Arts and Ideas
Jacqueline Rose, Professor of Humanities and Co-Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

The Legacy: Political Protest and the Denial of History

What is the legacy of a brutal political past? How does it pass down through the generations? At a time of persistent, or even growing, race, gender and class discrimination, and inequality, what does it mean to tell the young that they have been born free into a new world? What is the psychic temporality of protest? In this lecture Jacqueline Rose turns to South Africa to argue that, far from lifting the weight of history, such expectations lay an impossible burden on the children of the nation. How, she asks, might the psychoanalytic concept of the unconscious help us forge a path through some of these difficult questions as they press on our public life today? Drawing on the living archive of the University protests of recent years, on radical South Africa thinkers, alongside other voices from across the world who have struggled with a cruel history, she suggests that, as with the private life of the mind, only a continuous reckoning with the past, however agonised, can forge a path towards a more just and liveable future.

Free and open to the public; seating is limited.