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

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Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lectures 2023: Bruno Bosteels (Columbia), 6 and 8 June 2023; online

The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought cordially invites you to the

Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lectures 2023

Bruno Bosteels (Columbia)

Part 1

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

3:00-5:30 pm BST, online

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The State and Insurrection

Respondent: Camila Vergara (Politics, Cambridge) 

Over the past decades, politics has taken a clear insurrectionary turn. Long before the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the Left too had begun identifying its momentum with various popular uprisings and insurrectionary movements. An updated version of Lenin’s classic text therefore could be titled The State and Insurrection, insofar as the focus on the takeover of state power has become a thing of the past for the radical Left. In Europe, for example, this trend had been growing ever since the events of 1968, while in Latin America the declining power and electoral defeats of the Pink Tide governments contributed to a similar exhaustion of state-oriented politics. The result in both cases, however, is an extreme impoverishment in the theory of the state—long considered a major lacuna in classical Marxism and nowadays for the most part replaced with a vague libertarian consensus against the cold monster of the state.

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Part 2

Thursday, 8 June 2023

3:00-5:30 pm BST, online

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Marx in Mexico, Mexico in Marx

Respondent: Andrés Saenz de Sicilia (Central Saint Martins) 

Among the so-called peripheries of the capitalist body, Marx always had a special interest in Mexico. While his and especially Engels’s support for the US invasion of Mexico long overshadowed this part of his investigations, the late Marx would devote some of his most fascinating Ethnological Notebooks to the interpretation of precapitalist economic formations and kinship structures among the Aztecs. In fact, long before he would copy and annotate the chapter on “The Aztec Confederacy” from Lewis H. Morgan’s 1877 Ancient Society, already in the 1850s William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Mexico had given him access to the notion of the calpulli, which forms the basis for a long underground history of communal revolts, all the way to Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution. Marx thus provides us with the materials for an alternative history and theory of the commune, independently of the 1871 Paris Commune.

Facebook event page for Pt. 2


Bruno Bosteels is professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, USA. His research covers a wide range of topics in literature, culture and politics in modern Latin America as well as contemporary philosophy and political theory. He is currently preparing two new books, the first a sustained polemical engagement with contemporary post-Heideggerian thought, titled Philosophies of Defeat: The Jargon of Finitude (Verso), and the other, its utopian counterpart, The Mexican Commune (Duke). A collection of essays is forthcoming under the title The State and Insurrection: New Interventions in Latin American Marxist Theory (Pittsburgh). 

Camila Vergara is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge and the author of Systemic Corruption. Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic (Princeton University Press 2020).  

Andrés Saenz de Sicilia is a British-Mexican philosopher and artist who teaches at Central Saint Martins. He has published widely on social and political philosophy in addition to leading socially engaged research projects and collaborations.

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Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lectures 2021: Monique David-Ménard (Paris), 25 and 27 May 2021, online

The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought cordially invites you to the

Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lectures 2021

Monique David-Ménard (Paris)

(Register here for both events)

Part I
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
6-8pm BST, online

Objects of Desire, Objects of the Drives, and Jouissance in Transference

Respondent: Darian Leader (CFAR)

For an analyst, expounding a clinical example is no mere illustration of a pre-existing theory. Rather, the exposition serves as a laboratory for the formation of concepts and thus of the capacity for critiquing previous theories. In my presentation, I will put this claim to the test by examining the significance and function of “The Thing” (das Ding), “desire,” “the objects of the drives,” and “jouissance” in the field of transference. Lacan wrote in L’Étourdit that “formalisation is our goal, our ideal” because there is something indeterminable directly in the analytic act due to the infinite equivocity of language. But do we only have a choice between an “integral transmission” by virtue of a matheme, and non-knowledge?

