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Genos between phusis and technê

Emanuela Bianchi (New York University)

Respondent: Gabriele Galluzzo (University of Exeter)

28 January 2021, 17:00 p.m. (UK time)

This paper considers the Greek concept of genos in relation to phusis on the one hand, and technē on the other.  Genos carries a range of meanings, from lineage, breed, kinship, race, or gender, to kind or type in the general sense. To what extent is it a way of, or framework for, encountering phusis, and to what extent might it be understood as a kind of knowledge in relation to human making, that is, as a sort of technology or set of techniques with a particular kind of aim? Using gender (one meaning of genos) as a primary framework, I investigate epic, tragic, and philosophical texts to show how the technical sense of genos emergent in Greek thinking is always haunted by an excess, fluid and feminine, found on the side of phusis, and therefore cannot remain stable and selfsame.

Emanuela Bianchi is a philosopher and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature with affiliations in Classics and Gender and Sexuality Studies at New York University. She is the author of The Feminine Symptom: Aleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos (Fordham, 2014)co-editor of Antiquities Beyond Humanism (Cambridge, 2020), and publishes widely on questions of nature and gender in Greek Antiquity.

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