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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PUBLICATION: Special issue of Paragraph 45.3 (2022) on Derrida’s Geschlecht III

The latest issue of Paragraph 45.3 (2022), ed. Julia Ng, is now out and features articles that originated in papers delivered at the conference “Sex, Race, Nation, Humanity: Derrida’s Geschlecht III” that took place on April 8–9, 2019 at CPCT (https://cpct.uk/2019/03/22/programme-sex-race-nation-humanity-derridas-geschlecht-iii-april-8-9-2019/).

Here is the abstract of the issue’s introduction, co-authored by Julia Ng and entitled “Tender Violence, Coercive Simplicity, Geschlecht III: An Introduction”:

“This introduction to the special issue asks, in the company of Jacques Derrida’s recently ‘rediscovered’ seminar Geschlecht III, what it might mean to read this text against the grain of everything that is said in the German word Geschlecht, including the gesture of having made an archival discovery and its attendant enforcements of recovered origins, philological-genealogical authority, familial unity and consonance of signification. It reflects on how returning to Heidegger gives Derrida the opportunity to take stock of the risks and structural inequities inherent in texts and their legacies, and from which Heidegger retreats in the very instances he insists on his own attention to textual and philosophical idiomaticity. We explore how, for Derrida, Heidegger is indebted to a tradition of thinking sameness in difference that coerces conciliation in the name of achieving a ‘tender duality’ between pairs. With Derrida, we argue that Heidegger’s thinking on the two-in-need-of-compromise conceals a violence of domination or subordination to the gentle tones of simplicity and gathering. We ask, finally, what it means to specify (domestic, racial, anthropocentric) unicity as ‘good’ and what this implies for reading archives and legacies once we understand such specification as a form of coercion and violence.”

For the full TOC, see https://www.euppublishing.com/toc/para/45/3.


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CPCT Spring 2022-23 research seminar “Translating Global Critical Theory” –  Reflections on Translating Arab Marxism (18 Jan)

Wednesday, January 18– 5:30-7 pm GMT

Hicham Safieddine and Angela Giordani – Reflections on Translating Arab Marxism

Arab Marxist Mahdi Amel (1936-1987) applied class analysis during the era of national liberation to themes like sectarianism, political Islam, orientalism, culture and revolution, and the relationship of cultural heritage to modernity. His anti-colonial framing of capitalism in a colonial context sought to produce a new Marxist methodology. His work, which has been translated to English for the first time, challenges contemporary readings of leftist histories that are postmodern, liberal or Eurocentric. In this session we will discuss the volume Arab Marxism and National Liberation: Selected Writings of Mahdi Amel with its editor and translator and explore the relation of Amel’s thinking and writing to broader trends in Arab Marxism and critical theory.

Hicham Safieddine is Assistant Professor of History at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the political economy of finance and the intellectual history of modern Arab and Islamic thought. He is author of Banking on the State: The Financial Foundations of Lebanon (Stanford University Press, 2019) and editor of Arab Marxism and National Liberation: Selected Writings of Mahdi Amel ; Trans. Angela Giordani (Brill, 2021).

Angela Giordani is a historian of the modern Arab world with diverse interests in Islamic and global intellectual history. She holds a PhD in History (Columbia 2021) and is completing a book manuscript titled Scions of Ibn Sina: Arab Humanists and Islamic Philosophy in the Twentieth Century Currently, she is teaching modern Middle Eastern history at Smith College.

Zoom URL:

https://gold-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/92987594062


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CFP: The Critique of Violence from the 1920s to the 2020s, Northwestern U [deadline: 10 April 2022]

Call for Papers
 
The Critique of Violence from the 1920s to the 2020s


The Department of German, the Program in Comparative Literary Studies, and the Critical Theory Program at Northwestern University invite graduate students and early career researchers to participate in a colloquium in response to the publication of the new translation and critical edition of Walter Benjamin’s 1921 essay, “Zur Kritik der Gewalt” (Toward the Critique of Violence) recently published by Stanford University Press.  The colloquium welcomes explorations on any topic related to Benjamin’s essay or the additional writings gathered in the volume—those by Benjamin and as well as those by Hermann Cohen, Kurt Hiller, Erich Unger, Georges Sorel, and Emil Lederer.  In addition to giving brief accounts of how the new edition of “Toward the Critique of Violence” changes our understanding of Benjamin’s contribution to political theory, the two editors of the volume, Peter Fenves and Julia Ng, will respond to the presentations. 

