APA Women in Philosophy Series Blog (2019)

Jill Drouillard
Mississippi University for Women
On Oct. 24, 2019, French philosopher Sylviane Agacinski was scheduled to speak at the Université de Bordeaux-Montaigne on « l’être humain à l’époque de sa reproductibilité technique » [the human being in the era of its technological reproducibility]. Amidst “violent threats” and their purported inability to assure the safety of Agacinski, the organizers cancelled the event. Agacinski and other French intellectuals lament what they perceive to be part of a “drifting liberticide”, a form of censorship that forbids the exchange of ideas and forecloses open space for debate. The story goes that Agacinski, notable for her staunch opposition to surrogacy and extending assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) to non- heterosexual couples, as well as her anthropological claim that the fabric of our social order relies on the heteronormative structure of sexual difference, has been silenced. In a communiqué to the university, student organizations such as Riposte Trans and Mauvais Genre-s pleaded “no platform”, indicating that Agacinski’s reactionary homophobic and transphobic positions run contrary to the university’s mission of safeguarding against discrimination. What to do when an incitement to (epistemic) violence masks itself as free speech? Bring Sara Ahmed’s hammer to France.
Keywords Sylviane Agacinski, French bioethics legislation, assisted reproductive technology, non-heteronormative families
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