Peter Banki is a scholar, artist, festival producer and teacher. His book The Forgiveness To Come: the Holocaust and the Hyper-Ethical recently came out with Fordham University Press (December 2017). It is concerned with the aporias, or impasses, of forgiveness, especially in relation to the legacy of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. His current research interests include the politics of reconciliation and forgiveness in relation to cultural trauma, German Romanticism and the links between philosophy and sexuality.

Peter is also founder and director of the Festival of Death and Dying and the School of Really Good Sex. He is also currently an associate member of the Philosophy Research Initiative at the University of Western Sydney, where he has also lectured and tutored in the School of Humanities and Languages. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University
(September, 2009).

One of the most profound and intimate experiences is to be wounded and unable to forgive.
The inability to forgive may not be something that is simply chosen. Something very powerful continues to say ‘no’, even if one would like to say ‘yes’, to forgive the other, believing that it will make things easier, lighter and better from now on. In certain cases even after one has said ‘yes’ and meant ‘yes’, the ‘no’ insists.

To be refused forgiveness is also profound. Something in the other remains inaccessible, unattainable. And the past that one shares with the other—or with the other in oneself—is unclosed, like an incurable wound. In this workshop we will explore ways to re-imagine apology and forgiveness in our own lives and those of others, as well as in relation to the dead. We will do so through an encounter with philosophical and literary texts as well as through music and somatic practice.

The workshop will encourage you to think about apology and forgiveness not as a means to bring things back to the way they were, to some kind of normality, or otherwise as a means of moving on from wrongdoing and trauma, but as a way to bring something new into the order of what already exists or is otherwise possible or imaginable. As such, it presupposes an experience of vulnerability and risk, which we must undergo without any kind of assurance.

At the conclusion, you can expect to have an appreciation of the complexities of what such an invention of apology or forgiveness may entail, as well as a map of poetic ways to welcome the other into your lives as a catalyst for change.