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

Research Centre based in Sociology and run jointly with the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University, London

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Baudelaire and Philosophy—A British Society of Aesthetics Conference, 5-6 June 2019

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Baudelaire and Philosophy

An international conference supported by the British Society of Aesthetics and organised by the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought

Goldsmiths, University of London, 5-6 June 2019 

Charles Baudelaire is a pivotal reference for debates on modernity, criticism and poetics, though in the domains of philosophy and critical theory his work is often approached solely through the prism of contemporary commentary. Taking Baudelaire’s own references to philosophy seriously, this conference will also explore the complexity of the relation between the received understanding of Baudelaire as a prophet of modernity and his opposition to any idea of progress that would reduce poetic beauty to a vehicle for social and moral development. Baudelaire and Philosophy aims to do justice to the richness, complexity and ambiguity of Baudelaire’s critical and poetic writing, to explore his relation to philosophy and the philosophical, and to interrogate his place as a synonym for a certain idea of modernity.

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Kevin McLaughlin (Brown) — Philology of Life: Benjamin’s Literary Critical Program (10 June 2019)

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CPCT and the Walter Benjamin London Research Network cordially invite you to

Philology of Life: Walter Benjamin’s Literary Critical Program

A talk by Kevin McLaughlin (Brown)

Monday, 10 June 2019
6:00 – 8:00pm
Richard Hoggart Building 137a, Goldsmiths
** followed by a wine reception

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The Dash— A Workshop with Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda (May 25)

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25 May 2019

Room RHB 144

Richard Hoggart Building

In The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing (MIT Press, 2018), Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda present a reading of Hegel’s most reviled concept, absolute knowing. Their book sets out from a counterintuitive premise: the “mystical shell” of Hegel’s system proves to be its most “rational kernel.” Hegel’s radicalism is located precisely at the point where his thought seems to regress most. Most current readings try to update Hegel’s thought by pruning back his grandiose claims to “absolute knowing.” Comay and Ruda invert this deflationary gesture by inflating what seems to be most trivial: the truth of the absolute is grasped only in the minutiae of its most mundane appearances. What if everything turns out to hinge on the most inconspicuous and trivial detail—a punctuation mark?

Rebecca Comay is a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto

Frank Ruda is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Dundee

Places are limited to so please register ahead of time with

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Chukrov and Tomsic on Marxism and Psychoanalysis (May 31)


Marxism and Psychoanalysis: Alliance or Conflict? 

From Soviet Psychology to the Present

Samo Tomsic and Keti Chukhrov

31 May 2019
Professor Stuart Hall Building Room PSH 305

The critique of psychoanalysis in Soviet Marxist philosophy and psychology was predicated on the secondary role of the unconscious and hence of ‘psychics’, in the construction of the social subject. Key studies such as Voloshinov’s Freudianism (1976) and Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (1929) and Leontiev’s Activity and Consciousness (1977), insisted that what functions as lack and alienation in psychoanalysis are in fact socio-economic categories and hence prone to dissolution under communism, having no stable ontology of their own. Consequently, the unconscious is simply that part of consciousness, which has not yet acquired awareness; indeed consciousness is nothing but an assemblage of socio-cognitive activity and labour, and therefore precisely an extension of social production. This classical mode of Marxist argumentation was subject to severe critique in the 1970s such as Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy (1974), Guattari’s Machinic Unconscious (1979) and Castoriadis’s The Imaginary Institution of Society (1975). In these texts desire and the unconscious were claimed as the irretrievable force of capitalism’s libidinal and phantasmatic nature. Meanwhile Lacan’s critique of philosophy’s reliance on consciousness in the 1960s was even stricter, calling the transparently rational subject a fatal error of philosophy. What, therefore, is left of the Soviet Marxist critique of psychoanalysis? This symposium will explore this question, specifically through a discussion of subjectivity and the social function of language, from these two drastically opposed standpoints. Continue reading

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CHASE-funded screening event ‘A Berlin Childhood around 1900 – A Project in Progress’

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CHASE-funded screening event ‘A Berlin Childhood around 1900 – A Project in Progress’

Friday, May 10  18:00 – 21.00 
Professor Stuart Hall Building LG01 – Goldsmiths, University of London

Attendance is free but registration is required, please register here:

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