Part II
Thursday, 27 May 2021
6-8pm BST, online

Animism of the Unconscious: On the Animism of Property in Modern Right

Respondent: Alain Pottage (Law, Sciences Po, Paris)

Instead of seeking the connection of the social and the sexual in the mode of how subjects of desire are involved in forms of power and in relation to rights, what if we focused our attention on the various regimes of things? As anthropologists Marilyn Strathern and Maurice Godelier have demonstrated, things in the social are objects of exchange, of production, and of transmission. Our relations to things, especially to inanimate things, are not as rational as we generally suppose: things and objects condense the unknown in social relations. How is this unknown articulated with the unconscious objects of our desires? In my presentation, I will attempt to approach this animistic layer of socio-political existence from three angles: Hegel’s philosophy of abstract right, Freud’s account of the animism of the unconscious, and the comparison, made by Marilyn Strathern, between the role of mask-statues in New Ireland and patent rights and intellectual property in modern societies. The question is this: how do political struggles in democracies put into play animistic components of social relations?


Monique David-Ménard is professor emerita of philosophy at the University Paris-Diderot (Paris 7) where, as the Director of the Centre d’études du vivant, she established the field of research on “Gender and Sexualities.” She is also a practicing psychoanalyst and vice president of the Société de Psychanalyse Freudienne. Additionally, she is a co-founder of the ISPP (International Society for Psychoanalysis and Philosophy), an associate of the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Berlin), and a member of the International Network of Women Philosophers (UNESCO). She is the author of L’hysterique entre Freud et Lacan: corps et langage en psychanalyse (1983; English as Hysteria from Freud to Lacan: Body and Language in Psychoanalysis, trans. by Catherine Porter, 1989); La folie dans la raison pure: Kant lecteur de Swedenborg (1990); Les constructions de l’universel: psychanalyse, philosophie (1997); Tout le plaisir est pour moi (2000); Deleuze et la psychanalyse: l’altercation (2005); Éloge des hasards dans la vie sexuelle (2011); and, most recently, La Vie sociale des choses. L’animisme et les objets, Editions du Bord-de l’Eau, collection Totem et tabou (2020).

Darian Leader is a psychoanalyst working in London and a founding member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (CFAR). A major contributor to the field of psychoanalysis, his books include What is Madness?, Strictly Bipolar, Hands and Why Can’t We Sleep? He also regularly contributes articles on psychoanalysis to The Guardian.

Alain Pottage is Professor of Law at the Sciences Po, Paris. His research focuses on questions in the history and theory of intellectual property, and on the question of law in the Anthropocene.

Co-sponsored by The Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, London.


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Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lecture: Christoph Menke (Frankfurt), “The Critique of Law and the Law of Critique” (29 May 2019)

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CPCT cordially invites you to the 2nd Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lecture:

Christoph Menke (Frankfurt)

“The Critique of Law and the Law of Critique”

Wednesday, 29 May 2019
5:30 – 7:30 pm
LG01 Lecture Theatre
Professor Stuart Hall Building

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Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lecture – Alienation & Freedom: Frantz Fanon’s Lost and Last Works


Jean Khalfa and Robert J.C. Young give the first Goldsmiths Annual Philosophy Lecture, on the hitherto unpublished and unavailable works of Frantz Fanon.


1 June 2018

LG02, Professor Stuart Hall Building

Since the publication of The Wretched of the Earth in 1961, Fanon’s work has been deeply significant for generations of intellectuals, philosophers and activists seeking to radically interrogate our understandings of violence, race, political subjectivity, mental illness and the challenges of decolonization. In CPCT’s first annual lecture, we are joined by the editors of the landmark collection Alienation and Freedom. This volume collects together unpublished and unavailable works comprising around half of Fanon’s entire output – which were previously inaccessible or thought to be lost. This book introduces audiences to a new Fanon, a more personal Fanon and one whose literary and psychiatric works, in particular, take centre stage. Khalfa and Young will explore how these writings provide new depth and complexity to our understanding of Fanon’s entire oeuvre, revealing more of his powerful thinking about identity, race and activism which remain remarkably prescient. The talk will shed new light on the work of a major 20th-century philosopher, and on newly available texts which oblige us to take a fresh look at the intellectual history of anti-colonial and post-colonial thought, as well as to address with Fanon some of the most pressing theoretical issues of our time.

The lecture will be followed by a response by Jane Hiddleston and will also feature a performance-reading of excerpts from the two plays by Fanon included in Alienation & Freedom: The Drowning Eye and Parallel Hands. Continue reading