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Docile Individuals? Privacy, Community, & State

General Programming

  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  • Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought
  • Department of Political Science

In conditions of shrinking private liberty and growing public apathy and personal anomie, what is meaningful individuality? How is individual freedom to be thought fruitfully in the face of the threat of surveillance, by the state as well as private actors? What are origins of individual docility, and possible sources of resistance? This conference brings together scholars from various fields to examine in an interdisciplinary discussion the meaning of individuality and individual liberty in today’s society.

Conference Program:

Friday, October 14
Location: Jerome Green Annex, Columbia Law School

5 - 7pm Keynote speech: “Tyranny and the Fate of Democratic Individuality”
George Kateb (Princeton University)

Saturday, October 15
Location: The Heyman Center, 2nd Floor Common Room

9.30-11am Panel 1: Market, Privacy, and Docility
Chair: Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)
Alex Zakaras (University of Vermont)
“Depoliticizing the Market: Nature and Providence in Early American Political Thought”
Helen Nissenbaum (New York University)
“Can Use Regulation Replace Privacy in a Free Society?”

11-11.30am Coffee break

11.30- 1pm Panel 2: Social Surveillance & Individual Freedom
Chair: Joshua Simon (Columbia University)
Nancy Rosenblum (Harvard University)
“Minding Our Own Business, Minding Our Neighbors”
Luise Papcke (Columbia University)
“Individuality in the Age of Marketed Surveillance”

2.30- 4pm Panel 3: Docility and Resistance
Chair: Simona Forti (University of Eastern Piedmont)
Nancy Hirschmann (University of Pennsylvania)
“Docile Body, Docile Will: A Feminist Disability Perspective”
Bernard E. Harcourt (Columbia University/Institute for Advanced Study)
“Rethinking Docility in the Digital Age: A Postmortem”

4 pm Closing Remarks, George Kateb

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  • George Kateb William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Emeritus Princeton University
  • Bernard E. Harcourt Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director, Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought Columbia University
  • Nancy Rosenblum Senator Joseph S. Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government Harvard University
  • Nancy Hirschmann Professor of Political Science; Director, Program on Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; Director, Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women University of Pennsylvania
  • Helen Nissenbaum Professor New York University
  • Alex Zakaras Associate Professor The University of Vermont
  • Luise Papcke PhD Student Columbia University