‘One World, One Health, One Species? Cosmopolitics in the Pandemic.’ by Étienne Balibar | London Critical Theory Summer School 2021

Adding the problematic category “species” to the well-known motto of the World Health Organization’s “Manhattan Principles” leads us to reflect on the extent to which the Human Species, which is now “passively” unified through the global contagion of a single virus (although with potentially many variants), can also become the agent of a politics of life which aims at protecting equally all its members.

There are obstacles inherited from the past and more recent ones, which arise from the explosion of national and nationalist, imperialist and neo-imperialist, old and new racisms, corporate and financial interests that, for example, have plagued the distribution of vaccines across borders, as the same WHO has denounced. The species, therefore, is both unified and fractured. We must invent at the same time the objective and the conditions for a cosmo-bio-politics that is neither an adaptation nor a simple utopia.

This is a recording from 30th June 2021. Run by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the internationally renowned London Critical Theory Summer School enables graduate students and academics to engage in a two-week course of study with acclaimed critical thinkers.

Étienne Balibar is a French philosopher. He has taught at the University of Paris X-Nanterre, at the University of California Irvine and is currently an Anniversary Chair Professor at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston University and a Visiting Professor at the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: