2016 Events

  • Between the Scholar and the Public Intellectual: The University in the Contemporary African Context

    Mahmood Mamdani, Director of Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University, Uganda; Visiting Scholar, the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs

    • 10 May, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Mahmood Mamdani is Director of Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) at Makere University in Uganda. He received his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Department of Anthropology and Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where he was also […]

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  • Critical Theory in Times of Crisis Working Group | Asian Socialism, Magical Realism: What was Global Maoism?

    Colleen Lye, Associate Professor English, UC Berkeley

    • 27 April, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • In an Arrighi-inspired model of literary history, Jed Esty has recently argued that periods of imperial crisis have also been periods in literature of “realism wars.” This account forces us to reconsider not only the question of whether postmodernism was the ascendant aesthetic of the 70s but also the question of whether postmodernism was in […]

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  • A Critical Theory of Justice

    Rainer Forst, Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt

    • 13 April, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • In this lecture, Forst will reflect on some of the basic issues for a critical theory of justice. What are the basic normative concepts for such an approach, and does it proceed by way of immanent critique? What kind of social realism is required for it to be sociologically grounded? What notion of emancipation is […]

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  • Critical Theory in Times of Crisis Working Group | Historical Gestures in the Cinematic Present | A Talk by Noa Steimatsky

    Noa Steimatsky, Visiting Associate Professor of Italian Studies, UC Berkeley

    • 12 April, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • In the flexible realms of cinematic time and movement, in oceans of contingent detail and the overwhelming expressivity of bodies and gestures—does history risk drowning in sensory response, in ritualistic absorption, in pleasure or in shock? The experience of presentness of the screened, time-based moving image can be maneuvered and intensified in ways that cut […]

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  • Recognition and Affirmation of Afro-Brazilian History and Culture through Rap: a Debate on the Emancipation of Consciousness and the Identity Formation of Black Youth in Brazil

    Mônica Amaral, Associate Professor of Psychoanalysis, Education and Culture at the Faculty of Education, University of São Paulo, Brazil

    • 16 March, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • I have recently revised this talk to better engage recent discussions among the faculty and graduate students of The Program in Critical Theory. Rather than presenting the results of my research into the schools of São Paulo, Brazil, I will consider the potential emancipation of rap music and music videos, inspired in this reflection by […]

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  • Spinoza’s Tragic Resources

    Russ Leo, Assistant Professor of English, Princeton University

    • 13 March, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • D37 Hearst Field Annex
  • Russ Leo will present his research on the intersections between poetic and philosophical experiments in Anglo-Dutch contexts across the 1650s, 60s, and 70s, particularly the ways one might place Milton and Spinoza in conversation. This involves attention to Spinoza’s contributions to literary culture in Amsterdam and the Netherlands at large, as well as his debts […]

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  • Critical Theory in Times of Crisis Working Group | Critical Theory and Sociopolitical Crisis: Then; and Then; and Now?

    Robert Kaufman, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley

    • 06 March, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3401 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • A discussion initiated by the Critical Theory in Times of Crisis Working Group, considering how Frankfurt School and related currents in critical theory have approached, adapted, and rethought the intellectual and practical aspects of their work in, and on, crises generated by authoritarian, fascist, and fascist-oriented movements (paying particular attention to the 1930s-40s; the late […]

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  • To Be the Owner of My Own Person: Toward a Concept of Freedom as Heteronomy Without Servitude

    Vladimir Safatle, Professor and Director of Research, Department of Philosophy and Institute of Psychology, Universidade de São Paulo

    • 28 February, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Today autonomy, defined as self-legislation and self-determination, appears to be a precondition of freedom. Autonomy is widely accepted as the normative horizon of claims for social emancipation and psychological maturity. Nevertheless, this understanding of autonomy depends on a fundamental metaphysical presupposition that must be submitted to criticism. This presupposition follows from the belief that the […]

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  • Workshop: Michael Ralph Discusses Forensics of Capital

    Michael Ralph, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU

    • 28 February, 2017, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    • 820 Barrows Hall
  • In this workshop Michael Ralph will discuss his recent book Forensics of Capital (University of Chicago Press, 2015). This workshop is organised by The Townsend Center Working Group on Labour, Philosophy and Change with support from a Townsend Center for the Humanities Lecture Grant, the Center for African Studies and The Program in Critical Theory. […]

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  • The Origin of Convict Leasing: Slavery and Incarceration in Kentucky

    Michael Ralph, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU

    • 27 February, 2017, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    • 470 Stephens Hall
  • “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.” —President Abraham Lincoln In this talk, I suggest that convict leasing did not begin with formerly enslaved African Americans in the years following emancipation, as the scholarly consensus suggests. It began in the antebellum era with white inmates at the […]

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  • Syncing… Subject, Media, Society: 25th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference

    • 25 February, 2017, 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
    • 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • “Not all people exist in the same Now,” claimed Ernst Bloch in his seminal 1932 book Erbschaft dieser Zeit (“Heritage of Our Times”). The rhythms of modernity had fractured society into isolated temporal worlds. While individuals occupied the same space, he argued, they lived ungleichzeitig—out of sync. Synchronism speaks to a temporal relation, a shared […]

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  • Syncing… Subject, Media, Society: 25th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference

    • 24 February, 2017, 10:00 am - 7:30 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • “Not all people exist in the same Now,” claimed Ernst Bloch in his seminal 1932 book Erbschaft dieser Zeit (“Heritage of Our Times”). The rhythms of modernity had fractured society into isolated temporal worlds. While individuals occupied the same space, he argued, they lived ungleichzeitig—out of sync. Synchronism speaks to a temporal relation, a shared […]

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  • Cleverness and Drive, or the Cybernetic Fantasy of Value: R.S. Hunt’s “Two Kinds of Work”

    Seb Franklin, Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, King's College London

    • 22 February, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 470 Stephens Hall
  • In January 1951, R.S. Hunt—a British technical editor and former chemist without any university degree or diploma—sent a manuscript titled “Two Kinds of Work” to the mathematician Norbert Wiener, who did not read it. Hunt’s manuscript promises to “put metaphysics within the scope of physics.” And it claims to do so by making “such quantities […]

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  • Designated Emphasis Open House and Information Session

    • 09 February, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    • 340 Moffitt Library, UC Berkeley
  • Join The Program in Critical Theory’s faculty and students for a panel discussion and Q&A about the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory. All UC Berkeley Ph.D. students interested in applying to the DE are invited to attend. Refreshments and informal social to follow. The Program in Critical Theory’s DE enables graduate students already enrolled […]

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  • Towards a Romantic Anthropology: River Life and Climate Change in Bangladesh

    Naveeda Khan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

    • 24 January, 2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 470 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • There is a quality of the chimerical to the silt islands that form and dissolve within the Jamuna River. Life on the islands never quite settles; the ground is constantly turned up, shifting, moving, and reforming elsewhere, a condition which inevitably grounds a particularly striking relationship with Nature. In this talk, I want think with […]

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  • Benjamin, Kafka, and Theology

    • 24 January, 2017, 2:30 pm - 7:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • This two-session conference explores theology in Benjamin and Kafka. The first session, moderated by Karen Feldman, includes paper presentations by Gilad Sharvit and Vivian Liska, with a response by Niklaus Largier. The second session is a conversation between Robert Alter and Chana Kronfeld. Program: 2:30-4:30 pm: Session 1 Moderator: Karen Feldman Gilad Sharvit, “Exile and […]

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  • Berkeley Law Symposium: Law As…Minor Jurisprudence in Historical Key

    • 03 December, 2016, 8:30 am - 6:15 pm
    • Warren Room, 295 Boalt Hall
  • December 2-3, 2016 MINOR JURISPRUDENCE IN HISTORICAL KEY Update: Symposium papers are now available. Visit the website to register and receive access to the papers. Conceptually, “minor jurisprudence” was an invention of the 1990s. It had two distinct incarnations. In 1994, Panu Minkkinen, then a research fellow at the University of Helsinki, published an intriguing […]

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  • Berkeley Law Symposium: Law As…Minor Jurisprudence in Historical Key

    • 02 December, 2016, 8:00 am - 7:15 pm
    • Warren Room, 295 Boalt Hall
  • December 2-3, 2016 MINOR JURISPRUDENCE IN HISTORICAL KEY Conceptually, “minor jurisprudence” was an invention of the 1990s. It had two distinct incarnations. In 1994, Panu Minkkinen, then a research fellow at the University of Helsinki, published an intriguing essay entitled “The Radiance of Justice: On the Minor Jurisprudence of Franz Kafka,” in which he applied […]

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  • Critical Vitalisms Working Group | Patterns of Life in the Long War

    Keith Feldman, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

    • 21 November, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3401 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • For our third and final meeting, we will be discussing a chapter from Professor Keith Feldman’s forthcoming book Patterns of Life: Raciality, Visuality, Global War, which deals with “literary and visual configurations of the body in the long war on terror (roughly 1978 to the present).” In this meeting, Professor Feldman’s point of departure is […]

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  • Gender in Multiplicities: Intersectionality, Decoloniality, Assemblages, Co-Formations: French and U.S. Conversations

    An Interdisciplinary Symposium

    • 18 November, 2016, 10:30 am - 6:00 pm
    • Anthony Hall
  • The objective of this symposium is to put into conversation many different kinds of analyses that have been produced in and/or re-elaborated in France and the U.S., in which gender is understood inseparably from its relations with many other relations of power, including racism, sexuality, class, capitalism, colonialism and coloniality. Program: 10:30-11: Introductory Remarks Stephane […]

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  • Holy Beds and Holy Families: Encounters with Devotional Objects from Fifteenth-Century Europe

    Caroline Walker Bynum, Professor emerita at Columbia University and Professor emerita of Western Medieval History at the Institute for Advanced Study

    • 17 November, 2016, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • A small, highly ornamented bed, now on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and acquired from a convent of religious women known as beguines, remains a mystery to art historians. Even more mysterious is a fifteenth-century limestone carving of the Nativity that, unlike other known devotional objects, features two beds for […]

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  • Public Forum: The State of Mexico Today

    • 03 November, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    • 100 Boalt Hall
  • This will be a forum with presentations from, and dialogue with, representatives from several social movements in Mexico: students from Ayotzinapa; mothers of disappeared students and young women; agricultural workers; members of the Teachers Union, and; activists involved with indigenous rights. The battles being fought against multifaceted forms of state violence in Mexico will be […]

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  • What is Walter Benjamin’s Idea of Revolution?

    Alison Ross, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Monash University

    • 02 November, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • This presentation outlines Walter Benjamin’s highly idiosyncratic conception of “revolution.” Despite its significance for his philosophical outlook, the concept of revolution receives no systematic or perhaps even consistent treatment in his heterogeneous writings. However, in contrast to the way the term is usually understood in political philosophy, Benjamin conceives of revolution primarily as a category of […]

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  • FUTURES OF INTELLECTUAL HISTORY 2

    2 Day Workshop

    • 29 October, 2016, 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • DAY 2 “Futures of Intellectual History” is a graduate student conference that will serve as a platform for scholarly exchange in the subjects and methods of intellectual history. “Futures” first began as a conference at the Remarque Institute at New York University in 2015. The conference was a success, bringing together graduate students from around […]

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  • Futures of Intellectual History 2

    2 Day Workshop

    • 28 October, 2016, 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • DAY 1 “Futures of Intellectual History” is a graduate student conference that will serve as a platform for scholarly exchange in the subjects and methods of intellectual history. “Futures” first began as a conference at the Remarque Institute at New York University in 2015. The conference was a success, bringing together graduate students from around […]

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  • Democracy in History: Snowden, Assange, Manning

    Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, Professor of Philosophy, École nationale supérieure d’arts de Paris-Cergy, France

    • 27 October, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning are often simply considered “whistleblowers” whose activities involved diffusing information. But, in fact, they are much more than that. They are the protagonists of a movement that is questioning the dispositives defining our present. Their very lives express something that must be heard: the advent of a new political subject. As […]

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  • Critical Vitalisms Working Group | Emergence, Mechanism, and Life

    Suzanne Guerlac, Professor of French, and Terrence Deacon, Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley

    • 26 October, 2016, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • For our second meeting, we will be joined by Professors Suzanne Guerlac and Terrence Deacon to discuss the interdisciplinary resonances of the term “emergence” in relation to the thinking of life in the current moment. The Oxford English dictionary defines emergence as “The process of coming forth, issuing from concealment.” Starting here, moving through emergence’s […]

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  • Panpsychist Physicalism

    Galen Strawson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin

    • 20 October, 2016, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Panpsychism is a plausible theory of the fundamental nature of reality. It’s fully compatible with physics and with physicalism. Anyone who holds the following— I) physicalism is true, II) consciousness is real, III) there is no “radical emergence” — should at least endorse IV) psychism, the view that mind or consciousness is a fundamental feature of concrete reality, and […]

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  • Neutrinos and the Search for Dark Justice

    Ashon Crawley, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside

    • 14 October, 2016, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    • 470 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • What can attention to dark matter, neutrinos in particular, elucidate about Blackpentecostal religious worlds? And what can attention to the noise making of Blackpentecostal adherents make more pronounced in the world of quantum physics? Building on the work in Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility, this presentation attempts to think together what might seem to be disparate ways of thinking worlds known and unknown, the religious and the scientific, the noisy and the musical, with hopes of considering the epistemologies of quantum physics as Blackpentecostal.

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  • Beyond the Dialectical Imagination: A Conference in Honor of Martin Jay

    • 08 October, 2016, 8:45 am - 6:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • This conference celebrates Martin Jay’s career as a professor of European intellectual history for forty-five years at UC Berkeley. All thirty-one speakers had him as their primary advisor for their doctoral study. Their work today demonstrates the breadth of Professor Jay’s impact beyond his own publications, within the academy and without. His former students work in universities […]

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  • Beyond the Dialectical Imagination: A Conference in Honor of Martin Jay

    • 07 October, 2016, 8:45 am - 5:30 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • This conference celebrates Martin Jay’s career as a professor of European intellectual history for forty-five years at UC Berkeley. All thirty-one speakers had him as their primary advisor for their doctoral study. Their work today demonstrates the breadth of Professor Jay’s impact beyond his own publications, within the academy and without. His former students work in universities […]

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  • The Platonic-Aristotelian Idea That Reason Should Rule the Psyche—and its Psychoanalytic Fate

    Jonathan Lear, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor, Committee on Social Thought and Philosophy, University of Chicago

    • 05 October, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 308A Doe Library, UC Berkeley
  • In the Republic, Socrates argues that reason should rule over the whole soul because it has wisdom and foresight. And Aristotle endorsed this outlook in his conception of the happy life. But what could this claim possibly mean? Is it to be understood solely as part of an ancient psychology and ethical outlook? Or might it have […]

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  • Critical Vitalisms Working Group | Critical Vitalism

    Frédéric Worms, Professor of Contemporary Philosophy, École normale supérieure, France

    • 30 September, 2016, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • In this first session, we will be joined by the philosopher Frédéric Worms, who will discuss his recent work around the concept of a “critical vitalism.” Largely occulted in the wake of the Second World War, “vitalism” today connotes an unsettling rhetoric of power, virility, and domination, undergirded by an often mystical vital energy. Worms’ […]

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  • Living Today: The Need for a Critical Vitalism

    Frédéric Worms in Conversation with Judith Butler

    • 29 September, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Frédéric Worms is a philosopher and professor of contemporary philosophy and moral philosophy at the École normale supérieure française, where he also serves as Directeur-adjoint Lettres and director of the Centre International d’Etudes de la Philosophie Française. He is a member of the Comité consultatif national d’éthique. A specialist in the thought of Henri Bergson, his recent […]

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  • Francophone And Postcolonial Studies In France Today

    Dominique Combe, Director of the International Relations Office, Professor in Literary Theory, École normale supérieure, France

    • 28 September, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Persistent misunderstandings divide postcolonial theory and French and francophone criticism. French criticism tends to view postcolonial theory as excessively general and, above all, as ideological. The textuality of post-colonial discourse, however, in the Foucauldian sense, suggests ways of bridging anglophone and francophone critical theory, which are actually closer than they at first appear. 

