AAG Names Judith Butler as the 2016 Honorary Geographer – news here. Here’s one key paragraph.
AAG Past President Mona Domosh will confer the 2016 AAG Honorary Geographer Award upon Judith Butler at the 2016 AAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco during her plenary session, “Demography in the Ethics of Non-Violence,” on Tuesday, March 29. Butler’s plenary will focus on “A principled approach to non-violence that often admits to exceptions where violence is conceded as legitimate. To what extent does the exception to nonviolence in the name of self-defense or for close kin implicitly make a distinction between lives worth saving and dispensable lives? A practice of non-violence has to take into account the demographic distribution of grievability that establishes which lives are worthy of safeguarding and which are less worthy or not worthy at all. Otherwise, both biopolitics and the logic of war can permeate calculations about when and where non-violence can be invoked. Does the demographic challenge revise our approach to non-violence? and if so, how?”
Back in 2007, the last time the AAG was in San Francisco, we invited Butler to give the Society and Space lecture for the journal’s 25th anniversary. The AAG scheduled the lecture in a very small room, and I had to ask them to give us the biggest room they had. (Eventually they did, and it was still packed to bursting.) It took a bit of work back then to get the big room, and at one point I asked the conference organiser ‘you don’t realise who Butler is, do you?’ His reply was that he didn’t, and wasn’t sure why he should. It seems that they do now – a good thing. I’m sure her lecture will be a big draw again, and I’m sorry I’ll miss it.