ERIK OLIN WRIGHT spent the last years of his life thinking about ways to challenge and transform capitalist societies. He distilled his thinking in a book, How to Be an Anti-Capitalist in the 21st Century (Verso, 2019). The symposium is designed to launch a debate about the strengths and weaknesses of Wright’s approach. We seek to both honor our colleague’s memory and assure that his ideas become part of current discussions of socialism and socialist strategy. The event will consist of three panels during the day and an evening session that will include tributes to Wright and a keynote by his friend, Ira Katznelson.
This event is co-sponsored by the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies at The New School for Social Research, and the journal, Politics & Society.
Sjoerd van Tuinen and Jürgen Schaflechner will present their film “Toxic Reigns of Resentment” featuring Wendy Brown, Grayson Hunt, Rahel Jaeggi, Alexander Nehamas, Robert Pfaller, Gyan Prakash, Peter Sloterdijk, and Sjoerd van Tuinen. NSSR philosopher Jay Bernstein will respond after the screening.
After the fall of the Soviet empire and the triumph of global capitalism, modernity appeared to keep its dual promise of liberty and equality. The spreading of human rights and democratic forms of government were intrinsically linked to free flows of global capital and free markets. Supported by technological developments and an ever-increasing digitalization of daily life, the future contained the promise of abundance and recognition for all.
Only a few decades later, however, we witness an oppositional trend: A revival of nationalism paired with xenophobia, an increasing tribalization of politics, a public sphere oscillating between cruelty and sentimentality, and a Left caught up in wounded attachments. Social media, once the promise to give voice to the disempowered, link cognitive capitalism with a culture of trolling and hyper moralization. Algorithms programmed to monetarize outrage feed isolated information bubbles and produce what many call the era of post-truth politics.
How did we enter this toxic climate? Are these developments a response to the ubiquity of neoliberal market structures eroding the basic solidarities in our society? Has the spread of social media limited our ability to soberly deal with conflicting life worlds? And have both the left and the right given in to a form of politics where moralization and cynical mockery outdo collective visions of the future?
Recently, Rebecca Kukla – among others – has argued that consent language is too narrow to adequately capture the ethical obligations and failures arising in the context of sex. Instead, she offers more nuanced scripts for the kinds of communication that occur throughout sex, not just at the beginning. I agree with Kukla that consent language is too narrow; however, I argue that she overlooks the fact that intimate personal communication requires an emotional attunement to context precisely because it cannot be fully scripted. To demonstrate this I turn to Cavell’s category of the passionate utterance which gestures at this dynamic dimension of performatives, but doesn’t deliver a detailed account. In this paper I will expand on Cavell’s idea of the passionate exchange in order to shed light on the active interpretive role of the audience, and how it contributes to performative success.
This paper considers Cornelius Castoriadis’s articulation of social imaginary significations with an emphasis on their link to the radical imaginary. Castoriadis wrote on social imaginary significations for more than thirty years, and his understanding of them changed significantly during this time, yet this is not reflected in debates on his work. The paper argues that there are three distinct phases in his reflections. The first phase can be dated 1964-1970. This early phase is characterized by Castoriadis’s break from Marx and subsequent settling of accounts with Marxism. Central to Castoriadis’s critique of Marx was the recognition of history (or: the social-historical) as the domain of meaning and unmotivated creation as the work of the radical imaginary. Importantly, Castoriadis also considered the intertwining of the imaginary with the symbolic, on the one hand, and with social doing, on the other. Castoriadis’s approach in this early phase can be considered phenomenological in the broad sense that Merleau-Ponty gave it in the Phenomenology of Perception. The second phase is dated 1970-1975; that is, the period in which Castoriadis wrote the second part of The Imaginary Institution of Society wherein he announced his turn to ontology. This is his most self-contained and systematic articulation of social imaginary significations. Castoriadis extends and develops his notion of magma in relation to social imaginary significations and emphasizes the social imaginary creation of a world ex nihilo as an ontological creation, whilst the radical imaginary is presented as a part of his emergent general ontology of à-être. The third ‘kaleidoscopic’ phase is dated 1976-1997 and may be understood as a period of consolidation and expansion. Although his basic understanding of social imaginary significations did not dramatically alter (although further developments are visible), his thought went in a myriad of different directions and patterns – hence kaleidoscopic — that nonetheless shaped a wider background against which his elucidation of social imaginaries were configured. His reconsideration of the sacred, the ‘ground power’ of institutions, and the development of a poly-regional ontology of the for-itself were key to this changing background. The paper will conclude with a critical engagement with the implications of the changing permutations of the imaginary element for Castoriadis’s thought.