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  • The Prism of Expectation: Critical Theory’s Afterlife in America

    Robert Zwarg, Research Associate, Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture, Universität Leipzig, Germany

    • 26 September, 2016, 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
    • 3401 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Nowhere outside of Germany has the critical theory of Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and others received such an enthusiastic and productive reception like in the United States. In the wake of the crisis of the New Left, the Frankfurt tradition became not just the door to a “hidden dimension,” as a volume […]

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  • SEMINAR – Rethinking Left-Wing Melancholia: Between Marx and Benjamin

    Enzo Traverso, Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities, Cornell University

    • 15 September, 2016, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    • 820 Barrows Hall
  • At the beginning of the 1980s, the rise of memory in the public sphere coincided with the crisis of Marxism, a current of thought that had deeply shaped the humanities of the previous decades. Consequently, Marxism did not contribute to the “memorial moment” characteristic of the turn of the twenty-first century. The Marxist vision of […]

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  • Presentism: The Politics of Memory in the Age of Neoliberalism

    Enzo Traverso, Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities, Cornell University

    • 14 September, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Often defined as “presentism,” the regime of historicity of the beginning of the twenty-first century posits a kind of perpetual present, absorbing in itself both past and future. It corresponds with a neoliberal ethos that eternizes the current economic order and condemns any form of collective action. It avoids any critical elaboration of the past […]

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  • Too Deep for the Vulgar: Hazlitt on Turner and Blake

    T.J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair Emeritus, UC Berkeley

    • 12 August, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    • 2050 Valley Life Sciences Building, UC Berkeley
  • Keynote Lecture, “Romanticism and Its Discontents” conference. For full conference program, visit https://nassrberkeley2016.wordpress.com. Presented by the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, with support from The Program in Critical Theory.

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  • Seeing Too Much

    Rei Terada, Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Irvine

    • 11 August, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    • West Pauley, Martin Luther King Student Union, UC Berkeley
  • Keynote Lecture, “Romanticism and Its Discontents” conference. For full conference program, visit https://nassrberkeley2016.wordpress.com. Presented by the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, with support from The Program in Critical Theory.

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  • Animal Futures Working Group | Hope in a Time of Extinction

    Ashley Dawson, Professor of English, City University of New York’s Graduate Center and College of Staten Island/CUNY

    • 26 April, 2016, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • As other species are snuffed out, possible futures for humans look bleak. Can radical political transformation bring an end to the sixth mass extinction event? As some charismatic creatures are being saved in zoos, captive breeding facilities, and cryogenic banks, a multitude of others are disappearing as they are disregarded or actively targeted for destruction. How should we love in a time of extinction? What practices of care can keep those who we love in the world? This talk focuses on two cutting edge responses to defaunation: rewilding and regenesis.

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  • Europe in Crisis: A Foucauldian Take on Border Violence and Mediterranean Acts of Escape

    Maurice Stierl, Visiting Assistant Professor, Cultural Studies, African American and African Studies, UC Davis

    • 25 April, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • The unauthorised mass-movements of 2015, when more than a million people crossed maritime borders into European space, demonstrated more clearly than ever before that Europe’s deterrence politics had failed. The necropolitical obstacle course created by its border regime proved unable to prevent these disobedient mobilities. What we witness today, while often termed a ‘migrant or refugee crisis’, is in fact a crisis of the European project. Current processes of internal re-bordering along sovereign nation-state lines and logics significantly undermine Europe’s supposed post-national ethos and trans-border imaginary.

