Zona Zaric


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Dr. Zona Zarić is a philosopher and feminist, Professor of Political Philosophy and Contemporary Political Thought at The American University of Paris, and Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade University. In her work, she focuses on problems of political and moral philosophy. 

She holds a PhD from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Ulm, Paris), in which she proposed a stabilized conceptualization of the notion of compassion and its political use - as a way to support the autonomous becoming of a vulnerable other and to face certain challenges induced by the triumph of individualism. What is the need to make compassion a political concept? How can we broaden the scope of our collective political attention? By virtue of what can we reinterpret the ethico-political heritage in the light of a new questioning of the meaning of the relationship to the other? To achieve a philosophy of compassion, which is both a politics of compassion and a praxis. By bringing to life a neo-modernity of compassion, by putting Western moral philosophies in dialogue, starting with Simone Weil, Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and ending with Hannah Arendt and Martha Nussbaum, in order to find a transcendence, a kind of atheistic spirituality that emerges in the present of the relationship to the Other.

The problem of compassion lies in a very strange dynamic of the phenomenon, a phenomenon that blurs the boundaries of the ordinary categories: subject and object, self and other, enjoyment and suffering; all the elements that are linked to a set of contradictions and opposites are in a way overturned and resolved by the mechanism of compassion. This is why it is so difficult to determine the way in which it is realized and concretized. Compassion thus undoes the overly ordered partitions that the history of philosophy intended to freeze: the separation of the private and the public, of the intimate and the political, of reason and emotion. It is this subversive quality of compassion, that is able to transcend dualisms. The present theoretical moment, agitated by questions as vast as feminism or ecology, calls into question all the distinctions that compassion unravels.

She is the co-author of the edited volume Soin et Compassion: le sujet, l’institution et la Cité (Care and Compassion: the individual, the institution and the polis, Edition Hermann, 2021), as well as numerous scientific articles in English and in French. She holds a law degree from the University of Belgrade and a master's degree in international relations from the American University of Paris. She is currently writing the first monograph on Nancy Fraser's work (Edinburgh University Press, Thinking Politics).

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