Apr 16 2017

Futures of Political Theology: Nomos, Demos, Pseudos

Daniel_4_Beasts

Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An International Symposium at Kingston University

Keynote speaker: Elettra Stimilli (University of Rome La Sapienza)

Upon the occasion of some strange or deformed birth, it shall not be decided by Aristotle, or the philosophers, whether the same be a man or no, but by the laws - Thomas Hobbes, The Elements of Law Natural and Politic.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? – W.B. Yeats, ‘The Second Coming’

What – strange, deformed, beastly – species of political order is struggling to be born today? To be sure, political praxis and theory has sought to narrate the history of the contemporary from the financial crash of 2008 to the election of Donald Trump in 2016 in many different and competing ways. In the early 21st century, we are said to be witnessing everything from the death of liberalism, globalization and internationalism to the birth of a new extreme populism, protectionism and isolationism – all presided over by a new kind of Demogorgon (people-monster).

Yet, what arguably makes our current crisis so difficult to name is that it is not merely a political crisis but a crisis of the political – of the particular triangulation between truth, authority and representation that has dominated politics since the early modern period. If we are experiencing a new set of constitutional crises in Europe, America and elsewhere – between executive, legislature and judiciary, between national and transnational sovereignty and more widely between representative and direct democracy – it is perhaps because they reflect a larger and more profound political dissensus about who or what – if anyone – has the authority to decide upon truth. In this sense, contemporary media controversies – ‘post-truth’, ‘fake news’, ‘alternative facts’ – are merely a symptom of a much deeper political ontological pathology where nomos, demos and pseudos meet and clash.

This international symposium gather together a group of distinguished interdisciplinary scholars – including philosophers, political theorists, theologians and cultural critics – to explore not simply the future of political theology but the political theology of the future. What can the conceptual resources of political theology – the messianic, the apocalyptic, the eschatological and so on – contribute to a re-thinking of the future? How might political theology intervene in, and re-imagine, our contemporary crises of truth, authority, representation, economy, populism and so on? What might a political theology of the 21st century look like?

Elettra Stimilli is Senior Research Fellow of theoretical philosophy at the Department of Philosophy at Sapienza University of Rome. She is also editor-in-chief of the series “Filosofia e Politica”, published by Quodlibet (Macerata). She is author of numerous essays that focus on the relationship between politics and religion, with particular attention to contemporary thought. Among her publications are Debito e colpa (2015) and the only existing monograph on Jacob Taubes: Jacob Taubes. Sovranità e tempo messianico (2004). She also translated into Italian and edited many works of this author, in particular Jacob Taubes, Der Preis des Messianismus: Briefe von Jacob Taubes an Gershom Scholem und andere Materialen (2006). Her new book The Debt of the Living. Ascesis and Capitalism (2017) has just been published by SUNY Press.

Speakers: Ward Blanton (University of Kent); Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University); Antonio Cerella (Kingston University); Michael Dillon (Lancaster University); Howard Caygill (Kingston University); Dario Gentile (University of Rome 3); Yvonne Sherwood (University of Kent); Tracy B. Strong (UCSD/University of Southampton); Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

9.00 am – 7.30 pm

2 June 2017

Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, John Galsworthy building, Room 003

For more information email: A.Cerella@kingston.ac.uk


Dec 12 2016

What is the Contemporary?

Unknown

Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

A launch event for contemporary@lancaster, a new research centre for contemporary writing and thought at Lancaster University

‘Of whom and of what are we contemporaries? What does it mean to be contemporary?’

 —Giorgio Agamben’s “What Is the Contemporary?” from What is an Apparatus? and Other Essays, trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella (Stanford University Press, 2009).

 2.00 pm Terry Eagleton (Lancaster), ‘The Swindle of the Contemporary’

3.00 pm Break

3.15 pm Michael Greaney (Lancaster), ””How soon is now?”: The contemporaneity of Never Let Me Go

Muren Zhang (Lancaster), ”The Temporality of Neo-Victorianism: Looking Backward, Moving Forward’

Lynne Pearce (Lancaster), ‘Driving, thinking, dreaming  . . . and the case against Driverless Cars’

4.30 pm Mark Currie (QMUL) ‘Contingency in Contemporary Writing’

5. 30 pm Close

Mark Currie is Professor of Contemporary Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. His research focuses on the theory of narrative, on literary theory, and on contemporary fiction. His recent publications include The Invention of Deconstruction (2013), About Time (2007, 2011) and The Unexpected (2013) and he is currently working on a new book on contingency in contemporary literature.

