Identity and Abuse: Who Speaks? With What Right?


Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre Arts West (Building 148)


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Brittany Wilkins

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The Wednesday Lectures 2018 hosted by Raimond Gaita

What is it (does it mean) to be a man, a woman, or someone who thinks of themselves as neither? What is it (does it mean) to be an Aboriginal, Jewish, or Muslim man or woman?

These questions are both necessarily personal and, in different ways, necessarily public. For someone who asks them seriously they are questions that come from deep in their lives. Answers to them must be taken deep into their lives and tested there. But no one lives or thinks alone. No one necessarily understands themselves better than some others do. The interdependence between the personal and the public dimensions creates sometimes angry, even bitter tensions, especially when the public dimension is political, making claims on fellow citizens. In Australia and elsewhere, the culture wars over 'identity politics' has poisoned discussion of the diverse matters at issue. 'Who speaks, with what authority, what right and in what tone?' are now unavoidable questions in a conversation between citizens.

The Wednesday Lectures is an annual series of talks hosted by Professor Raimond Gaita that invites speakers from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds to offer their perspective on a subject of pressing public, and sometimes intensely personal, concern.


Professor Raimond Gaita, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Arts

Professor Raimond Gaita is Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Law School and The Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College London. Gaita's books include: 'Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception'; 'Romulus, My Father', which was made into a feature film with the same name starring Eric Bana; 'A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love & Truth & Justice'; 'The Philosopher's Dog'; and 'After Romulus'.