The colloquium will take place on May 23, 2022 at Northwestern University.  Those interested in participating should send an abstract (approx. 250 words) for a 15-minute presentation to Jörg Kreienbrock (j-kreienbrock@northwestern.edu) by April 10th. All participants will receive a copy of Toward the Critique of Violence: A Critical Edition in preparation for their presentation and a modest honorarium. Participants will be responsible for their own accommodation and travel expenses. As noted above, the range of topics is entirely open; but it is expected that some of the presentations will be concerned with the political, cultural, and philosophical conditions of the 1920s in and beyond the European circumstances that come under discussion in Benjamin’s essay, while other presentations will be more concerned with present situations; still others may be directed far afield from both the 1920s and the 2020s as well as the European focus through which Benjamin explicitly frames his analysis and implicitly punctures as well.  The texts collected into Toward the Critique of Violence intersect with a wide variety of humanistic and social-scientific disciplines, and the colloquium welcomes proposals that reflect the breadth of Benjamin’s essay and its associated writings.  

We will aim to notify participants of their acceptance by April 15th.

Send your submissions to: j-kreienbrock@northwestern.edu

For further information, please contact: p-fenves@northwestern.edu
 


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

TRAGEDY AND PHILOSOPHY

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.]

DESCRIPTION:

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.

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Donna Jones (Berkeley) — The Promise of Decline: Race and the Rhetoric of Historical Pessimism in the Interwar Years (17 May 2021, CPCT “Critiquing Violence Today” series)

The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London cordially invites you to its Lecture Series 20/21 on “Critiquing Violence Today”:

The Promise of Decline: Race and the Rhetoric of Historical Pessimism in the Interwar Years

Donna Jones (Berkeley) 

Monday, 17 May 2021

4:00-6:00pm BST, Zoom

(To register please visit https://gold-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G5SHSXsMQgenm_PsYeYdeg

Donna Jones is Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley and the author of The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism and Modernity (Columbia UP, 2010). She is currently working on two two projects, The Ambiguous Promise of European Decline: Race and Historical Pessimism in the Era of the Great War and The Tribunal of Life: Reflections on Vitalism, Race and Biopolitics. 

Contact: centreforphilosophyandcriticalthought@gold.ac.uk


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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?

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

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.

Contact: centreforphilosophyandcriticalthought@gold.ac.uk


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Murad Idris (Virginia) — Idealizations of Peace in Islamic Political Thought: The Case of Sayyid Qutb (28 April 2021, CPCT)

The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London cordially invites you to its Lecture Series 20/21 on “Critiquing Violence Today”:

Idealizations of Peace in Islamic Political Thought: The Case of Sayyid Qutb

Murad Idris (Virginia)

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

4:00-6:00pm BST

Zoom

(To register please visit https://gold-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hK3LRdI9QUuIQlBUpercEg

 “Before us today is the problem of universal peace,” Sayyid Qutb declares in the prologue to his much-neglected Universal Peace and Islam (1951). “Does Islam have an opinion on the matter? Does Islam have a solution?” Albeit popularly considered the ideologue of “Islamic jihad,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading theorist designed a plan for universal peace. Qutb’s plan pegs the emergence of universal peace to an immanent organization of individual states with laws in common. Its promise of peace is embedded in an Enlightenment script that claims to correct unjust savagery through the state and the law. This is a script that calls up Immanuel Kant and Thomas Hobbes, specifically their predications of peace on law and statehood. Drawing attention to Kant’s discussions of “the Arab” and Hobbes’s references to empire, this talk unpacks the unacknowledged salience of denials of law, political economy, and settler colonialism for theorizations of peace. Qutb’s adaptations of that familiar logic unwittingly expose its limits, culminating with perpetual war against enemies whose laws and form are ‘wrong.’ 

This talk draws on a chapter of Idris’s book, War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2019), which recently won the David Easton Award from APSA’s Foundations of Political Theory Section (2020). The book deconstructs dominant formulations of peace in the writings of Plato, al-Farabi, Aquinas, Erasmus, Grotius, Gentili, Hobbes, Ibn Khaldun, Immanuel Kant, and Sayyid Qutb.

