Moira Pérez Ph.D.

Fellow von Oktober 2021
bis Juli 2024

About the person

Moira Pérez studied Philosophy with an orientation in Practical Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina. She obtained her PhD in 2015 with the dissertation "Queer contributions to the representation of the past: political, epistemological, and aesthetic aspects", where she proposed a Queer Philosophy of History to analyze and produce historical narratives of marginalized collectives and "new identities". She currently holds a position as Assistant Researcher at the Argentine National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) and as professor at the Department of Philosophy, UBA. She also teaches in various postgraduate programs in Gender Studies in Argentina.
Moira was a Post-doctoral Fulbright scholar at New York University (USA) in 2016 and a Fellow at the 2019 ICSI Summer School (The New School, USA). She was also Visiting Professor at University of the Republic (Uruguay, 2017) and the Catholic University of Chile (2021). She currently directs the Research Group on Applied Philosophy and Queer Politics (PolQueer) and co-directs the Hub of Critical Studies and Philosophy of the Present (NECFiP), both based in the School of Philosophy and Literature, UBA. Her work brings together Practical Philosophy and Queer Theory, and focuses on various articulations between violence and identity. In the project she is currently pursuing as a National Researcher, "Building collective histories of vulnerable groups as a path to identity affirmation: contributions from Philosophy of History and Critical Epistemologies", Moira develops a theoretical framework incorporating elements from narrativist philosophy of history, postcolonial and decolonial studies, and feminist and queer epistemologies, in order to accompany the production of histories and memories of various initiatives and collective organizations related to imprisonment and prison abolition. Beyond this project, her broader research interests are epistemic violence (working both on the concept and its practical applications), and institutional violence (mostly applying intersectional queer perspectives on criminology, anti-punitivism and prison abolition). As a public philosopher, Moira has participated in many forums on these topics and has been a consultant for activist organizations and other political initiatives related to gender and sexual minorities and the violences and injustices that affect them.

Projekt am fiph

"Must monuments fall? The problem of difficult pasts in public space"

Among the numerous events and processes that shook 2020, we witnessed the boost of the global movement to tear down or remove monuments and statues commemorating controversial historical figures such as slave traders, colonialists or white supremacists. Debates flourished surrounding the "difficult past" -in this case, past events or figures that are related to injustices, but are still celebrated by many- and notions of artistic heritage, reparations, erasure, the right to public space, or deliberation. Questions tended to revolve around whether tearing down a statue was erasing history or destroying heritage, or where should the monuments be allotted and what should take their place.
This research project seeks to contribute to such discussions by expanding the realm of questions and the theoretical framework used to address them. The cases and debates emerged in 2020-2021 will be approached with an array of conceptual and argumentative instruments offered by philosophy of history and critical perspectives such as postcolonial and decolonial studies and queer theory. These frameworks allow us to understand initiatives to tumble down or vandalize monuments as interventions on hegemonic narratives with great performative and political potential; but they also point to other under-addressed issues around them. First, there is the question of whether and how the "difficult past" can be represented: what, if anything, could replace statues of the perpetrators in public space? Second, if interventions in public art are understood as a form of exercising democracy, then the issue of agency regarding such actions and decisions is central to how historically marginalized collectives are included, or not, in citizenship and a given polity. Thirdly, there is the question of how to address injustice and reparations to accompany interventions on monuments: again, citizenship and equal participation are at the core of what can or should happen "after" the monument, that is, how we relate to the past through our reconfiguration of the future. In addressing these questions through an empirically and theoretically informed analysis, the project aims to provide a philosophical contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon, and to develop concrete ideas on how we can deal with the "difficult past" in specific social and historical contexts.