Vancouver Institute for Social Research: Willow Verkerk

March 9, 2015

Willow Verkerk – Antigone’s Heroism


A recent proliferation of feminist and post-colonial literature admires Antigone as inspiration for activist heroism: her integrity, perseverance, and capacity to sacrifice make her a venerable archetype for resistance. Antigone’s defiance of Creon and civil law as a guardian of the family and of her own moral-religious beliefs poses her as such a figure for Judith Butler. But does this use of Antigone give fair due to her tragic circumstances and familial loyalties? Jacques Lacan’s reading of the Antigone asks us to consider what is at the source of her “splendour,” to question our redeeming beautification of this self-impelled victim. I ask what is ethically salient about Antigone that makes her heroic for contemporary visions of political activism.


Recommended readings:


The Vancouver Institute for Social Research (VISR) is an independent, para-academic, graduate-level, theory-based free school that began in Feb. 2013. Our intent is to move beyond the borders of the traditional university and to open up a more accessible platform in the city for the engaged discussion of critical theory.


The Institute’s fourth session will be organized around the theme of “Sovereignty,” and is being held from March 2 to April 27, 2015.


Once a week on Monday evenings from 7-9 pm at the Or Gallery (555 Hamilton Street), professors, grad students, and local activists will be presenting on topics of their choice. The seminar will be free to the public and advance readings will be distributed through our WordPress site. Videos of past classes can be found here.


Venue is wheelchair accessible

Participant Bios

Willow Verkerk is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven, Belgium. She specializes in 19th and 20th century German and French philosophy, contemporary feminist thought, and posthumanism. Her work has appeared in Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Philosophy and Literature, Nietzsche’s Therapeutic Teaching (Bloomsbury), and Philosophy Now.