Murad Idris is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Virginia and the author ofWar for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Contact: centreforphilosophyandcriticalthought@gold.ac.uk


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Eric Santner — Canine-ical Theory: On Kafka’s ‘Researches of a Dog’ (17 March 2021)

The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London cordially invites you to its Lecture Series 20/21 on “Critiquing Violence Today”:

Canine-ical Theory: On Kafka’s ‘Researches of a Dog’

Eric Santer (University of Chicago)

Wednesday, 17 March 2021
4:00-6:00pm GMT
Zoom
(Click https://gold-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g7WM5YjsQo-ObbbG6sVAlA to register)

In the paper I will present a reading of Kafka’s story about a dog’s effort to develop a new science. I will argue that this science has not only much in common with Freud’s innovation but also that it shares a great deal with what Foucault was after in his engagement with the Cynics, the stray dogs of philosophy.

Eric L. Santner is the Philip and Ida Romber Distinguished Service Professor of Modern Germanic Studies. He is the author of a number of books that explore the boundary zones between philosophy, literature, and psychoanalysis.

Contact: centreforphilosophyandcriticalthought@gold.ac.uk


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Rocío Zambrana — On Debt: Neoliberal Coloniality in the Colony of Puerto Rico (25 Feb 2021)

The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London cordially invites you to its Lecture Series 20/21 on “Critiquing Violence Today”:

On Debt: Neoliberal Coloniality in the Colony of Puerto Rico

Rocío Zambrana (Emory University)

Thursday, 25 February 2021
4:00-6:00pm GMT
Zoom
(Click https://gold-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EV-rUCRuTPug_Ncz8JKh_g to register)

Debt functions as a form of coloniality in the colony of Puerto Rico. It operates not only as an apparatus of capture and predation, intensifying a neoliberalism reconfigured by the financial crisis. It also operates as a form of coloniality, actualizing a race/gender norm installed and updated throughout an ongoing colonial history. Placing in conversation Marxist approximations to financial neoliberal capitalism, decolonial thought, and decolonial feminism in Puerto Rico, this talk considers the work of debt in updating modalities of gender and racial, particularly antiblack, violence. 

Rocío Zambrana is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. She is the author of Hegel’s Theory of Intelligibility (U Chicago Press, 2015) and Colonial Debts: The Case of Puerto Rico (Duke UP, forthcoming), as well as numerous articles on German Idealism, Marxism, and Critical Theory. She is the co-editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and a columnist for 80grados

Contact: centreforphilosophyandcriticalthought@gold.ac.uk


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Singularity’s -abilities: In Celebration of Samuel Weber’s 80th Birthday (1 Dec 2020)

Please join us for Singularity’s -abilities: In Celebration of Samuel Weber’s 80th Birthday this Tuesday December 1st at 9am CST. Speakers, agenda, and registration info below.

Presentations will be in English and German. All times are local to Chicago, USA.

Speakers:

9:00am – 10:00am — Singularity’s Inscriptions

Isabelle Alfandary – Learning to Read with Sam Weber
Julia Ng – Whistling Lillabullero
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger – Schreiben und Experimentieren
Bernard Geoghegan – Theatricality and AI
(Moderator: James Martel)

10:15am – 11:15am — Singularity’s Philosophy

Peter Fenves – Singularity, Again
Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky – The Ever New Angel
Diego Rosello – The Task of Thanking: Thanking as Thinking with Samuel Weber
Laura Chiesa – tba
(Moderators: James Martel, Julia Ng)

11:45am-12:45pm — Singularity’s Politics

Marian Hobson – How can classification be violent? Weber and Derrida
Javier Burdman – Sam Weber’s Response to Lyotard’s Just Gaming and the Elusive Link between Deconstruction and Politics
James Martel – Singularity and the Commandment: another form of law
Héctor Castaño – Singularity in Translation and the Economy of Cultural Difference 
(Moderator: Julia Ng)

1:00pm – 1:30pm Response by Samuel Weber

Organized by Jörg Kreienbrock, James Martel, Julia Ng, and generously co-sponsored by Northwestern University, San Francisco State University, and the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London

REGISTER HERE for Zoom link