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University. He is the author of more than 40 books including most recently The Event of Literature (2012), Culture and the Death of God (2014), Hope without Optimism (2015) and Culture (2016).

1st February 2017

Peter Scott Gallery

Lancaster University

All Welcome


Jun 19 2016

The Body of War: Drones and Lone Wolves

anti-drone-burqa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An International Symposium on the future of war at Lancaster University

Keynote speaker:

Derek Gregory (Peter Wall Distinguished Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia)

13 November 2015: three suicide bombers blew themselves up near the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, killing themselves and a bystander, and triggering a series of violent actions that caused 130 casualties.

15 November 2015: the President of France, François Hollande, after defying the attacks ‘an act of war’ by the Islamic State, launched a three-month state of emergency and ‘Opération Chammal’, a huge airstrike campaign against ISIL targets in Syria.

These two violent actions design a deformed and limitless theater of war, within which all distinctions and limitations elaborated by International Law seem to disappear. It is not merely the loss of the fundamental distinction between combatants and civilians, that both suicide bombers and airstrike bombings signal. In the current situation, all the fundamental principles that gave birth to the Laws of War seem to collapse: spatial and temporal limitations of hostilities, proportionality of military actions, discrimination of targets, weapons and just methods to use them. In this way, the ‘enemy’, from a juridical concept, is transformed into an ‘ideological object’; his figure, pushed to a climax from both these ‘invisible’ and ‘mobile’ fronts, becomes absolute and de-humanized. Hollande, Cameron and Obama’s unwillingness to use ground troops against the ‘uncivilized’ (Kerry 2015) is mirrored by the ISIL call to intensify suicide missions against the ‘cowards’ (Dābiq, 12: 2015).

But what lies behind the asymmetric confrontation between airstrikes and ‘humanstrikes’, behind the blurring of the distinction between the state of war and state of peace? What notion of humanity are the physical disengagement of the Western powers (with their tele-killing via drones and airstrikes) and the physical engagement of suicide bombers (ready to turn their bodies into a weapon) trying to convey? In other words, how and to what extent is there a connection between the automatization and biopoliticization of war operated by Western powers and the sacrificial nature of the conflict adopted by those who want to fight these powers?

In this symposium, our intention is to explore these questions in order to map the crucial transformations of warfare, of its ethical principles and methods of engagement. We invite potential participants to submit abstracts drawing upon, but not limited to, such issues as:

  • Theatres of War: The New Spatialities and Temporalities of Warfare
  • Mirror Images? Drones vs. Suicide Bombers
  • Phenomenology of Drones
  • New Perspectives on Ethics, Horror & Terror
  • The Ubiquity of the Enemy: Lone Wolves and Self-Representing Terror
  • The Collapse of International Law: What Enemy? Which Proportionality?
  • The Body as a Weapon: The Immanentization of Martyrdom
  • Phenomenology of Lone Wolves
  • The End of Law: Rethinking Limitation, Proportionality and Discrimination

Please send abstracts of 250 words by August 15th 2016 to bisagroup.cript@gmail.com. If accepted, participants will be expected to submit the full paper by October 15th 2016.

Lancaster University

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

24th-25th November, 2016

This conference is generously funded by the British Association of International Studies, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Lancaster University) and the Institute of Social Futures (Lancaster University).

Image: Adam Harvey, Anti-Drone Burqa


May 6 2016

Critical Theory and Life: Ethics, Religion, Ecology

436892a-i1.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale doctoral workshop at the University of Geneva 

Speakers:

Ann-Lise Francois (University of California, Berkeley)

Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University)

