Julia Kristeva proposes a new interpretation of the experience of revolt: far from simply a negation or contestation of the norm, revolt is a transvaluation of memory, a reconstruction of subjectivity. Setting out from this definition, Kristeva stresses the personal experience of revolt as an infinite refounding of the self, and as a motor of social change. Emphasizing the memory of language (etymology of the word revolt: reversal, discovery, revelation), the psychoanalytic experiment bequeathed us by Freud, art and literature (Aragon, Sartre, Barthes), and current events, Kristeva makes the case for an engagement. In this sense, engagement means an investment of personal initiative, in the refoundation of languages and social codes against the current of schemas and precipitations, illusions, and promises, and as Kristeva sees it, the ongoing banalization of minds. She will be joined by Kyoo Lee (Associate Professor of Philosophy at John Jay College, CUNY) as a discussant.
Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, sociologist, feminist, and, most recently, novelist. She is Professor Emeritus at the University Paris Diderot. Kristeva became influential in international critical analysis, cultural theory and feminism after publishing her first book Semeiotikè in 1969. She is also the founder and head of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize committee.