112th: Basak Ertur with Anthony Alessandrini, Judith Butler, and Samera Esmeir

Event date: 
10/13/2022 - 7:00pm

Join us at Book Culture 112th on Thursday, October 13th at 7pm for a reading and panel discussion of Spectacles and Specters: A Performative Theory of Political Trials with the author, Basak Ertür. She will be in conversation with Anthony Alessandrini, Judith Butler, and Samera Esmeir. 

In order to facilitate this in-person author event, we will be partially closing the second floor starting at 6:45pm. Please review our COVID-19 Safety guidelines and register for the event using the link below. 


or register using the following link: https://forms.gle/gCe35eJpcqpLD6EF9

About Spectacles and Specters:

Spectacles and Specters draws on theories of performativity to conceptualize the entanglements of law and political violence, offering a radical departure from accounts that consider political trials as instrumental in exercising or containing political violence. Legal scholar Başak Ertür argues instead that making sense of the often incalculable interpenetrations of law, politics, and violence in trials requires shifting the focus away from law’s instrumentality to its performativity.

Ertür develops a theory of political trials by reconstructing and building on a legacy of critical thought on Nuremberg in close engagement with theories of performativity. She then offers original case studies that introduce a new perspective by looking beyond the Holocaust trials, to the Armenian genocide and its fragmentary legal aftermaths. These cases include the 1921 trial of Soghomon Tehlirian, the 2007-21 Hrant Dink Murder Trial, and the 2015 case before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the denial of the Armenian genocide.

Enabling us to capture the various modalities in which the political emerges in, through and in relation to legal forms on the stage of the trial, this focus on law’s performativity also allows us to account for how sovereign schemes can misfire and how trials can come to have unintended political lives and afterlives. Further, it reveals how law is entangled with and perpetuates certain histories of violence, rather than simply ever mastering these histories or providing closure.

Anthony Alessandrini is Professor of English and Middle Eastern Studies at the City University of New York. He is the author of Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics and of the forthcoming book Decolonize Multiculturalism.

Judith Butler is currently Visiting Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and Distinguished Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. Butler’s latest book is What World is This? A Pandemic Phenomenology (Columbia, 2022).

Samera Esmeir is Associate Professor in the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the senior editor of Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory. She is the author of Juridical Humanity: A Colonial History (Stanford University Press, 2012) and is currently completing a second book titled, The Struggle that Remains: Between World and International.

Başak Ertür teaches at the School of Law, and co-directs the Centre for Law & the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. She is a Research Fellow at Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Event address: 
Book Culture
536 W 112th St
New York, NY 10025
Spectacles and Specters: A Performative Theory of Political Trials By Başak Ertür Cover Image
ISBN: 9781531501860
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Fordham University Press - November 15th, 2022