This one-day doctoral workshop aims to examine the situation of theoretical work in English studies in the early Twenty-First Century. Despite millennial proclamations of the ‘death of theory,’ critical theory remains alive and kicking. Indeed, the status of ‘life’ and ‘the living’ are key areas of contemporary theoretical interest. The continued need for theory in our era is often read as part of a larger ‘ethical turn’ in philosophy, but a range of questions about ‘life’ might provide a more politically-pertinent way of imagining this need. Such an interest stretches from a concern with the possible futures for biological life on earth in the era of the anthropocene, through to the rediscovered interest in political theology and biopolitics (or the politicization of life) in our era. These concerns and interests find theirhistorical place in the context of increasingly urgent modes of address to the diminished possibilities and hopes for everyday life post-2008, and they articulate the ways in which the very affective states of hope and optimism, as well as economic practices of enclosure and reserve that bind bodies to the political economies of the western world have become, to quote Lauren Berlant, ‘cruel.’ The day will be book-ended by interventions from our two speakers, whose work addresses in profoundly distinctive ways different aspects of these turns in recent theory. Each participant will also be invited to select a theoretical text that has shaped their way of reading literature, and to describe the impact of that text on their own work. Short excerpts from each text will be circulated to all participants beforehand. Our keynotes will be asked to do likewise, and in the morning, a reading group will be organised around their chosen texts. In the afternoon, doctoral students will be invited to present their work in progress, and to articulate the ways in which their work can be seen to be in dialogue with the theme of the workshop. The aim of the workshop is to be as inclusive as possible-it is not meant solely for those working on different aspects of critical theory or contemporary literature (while participants working in these areas will of course be extremely welcome). Indeed, the very fact that this workshop aims to examine theory in the context of a history of the present invites a range of responses. Those working on, say, early modern or Medieval religion, or on the body/affect, or those who simply want to get up to speed with current trends in theory, and to connect their own work with it, are very welcome.

10.00-5.30 May 26th 2016

University of Geneva

Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale

Register at: https://english.cuso.ch/upcoming-modules/


Mar 3 2016

Roberto Esposito’s Two: A Roundtable

R-Esposito1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A roundtable discussion of Roberto Esposito’s new book Two: The Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought at Lancaster University.

The debate on ‘political theology’ that ran throughout the twentieth century has reached its end, but the ultimate meaning of the notion continues to evade us. Despite all the attempts to resolve the issue, we still speak its language—we remain in its horizon.

The reason for this, says Roberto Esposito, lies in the fact that political theology is neither a concept nor an event; rather, it is the pivot around which the machine of Western civilization has revolved for more than 2,000 years. At its heart stands the juncture between universalism and exclusion, unity and separation: the tendency of the Two to make itself into One by subordinating one part to the domination of the other. All the philosophical and political categories that we use, starting with the Roman and Christian notion of ‘the person’, continue to reproduce this exclusionary dispositif.

To take our departure from political theology, then—the task of contemporary philosophy—we must radically revise our conceptual lexicon. Only when thought has been returned to its rightful “place”—connected to the human species as a whole rather than to individuals—will we be able to escape from the machine that has imprisoned our lives for far too long.

This roundtable brings Roberto Esposito together with scholars from political theory, philosophy and religious studies to discuss the machine of political theology and the place of thought.

Participants:

Roberto Esposito (Scuola Normale Superiore)

Agata Bielik-Robson (University of Nottingham)

Ward Blanton (University of Kent)

Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University)

Antonio Cerella (UCLAN)

Michael Dillon (Lancaster University)

2 pm Thursday, 19th May

Frankland Colloquium Room

Faraday Building

Lancaster University

This event is free and open to all. In order to reserve a place, please email Arthur Bradley at a.h.bradley@lancaster.ac.uk

 

 


Jan 19 2016

Isaac Julien’s KAPITAL

timthumb

 

A screening of Isaac Julien’s installation KAPITAL followed by a discussion with Isaac Julien and Mark Nash (Royal College of Art), chaired by Jackie Stacey (University of Manchester) at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.

KAPITAL is a two-screen work centering around a conversation at the Hayward Gallery, London between Isaac Julien and renowned Marxist academic David Harvey (author of the book The Enigma of Capital). Julien opens the film by asking why capital is so difficult to depict, to which Harvey deftly replies: “in the same way you can only really intuit gravity exists by its effects, you can really only intuit that capital exists by its effects.” Staged as part of a seminar entitled Choreographing Capital organised by the artist at the Hayward Gallery in 2012, the event saw notable interventions from theorists, critics and curators such as the late Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Irit Rogoff and Colin MacCabe. Julien has always made work in collaboration, conversation and exchange but this is the first time he has opened up the complex and rigorous research processes that lie behind his working methods.

