20 May 2021
Is it our right to touch and be touched? When is it our ethical imperative to doubt our right to touch or the rightness of our touching?
The pandemic requires each of us to suspend our practices of coming into touch. It also requires us to suspend our certainty towards our freedom to touch. The opportunity to doubt our touch in each instance is also an opportunity to grasp touch itself differently. Touching is not just a private matter but has global consequences.
And yet the international rise of conspiracy theories and science denialism suggests that cultural skepticism is itself a kind of pandemic. One of the dangers of radical skepticism is its tendency to betray itself. The activity of doubting or questioning what is presented as truth, gives birth to a theory, which itself becomes the new dogma that cannot be questioned.
Cultural skepticism can be identified as a global crisis. Yet, other expressions of skepticism challenge a dogmatic-skepticism that justifies recklessness and violence. How does haptic skepticism—the suspension of touch—hold open the ethical and political space of questioning?
This roundtable discusses the varieties of cultural dogmatism and skepticism that have emerged during the pandemic. The participants will specifically explore touch as the site of radical certainty and doubt, by analysing pandemic experience through the lens of their recent publication A Touch of Doubt: On Haptic Scepticism, ed. by Rachel Aumiller (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021, open-access)
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Organized byRachel Aumiller
In cooperation with De Gruyter
In EnglishFirst published on: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/suspending-touch/
Rights: © ICI Berlin