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

TRAGEDY AND PHILOSOPHY: CPCT Annual Conference 2021 (2-4 and 9-11 June, online)

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Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought
Annual Conference 2021
Goldsmiths, University of London

2-4 and 9-11 June, 2021
3:30-7:30pm BST, online

Keynotes: Miriam Leonard (UCL), Manfred Posani Löwenstein (Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici), Tina Chanter (Newcastle), Jeremy Glick (Hunter College, CUNY), Rebecca Comay (Toronto)

Register here for each session.

[**NB: Scroll down to see all 6 dates on the registration page.]


Pivotal for the history of aesthetics are the encounters between philosophy and tragedy that span from Ancient Greece to the decolonizing Caribbean. Ever since its infamous exclusion in Plato’s Republic and its theorisation in Aristotle’s Poetics, tragedy has played a number of often contrasting roles in philosophy’s own self-understanding. Tragedy has variously been conceived as an origin of philosophical (and dialectical) thought, as a limit to philosophy’s efforts at intellectual sovereignty, as well as a constant source of ethical exemplification and conceptual instruction. While conscious of the stakes of philosophy’s image of tragedy, this conference will try to expand its purview to look beyond and beneath a late-eighteenth early-nineteenth century idea of the tragic which has often come to saturate reflection on this relationship. Tragedy and Philosophy will therefore also seek to consider a variety of themes that transcend the equation between tragedy and the tragic, including: the contribution of anthropology and history to an understanding of the specificity of Greek tragedy; the place of femininity, lament and conflict in ancient Greek tragedies; the relation between music and words in tragedy, and its philosophical significance (including in tragedy’s repetition by modern opera); the early modern emergence of a poetics of tragedy irreducible to Aristotelian and Idealist or Romantic variants; tragedy as a reflection on sovereignty; tragedy as an art intimately linked to moments of crisis and transition.

This virtual conference is organised in sessions distributed over six days. Each panel will take place from 3:30-5:30pm BST and each keynote address from 6:00-7:30pm BST. Sessions will be followed by a discussion. A concluding roundtable will close the conference.


(Click here for full abstracts and bios.)

June 2 – Day 1: The Languages of Tragedy

Karen Bassi (UCSC) – Tragedy, Philosophy, and the Fear of Death

Edward Guetti (Hunter College, CUNY) – Disaster Realism: Between Felicitous and Tragic Conditions

Juliane Prade-Weiss (LMU Munich) – Ta(l)king Revenge: The Scandal of Lament in Tragedy

Malte Fabian Rauch (Leuphana) – Tragic Differing, Discordant Times: Reiner Schürmann’s Ruins

Keynote 1. Miriam Leonard (UCL) – Genres of Revolution [CANCELLED DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES]

June 3 – Day 2: On the Edges of the Tragic

Chad Córdova (Emory) – Beyond Tragic Teleology: Montaigne, Life Without End

David Takamura (Duke) – Schopenhauer’s Hamlet: The Tragic That Is Not Tragedy

Alice Giordano (Vita-Salute San Raffaele) – The Role of Rhythm in Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy

Carol Dougherty (Wellesley) – Tragedy as Metoikia

Keynote 2. Manfred Posani Löwenstein (Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici) – Nietzsche and the Tragedy of Reason

June 4 – Day 3: Antigone & Co. 

Matthias Fritsch (Concordia) – Antigone in the Anthropocene: A reading of Sophocles’ Antigone in view of Environmental and Intergenerational Relations

Fanny Söderbäck (DePaul) – Fantastic Antigones: The Tragic Legacy of Trans Grief

Agatha A. Slupek (Chicago) – “Moaning, only moaning? What will I do?”:  Aeschylus’ Eumenides and the Feminist Critique of Legalism

Yi Wu (Dartmouth) – “Guiltless though the guilt is still mine”: The Impotentiation of Truth in Euripides’ Helen

Keynote 3. Tina Chanter (Newcastle) – Unsilencing the Doubly Silenced Ground of The Tempest:  Taking up Wynter’s Reading of Miranda and Caliban

June 9 – Day 4: Tragedy, Liberation, Reparation

Letizia Fusini (SOAS) – Modern or Rather Traditional? Rethinking Tragedy in Early-Republican China

Dana MacFarlane (Edinburgh) – Michel Leiris’s Manhood: Tragedy and Authenticity

Jackqueline Frost (ITEM-CNRS/ENS) – Jean Genet, Lucien Goldmann and Anti-colonial Tragedy

Mario Telò (Berkeley) – Hecuba, or Tragedy’s Anarchivic Aesthetics

Keynote 4. Jeremy Glick (Hunter College, CUNY) – Coriolanus, Lumumba, and Tragedy: Laboratories of Faction/Laboratories of Research

June 10 – Day 5: Tragedy, Time and History 

Erik Doxtader (South Carolina) – Suffering (Last) Words for Wisdom, or, Tragedy Recognizing Language

 Agata Bielik-Robson (Nottingham) – Jewish Readings of Greek Tragedy: Cohen, Lukács, Rosenzweig, Benjamin

Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv/Chicago) – Walter Benjamin and the Enigmatic Stranger

Tamara Tagliacozzo (Roma Tre) – Tragedy, Trauerspiel and Music in Walter Benjamin

Keynote 5. Rebecca Comay (Toronto) – Lumpendialectic — or, Tragedy and Revolution (again)

June 11 – Day 6: Tragedy, Theology and Revolution

Beth Harper (Hong Kong U) – Renaissance Drama and Tragic Theology: a reading of Théodore de Bèze’s Abraham sacrifiant (1550) and George Buchanan’s Jepthes sive votum (1554)

Dimitris Vardoulakis (Western Sydney) – Tragedy or the Paradox of Practical Judgment?: Heidegger on Tragedy, Ethics and Politics

Gabriele Schimmenti (Roma Tre) – Bruno Bauer’s Critical Theory of Tragedy: The Aesthetics of Collision

Filippo Menozzi (Liverpool John Moores) – “Picking the Fruits of a Premature Condition”: Tragedy, History and Defeat in the Philosophy of Ernst Bloch

Closing roundtable discussion with keynote speakers

All welcome.

Organised by Alberto Toscano and Julia Ng


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