The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths University of London

Research Centre run jointly between the Departments of Sociology and English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths University, London

Intellectuals, Anti-Fascism, Critique: Revisiting the Writers’ Mandate – A Symposium (25 May 2018)

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To mark the publication of Franco Fortini’s essay collection A Test of Powers, edited and translated by Alberto Toscano, we present a short symposium on intellectuals and anti-fascism.

Fortini’s work and particularly the essay ‘The Writers’ Mandate and the End of Anti-Fascism’, presents an opportunity to interrogate the current nexus of critical thinking and anti-/fascism. Writing in the Italy of the mid-1960s, Fortini diagnosed the exhaustion of a certain ‘frontist’ model of the anti-fascist intellectual and, turning back to Bertolt Brecht’s intervention at the 1935 First International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture (‘don’t forget property relations’), he laid the groundwork for a radical questioning of the post-war figure of the Communist organic intellectual, one that would properly explode in the ‘red decade’ set off by Italy’s ’68. As spectres of fascism are conjured up throughout the globe, can we take Fortini’s polemical insights as a spur to think our present? This workshop will investigate literature and criticism as they confront the question of fascism and its constituent elements (racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, patriarchy, and, indeed ‘property-relations’).

Panel 1: The Crisis and Critique of Anti-Fascism: 
Fortini and Us

with Alberto Toscano, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and Esther Leslie

Panel 2: Cultures of Anti-Fascism, from the 1930s to Today

with Richard Seymour, Suman Gupta and Elinor Taylor

25th May, 10.00 – 5.00
Room B04
43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, WC1H
The event is free but please register here:

Organised by Birkbeck Institute of the Humanities and the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths.

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