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The GW Philosophy Department at Columbian College is proud to present Villanova University Professor Vincent Lloyd as the speaker for this year's Elton Endowed lecture. Read an abstract of his talk, titled "The Concept of Abuse; Or, Harriet Jacobs as Enslaved Philosopher."


"In the last few years, the language of abuse has been used increasingly widely and loosely. It has come to mean many sorts of harms and discomforts, and to be used interchangeably with violence, insult, trauma, and domination. I argue that beneath these varied uses of ‘abuse’ is a concept with distinctive features. These features are being brought to light in Gen Z culture, but they were also brought to light by Harriet Jacobs, the nineteenth century abolitionist whose acclaimed memoir tells of her escape from slavery. I argue that we can read Jacobs as a philosopher, and that doing so clarifies the meaning of abuse and makes it a useful tool, extracting it from the muddled language of harm in which it currently circulates."

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