Isaac Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his films The Long Road to Mazatlán (1999), made in collaboration with Javier de Frutos and Vagabondia (2000), choreographed by Javier de Frutos. Earlier works include Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996), Young Soul Rebels (1991) which was awarded the Semaine de la Critique Prize at the Cannes Film Festival the same year, and the acclaimed poetic documentary Looking for Langston (1989), which also won several international awards. Julien was visiting lecturer at Harvard University’s Schools of Afro-American and Visual Environmental Studies between 1998 and 2002. He was also a research fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2000-2005), and is currently both faculty member at the Whitney Museum of American Arts and Professor of Media Art at Staatliche Hoscschule fur Gestaltung Karlsruhe, Germany. He was the recipient of the Performa Award (2008), the prestigious MIT Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts (2001) and the Frameline Lifetime Achievement Award (2002). His work Paradise Omeros was presented as part of Documenta XI in Kassel (2002). In 2003 he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne for his single screen version of Baltimore; in 2008, he received a Special Teddy for his film that he collaborated on with Tilda Swinton, on Derek Jarman, called Derek, at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Mark Nash is an independent curator and writer, until recently Professor and Head of Department, Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art London. He collaborated with Okwui Enwezor on the Arena Programme for the 2015 Venice Biennale, The Short Century exhibition and Documenta11, both 2002 and Ute Meta Bauer on the 3rd Berlin Biennial 2004. He has written extensively on artists’ work with the moving image – both in his Experiments with Truth (Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philaelphia 2004-5 and his One Sixth of the Earth, ecologies of image at ZKM, Karlsruhe and MUSAC, León. This latter exhibition focused on the artistic legacy of the formerly socialist countries, previously explored in Reimagining October at Calvert 22 2009 (curated with Isaac Julien). Most recently, Mark Nash was also co-director with Isaac Julien of a series of live readings of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital as part of the 56th edition of La Bienniale di Venezia in 2015 and is currently curating Things Fall Apart, opening at Calvert 22 in February 2016. He is currently working on two exhibitions: Things Fall Apart for Calvert22, London and Iwalewa House, Bayreuth in 2016 and The Shadow Never Lies (with Joshua Jiang) for Minsheng2, Shanghai in 2016. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Nanyang Technological University and Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore as well as a visiting lecturer on the Film Curating MA at Birkbeck University of London, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

7-9 pm, Thursday, 25th February 2016 

The Whitworth Gallery

Manchester

This event is free and no tickets are needed, but arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Presented by CIDRAL and The Whitworth Art Gallery

For further information: see:http://www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/cidral/events/

 


Jan 1 2016

Laurence Paul Hemming on Us

Unknown

 

 

 

 

A Seminar Series on Subjectivity by Laurence Paul Hemming (Lancaster University)

This seminar series begins with a fragment of an ancient love-poem that speaks of “you and me”, and asks how has “you and me” been thought – before, within, and after the philosophy of subjectivity? Is every relation between “you” and “me” an effect of power? Can “you” ever be equal to “me”? And how is sexuality, how is love, how is sex, to be thought – now and in the future? Does sex, does love, does “you and me” ever assume a public face?

Schedule:

1. ’The Number of Us: Ancient Thoughts, Modern Ideas’. 12th January, 2016.

2. ‘The Power of Us: Against Foucault, Beyond Butler’. 26th January, 2016.

3. ‘The History of Us: Heteronormal Hegel, Equal Marx’. 9th February, 2016.

4. ‘The Subject of Us: Other than Buber, Contrary to Levinas’. 23rd February, 2016.

5. ‘The Politics of Us: Justice for the Errors of the Past’, 8th March, 2016.

All seminars will take place at 6 pm in County Main Seminar Room 4, County College, Lancaster University. 

Laurence Paul Hemming is Professor in the Departments of Politics, Philosophy and Religion and Organization, Work and Technology at Lancaster University, UK. His publications include: Heidegger’s Atheism (Notre Dame University Press, 2002); Postmodernity’s Transcending: Devaluing God  (Notre Dame University Press, 2005) and Heidegger and Marx: A Productive Dialogue over the Language of Humanism (Northwestern University Press, 2013).

