Scholar-in-Residence: Catherine Malabou

Catherine Malabou returned to UW-Madison to continue the conversation generated by her exciting 2010 Humanities Without Boundaries Lecture, “Is Plasticity a New Name for Freedom?” Working at the intersections of philosophy and neuroscience, Malabou takes up Hegel’s concept of “plasticity” – a term that suggests both openness and resistance – to forge connections between dialectics and deconstruction. Her work transforms continental philosophy as it reconceives the meaning of the political and the religious and rethinks the relationship between the brain and the world.

Endorsing Malabou’s bold interdisciplinarity, Slavoj Zizek writes, “As a rule, neuroscientists avoid two things like a vampire avoids garlic: Any links to European metaphysics, political engagement, and reflection upon the social conditions which gave rise to their science.”

Malabou teaches philosophy in Paris and Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo. Her recent publications include What Should We Do With Our Brain? (Fordham, 2009) and Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing (Columbia, 2009) in English, and Changer le difference, le feminine et la question philosophique (Galilée, 2009) in French.