Apr 16 2017

Futures of Political Theology: Nomos, Demos, Pseudos

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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


Jan 1 2016

Laurence Paul Hemming on Us

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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

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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.


May 10 2014

Political Theology and Modernity: The Legacy of Carl Schmitt

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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).


Dec 2 2013

Foucault’s Iran: Religion, Politics, Revolution

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A workshop on Michel Foucault’s writings on the Iranian Revolution led by Professor Michael Dillon (Lancaster University).

In 1978, Michel Foucault visited Iran twice as the protests against the Shah reached their zenith and subsequently interviewed the Ayatollah Khomenei in his Paris exile. He went on to write a series of articles for the Corrierre della sera, Le nouvel observateur and Le monde reflecting upon the implications of the Islamic Revolution. To be sure, Foucault’s writings upon Iran are now some of the notorious in his body of work and have been roundly criticised by scholars for at best political naivete and at worst complicity with Khomenei’s regime. However, after more than 30 years of radical political Islamism of all persuasions, the ‘Iranian’ Foucault also begins to seem remarkably prescient, almost prophetic: Foucault was arguably one of the first western thinkers to grasp the complex nexus of religion and revolutionary politics that has become one of the defining challenges to neo-liberal modernity. What, then, are we to make of the Iranian Foucault today? How might we read it in the light of subsequent debates around resistance, biopolitics, political theology, not to mention a new set of revolutions in the Middle East? Why does Foucault speak of a new ‘political spirituality’ beginning to be born in the Islamic Revolution?

2-5 pm, LICA Room A05, Tuesday 17th December, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University.

Please note: this event is free but places are strictly limited. In order to reserve a place, contact Arthur Bradley on a.h.bradley@lancaster.ac.uk.