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


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

 

 


Feb 6 2016

Roberto Esposito to give Northern Theory School Annual Public Lecture

R-Esposito1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowman and Littlefield International Annual Public Lecture

‘The Dispositif of Person’

Roberto Esposito (Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy)

Roberto Esposito is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Italy. Until 2013, he was Vice Director of the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, Full Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, and the coordinator of the doctoral programme in Philosophy. For five years, he was the only Italian member of the International Council of Scholars of the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. He is the author of many books including Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community (Stanford University Press, 2004), Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy (Minnesota University Press, 2008), Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life (Polity Press, 2011), Third Person: Politics of Life and Philosophy of the Impersonal (Polity Press, 2012), Living Thought: The Origins and Actuality of Italian Philosophy (Stanford University Press, 2012) and Two: The Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought (Fordham University Press, 2015).

4.30 pm, 19th May 2016

Frankland Lecture Theatre

Faraday Building

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Lancaster University

This event is free and open to all but places are strictly limited. Please contact Arthur Bradley to reserve a place: a.h.bradley@lancaster.ac.uk


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


Jun 8 2015

Futures of the Archive: Theory, Criticism, Crisis

archivefever_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new book series from Rowman and Littlefield International in partnership with the Northern Theory School

Edited by Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University) and Simon Swift (University of Geneva)

What will be the future of critical theory’s past? This new series offers a set of radical interdisciplinary interventions which explore how the history of critical theory can contribute to an understanding of the contemporary.

By returning to classic critical debates in philosophy, politics, aesthetics, religion and more, the volumes in this series seek to provide a new insight into the crises of our present moment: capitalism, revolution, biopolitics, human rights, the animal and the anthropocene.

In this way, Futures of the Archive shows that the past – and in particular critical theory’s own past – is not a dead letter, but an archive to which we still belong and which continues to shape our present and future.

International Advisory Board: 

Robert Appelbaum (University of Uppsala)

Howard Caygill (Kingston University)

Terry Eagleton (Lancaster University)

Paul Hamilton (Queen Mary, University of London)

J. Hillis Miller (University of California at Irvine)

Yvonne Sherwood (University of Kent)

Lyndsey Stonebridge (University of East Anglia)

Rei Terada (University of California at Irvine)

Samuel Weber (Northwestern University)

In order to discuss or propose a submission, please contact Arthur Bradley and Simon Swift.


May 10 2014

Political Theology and Modernity: The Legacy of Carl Schmitt

Unknown-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A One Day Research Symposium at Lancaster University with Professor William Rasch (Indiana University)

The Northern Theory School in conjunction with the Journal for Cultural Research (Taylor & Francis) and the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University is pleased to announce a one-day research symposium on Political Theology and Modernity: The Legacy of Carl Schmitt. Its keynote speaker will be Professor William Rasch (Indiana) and other speakers will include Agata Bielik-Robson (Nottingham), Michael Dillon (Lancaster) and Michael Hoelzl (Manchester). This event will be of interest to academics and graduate students interested in the legacy of Carl Schmitt, political theology and the relationship between religion and politics more widely.

William Rasch is Professor of Germanic Studies in the Department of Germanic Studies at Indiana University. He is the author of Niklas Luhmann’s Modernity: The Paradoxes of Differentiation (Stanford UP, 2001) and Sovereignty and its Discontents: On the Primacy of Conflict and the Structure of the Political (Birkbeck Law Press, 2004). He is Visiting Professor at Lancaster University in June 2014.

Monday 9th June 9. 30 am -5. 30 pm

Lecture Theatre 6, Management School

Lancaster University

This event is free and open to all but space is limited. In order to register, please contact Laurence Hemming (l.p.hemming@lancaster.ac.uk) or Arthur Bradley (a.h.bradley@lancaster.ac.uk).


Apr 18 2014

Lyndsey Stonebridge on Life

imagesimages-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Critical Life Workshop with Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge (UEA) at the University of Leeds.

Lyndsey Stonebridge is Professor of Literature and Critical Theory at the University of East Anglia. She is the author of The Destructive Element: British Psychoanalysis and Modernism (1998) and The Writing of Anxiety (2007) and co-author of British Fiction After Modernism (2007). Her most recent book, The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg (2011), takes the work of Hannah Arendt as a theoretical starting point in order to think about the relation between law, justice and literature in the postwar period. This workshop will be organised around aspects of Professor Stonebridge’s recent research and will also involve a more general discussion of theory and the academic job market in the era of the REF. It will comprise three parts:

  • Masterclass led by Prof. Stonebridge: Hannah Arendt’s writing on Kafka (reading to be circulated in advance)
  • Lecture: Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge on ‘Statelessness and Modern Literature’
  • Roundtable (staff and PG students): on Theory and the academic job market in the era of REF and ‘impact’

Please note: staff and postgraduate students are all welcome but numbers are limited. To reserve a place please email Nicholas Ray at n.j.ray@leeds.ac.uk. 

This event is free of charge. Postgraduate students at institutions belonging to the Northern Theory School are eligible to apply for a travel bursary of up to £30. There are 10 available. To apply, email Nicholas Ray (n.j.ray@leeds.ac.uk) stating your name, institution and supervisor.

May 14, 11.30am–5.00pm, Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds.

This event is hosted by the School of English, University of Leeds.

 


Jan 24 2014

Walter Benjamin: All Shades of Gnosis

z11446696K,Agata-Bielik-Robson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A workshop with Professor Agata Bielik-Robson (University of Nottingham) on political theology, divine violence and tragedy in the thought of Benjamin.

Agata Bielik-Robson is Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Nottingham. She has published widely in all areas of Jewish philosophy with special emphasis paid on modern Jewish thought, from Spinoza to Derrida. She also researches contemporary philosophy and psychoanalysis, particularly when in a dialogue (or polemic) with theology. This workshop will be of benefit to Benjamin scholars (or those curious about his work) across a spectrum of disciplines: critical theory, philosophy, theology, art history, literature and beyond.

Friday 28th February, 3.00-5.30 pm

Leeds Humanities Research Institute, 29-31 Clarendon Place

University of Leeds

In order to reserve a place, please contact Stefan Skrimshire (s.skrimshire@leeds.ac.uk).

This event is hosted by the Quilting Points reading group at the University of Leeds and the Northern Theory School. It is generously supported by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute.

 


Jan 2 2014

Howard Caygill on Sovereignty

Unknown  

ArcanumThe Secret Life of the State’

Howard Caygill (Kingston University) 

Howard Caygill is Professor of Modern European Philosophy in the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University. His most recent book is On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance (Bloomsbury, 2013).

Respondent: Professor Maja Zehfuss (University of Manchester)

5 pm, Tuesday 18th February

County Main Seminar Room 1

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Lancaster University

In order to reserve a place, please contact Arthur Bradley: a.h.bradley@lancaster.ac.uk