 


Oct 2 2015

Andrea Rossi on Foucault

41MmIX3MBuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

 

The Labour of Subjectivity: Foucault on Biopolitics, Economy, Critique

(Futures of the Archive, Rowman and Littlefield International)

Michel Foucault defined critique as an exercise in de-subjectivation. To what extent did this claim shape his philosophical practice? What are its theoretical and ethical justifications? Why did Foucault come to view the production of subjectivity as a key site of political and intellectual emancipation in the present? Andrea Rossi pursues these questions in The Labour of Subjectivity. The book re-examines the genealogy of the politics of subjectivity that Foucault began to outline in his lectures at the Collège de France in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He explores Christian confession, raison d’état, biopolitics and bioeconomy as the different technologies by which Western politics has attempted to produce, regulate and give form to the subjectivity of its subjects. Ultimately Rossi argues that Foucault’s critical project can only be comprehended within the context of this historico-political trajectory, as an attempt to give the extant politics of the self a new horizon.

Endorsements:

Through an in-depth and skillful presentation of Foucault’s work, Andrea Rossi traces the genealogy of governmentality in the problematic relation between the subject and the norm, action and freedom, power and knowledge. His analysis offers a rigorous and original interpretation of the great Foucauldian themes of biopolitics, economy and the formation of modern subjectivity.

— Roberto Esposito, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy

Everyone who thinks they have a secure and incisive grasp of the philosophical, ethical and political implications of Foucault on subjectivity should test their presuppositions by reading Andrea Rossi’s book. His innovative investigation is philosophically profound, ethically sensitive, and politically astute. Based on impressive close reading and full of quotable sentences, the book should be consulted whenever one wants to evoke Foucault on the historical production of subjectivity, on bio-political economy, on technologies of power, and on the particularities of the politics of the present.

– Michael J. Shapiro, Professor of Political Science, University of Hawaii

Andrea Rossi is a Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Koc University, Turkey.


Oct 2 2015

On Creaturely Life

original

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Reading Group on Humanity and Animality at the University of Leeds

In the first meeting, the group will discuss the opening chapter of Eric Santner’s Creaturely Life and Rainer Maria Rilke’s “The Eighth Duino Elegy”. Please see the Creaturely Life webpage for links to the reading material: http://creaturelylife.tumblr.com/

3-5 pm, Wednesday, October 7th

Medical Humanities Suite

School of English

University of Leeds


Oct 2 2015

Writing, Drawing and Roland Barthes

Incontro con Italo Calvino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Writing and Drawing:

Theorizing and Practicing Creativity with Roland Barthes

A One-day Symposium at Lancaster University

This interdisciplinary symposium places Roland Barthes’s theoretical writings on forms of creativity alongside his lesser known, but substantial, archive of drawings. Although, or perhaps precisely because, Barthes did not consider his drawings to be ‘art’, they can be viewed through the lens of his work on the neutral, textual pleasure, and authorship, and may even be seen to throw their own light on these theories. Assessing the role of such alternative texts in the oeuvre of one influential thinker also encourages us to think more broadly about how creative processes can both unfold within and shift across multiple media. Our presentations explore the work of further writers and artists who employ multiple media, as well as considering the theoretical and practical shifts that have occurred in our understanding of the underlying concepts of ‘text’ and ‘author’ since the advent of digital media and platforms.

2015 is the centenary year of Barthes’s birth and this event takes place on the date of his birth. The symposium is a collaboration between Insight, a creative research centre based at the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University and Authors and the World, an AHRC-funded collaboration between researchers in the departments of European Languages & Culture, English & Creative Writing, Linguistics and Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University.

Speakers:

Charlie Gere (Lancaster University), Delphine Grass (Lancaster University), Beth Harland (Lancaster University), Sunil Manghani (University of Southampton), Eric Robertson (Royal Holloway University). Chair: Rebecca Braun (Lancaster University)

Artworks exhibited by Jean Arp (works from the Peter Scott collection), Sally Morfill (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Ana Čavić.

12 November 2015, 11.00 – 18.00

Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The event is free but you need to book a place at: https://www.lancasterarts.org/whats-on/on-writing-and-drawing-roland-barthes-symposium