What is "We"?
Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan with Chiara Ricciardone
“All articulations of collectivity – whether pedagogical or performative – are provisional, conditional, unstable, fabricated.” Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan.
This conversation between English scholar Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan and philosopher Chiara Ricciardone will consider the question at the heart of all this week’s events: what is “we?”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “we” is “the subjective case of the first person plural pronoun.” It is a pronoun “used indefinitely in general statements in which the speaker or writer includes those addressed, i.e. his or her contemporaries, compatriots, fellow human beings, etc.” “We” is an epistemology. “We” is an assumption of shared subjectivity, perspective, or experience. “We” is an invitation to affiliate. “We” is a promise and a threat. “We” is a tantalizing hallucination we cannot help but desire. “We” is what we write toward. Equally, “we” is what we must never reach.
Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan is assistant professor of English and Social, Cultural and Critical Theory at the University of Arizona. She has written for a wide range of scholarly and public venues on feminism, identity, literature, disciplinarity, and postcolonialism. She is currently at work on academic projects about the epistemology of ethnicity and “New India” nonfictions. raginitharoorsrinivasan.com / @raginits
Chiara Ricciardone is a writer, scholar, and activist whose research interests range from ancient Greek philosophy, rhetoric, and medicine to critical theory. She is currently the Klemens von Klemperer Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center of Bard College, and co-founder of the Activist Graduate School. She is also U.S. Commissioning Editor for The Philosopher. chiararicciardone.net / @BecomingChiara