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Writing, Starving, and the Biopolitics of Isolation: Ulrike Meinhof’s Letter From Prison

6 Oct 2016


This workshop focuses on Ulrike Meinhof, the ideological leader of the German leftist militant Red Army Faction ("Baader-Meinhof-Group”) who wrote, during the first phase of her imprisonment, a widely circulated literary text on the physical and mental effects of sensory deprivation. By marking it as the site of contestation of medical, psychiatric, administrative, and political discourses, Meinhof turns the body into a political weapon. Read in light of Germany’s National Socialist past and in conjunction with the group’s collective hunger strikes, Meinhof’s text offers insights into the deployment of biopolitical strategies—both on the part of the state and the prisoners. The evocation of cultural memory and recoding of cultural imagery in her writings aimed to mobilize a critical counterpublic against the state’s exercise of biopower, while reaffirming the prisoner’s subjectivity and political agency.


Monday 24/10/2016, 5pm, Mary Ryan Seminar Room, ORB G27

Department of German


First Floor, O' Rahilly Building, UCC