim’s project begins by comparing Butler’s account of what it is to be human with Jacques Rancière’s refusal to offer such an account. It then explores the way scenes of extreme violence pose a challenge to established understandings of the human, through the work of Scarry and Cavarero. It finishes by thinking through the politics of being human in relation to recent accounts of nonviolence, as found in the work of Butler and Fiona Jenkins.
Tim's secondary research interest focuses on the politics of the public library, exploring the public library's instrumentalisation as a response to forms of social and cultural conflict.
Huzar, T. J. (2013) The Public Library, Democracy and Rancière’s Poetics of Politics. Information Research, 18(3).
Huzar, T. J. (2015) Democracy as Protest: Towards a Free University Brighton Students’ Union. Critical Studies, 1.