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Experimental Critical Theory (ECT) Seminar: “Relationality as Ternary Structure: On Challenges and Openings for Relational Critical Thinking”

May 6 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Bunche Hall 6275, 11282 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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Kathrin Thiele (Director of the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG); Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University)

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In this talk I want to approach relationality as “ternary structure,” and explicate what kind of conceptual and practical shifts such onto-epistemological proposition enables. The goal is not to philosophically prove – against dualist traditions – that it is the relation(al) which makes and unmakes worlds. Rather, the question I pursue is what happens when we situate ourselves as always/already with/in relation(al) matters. With the help of contemporary cultural, queer feminist thinkers (amongst them Wynter, Berlant, Ferreira da Silva, Barad, Ettinger, Kirby), I aim to introduce meaningful aspects – challenges and openings – for an alternative to binary, sequential, and oppositional critical frameworks.

Kathrin Thiele is Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Critical Theory, Director of the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University, and Academic Director of the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG). Trained trans-disciplinarily in Gender Studies, Sociology, Literary Studies and Critical Theory, her research engages with questions of critical inquiry, ethics and politics from queer feminist, decolonial and posthuman(ist) philosophical perspectives. Thiele’s work aims to intervene in discussions around differences, in/equality, de/coloniality, ecologies and post/humanisms, and her critical attention lies most of all with the troubling consequences of a relational understanding of the world. She deeply engages with the inherent frictions, the processes of in/exclusion and the always asymmetrical power relations we inhabit. Thiele has published numerous monographs, edited volumes, and articles, including her forthcoming manuscript, Intra/Sectional Praxis: How to Think-Practice the World Otherwise (2024) and The Ends of Critique: Methods, Institutions, Politics (2022), eds. Thiele, K. C., Kaiser, B. M., & O’Leary, T.

This lecture is part of the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory (ECT) and the ECT Spring 2024 seminar on “Ternary Positionality: Relationality, Decoloniality, and Interpretation”, taught by Zrinka Stahuljak (Comparative Literature/ELTS).

The Spring 2024 ECT Seminar is generously sponsored by the Deans of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Comparative Literature and the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI).


May 6
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Bunche Hall 6275
11282 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States