Dr. Suzi Adams is Senior Lecturer in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Flinders University and permanent External Fellow at the East-Central European Institute for Philosophy, Charles University (Prague). She is a founding co-ordinating editor of the Social Imaginaries refereed journal and book series, and from October-December 2019, was an inaugural Senior Research Fellow at the Humanities Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Hamburg. She has published widely in the social imaginaries field, including most recently Social Imaginaries: Critical Interventions (Eds. Suzi Adams and Jeremy Smith), 2019, Rowman and Littlefield International, London. She is currently writing a monograph entitled Castoriadis and the Imaginary Element (forthcoming with Rowman and Littlefield International).
The Politics department at the New School for Social Research will host its 1st Graduate Conference in Political Theory on March 6-7th, 2020.
We are launching this event to provide graduate students in the history of political thought, political theory and political philosophy an opportunity to present and receive feedback on their work. A total of six (6) papers will be accepted and each of them will receive substantial comments from a New School graduate student, to be followed by a general discussion. We welcome submissions from all traditions, but we are particularly interested in providing a venue for those students working on critical approaches. We would also like to encourage applications from under-represented groups in the field.
We are delighted to announce that Professor Robyn Marasco (Hunter College, City University of New York) will deliver the inaugural keynote address.
Submissions for the conference are due by December 10th, 2019. Papers should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding footnotes and bibliography) and should be sent in PDF format with the help of the electronic form provided below. Papers should be formatted for blind review with no identifying information. Abstracts will not be accepted. A Google account is needed in order to sign-in to the submission form; if you don’t have one, please email us. Papers will be reviewed over the winter break and notifications will be sent out early January 2020.
For any questions, please contact NSSRconferencepoliticaltheory@gmail.com
Luca Corti (University of Padua) – March 6
Amy Allen (Penn State) – March 27
Andreja Novakovic (UC Berkeley) – April 3
Alberto Siani (University of Pisa) – May 8
NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY GRADUATE CONFERENCE
Keynote Speakers: Cary Wolfe (Rice) and Lori Gruen (Wesleyan)
This conference seeks to explore the relationship between animals and their environs, as well as the philosophical traditions that speak to these complex notions. We invite participants to question if and how philosophy’s treatment of animals and their environs can help us make sense of our current ecological situation. How have considerations of habitat, dominion, and domesticity determined the (ethical, ontological, rhetorical) status of animals? Conversely, how have presuppositions about “the animal” informed what environs are proper to “man”? What would it mean for an animal to be “at home” in the current world? Can philosophical approaches to animals be more than an instrumentalizing procedure? How will climate change alter not only the vitality of a species but the very grounds from which it lays claim to a home?
We welcome paper submissions of no more than 2500 words, that are prepared for a blind review, and suitable for a 15-20 minute long presentation.
Email your submission (in PDF format) to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Animalhouse Submission” in the subject line. In your email, please include the following details: (a) author’s name; (b) paper title; (c) institutional affiliation; (d) contact information; and (e) abstract of no more than 250 words. Please do not include your name on the paper you are submitting. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2019. Accepted speakers will be notified by February 1, 2020.
Questions can be directed to Aaron Neber at email@example.com.
For updated program information and full CFP, see: https://animalhouse2020.weebly.com/