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  • More Than Life: Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin

    Stéphane Symons, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Leuven, Belgium

    • 19 April, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • The intellectual affinities between Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin remain hitherto largely underexplored. The relation between both is a highly complicated one. While Simmel has testified, near the end of his life, that none of his students can be regarded as a true heir of his philosophy, Benjamin, for his part, is at various places in his work very critical about the work of his former teacher. Still, the distinction between “more life” and “more than life” that runs throughout Simmel’s philosophy of life is mirrored in Benjamin’s views on the opposition between nature and “construct”.

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  • A Lyric Critique of Violence: Mahmoud Darwish & Walter Benjamin

    Jeffrey Sacks, Associate Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature, UC Riverside

    • 14 April, 2016, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
    • 254 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Jeffrey Sacks is Associate Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature and the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Iterations of Loss: Mutilation and Aesthetic Form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish (Fordham University Press, 2015).

    This event is organized by the Townsend Center Working Group on the History of Poetic Genre and co-sponsored by The Program in Critical Theory.

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  • Affirmative Ethics, Suffering, and Generative Life

    Rosi Braidotti, Distinguished University Professor, Founding Director of the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University

    • 17 March, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
  • Rosi Braidotti (B.A. Hons. Australian National University, 1978; PhD, Université de Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, 1981; Honorary Degrees Helsinki, 2007 and Linkoping, 2013; Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (FAHA), 2009; Member of the Academia Europaea (MAE), 2014; Knighthood in the order of the Netherlands Lion, 2005) is Distinguished University Professor and founding Director of the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University.

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  • Animal Futures Working Group | Zoomorphizing Humans

    Charis Thompson, Chancellor's Professor and Chair
    Department of Gender and Women's Studies
    Center for Science, Technology, and Medicine in Society, UC Berkeley

    • 09 March, 2016, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    • 340 Moffitt Library, UC Berkeley
  • Many believe that there is something wrong with anthropomorphizing animals. What exactly is wrong with it, for whom, and do the same problems hold—or not—when we zoomorphize humans? In this session, Professor Charis Thompson will addresses these questions through her work on elephants, bioterrorism, and the animal model in the life sciences. This is an opportunity to return to a set of questions that has preoccupied animal studies scholarship for decades: what exactly is the boundary between human and non-human animal life, and what does the varied terrain this boundary traverses tell us about our common future?

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  • Limits and Possibilities of the Theory of Psychoanalysis for Kant’s “Eternal Peace”

    Rosaura Martínez, Associate Professor of Philosophy, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Visiting Researcher, The Program in Critical Theory, UC Berkeley

    • 01 March, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • In Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1919), Freud introduces the death drive or destruction as an inherent tendency of human nature and an insurmountable force. However, for Freud, human nature is always bivalent; it is the location where the tension between opposing forces takes place, and where neither of the contrary forces can ever be fully present and dominant. The death drive is for the most part silent and only expresses itself in relationship in the life drive. Thus, human existence is an ongoing battle between life instincts\drives and impulses of destruction. Freud and Kant share one common supposition.

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  • Designated Emphasis Open House and Information Session

    • 18 February, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    • 340 Moffitt Library, UC Berkeley
  • Join The Program in Critical Theory’s faculty and students for a panel discussion and Q&A about the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory. All UC Berkeley Ph.D. students interested in applying to the DE are invited to attend. Refreshments and informal social to follow.

    The Program in Critical Theory’s DE enables graduate students already enrolled in UC Berkeley Ph.D. programs from across the social sciences, arts, and humanities to obtain certification of a Designated-Emphasis specialization in Critical Theory.

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  • The Rise of the Constitution

    Aziz Rana, Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

    • 11 February, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • This lecture explores how the Federal Constitution became a site of near unanimous public support in American life. I argue that the dominance and substantive meaning of constitutional veneration is actually a relatively recent development—the product of a series of interconnected political struggles between the American emergence onto the global stage with the Spanish-American War and World War I and the fallout of student and civil rights protest in the 1970s. In the process, the book raises a series of questions that have thus far been largely overlooked but that should be central to our conversations about the Constitution.

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  • Animal Futures Working Group | From Creaturely Life to the Commodity Form

    Tobias Menely, Assistant Professor of English, UC Davis

    • 10 February, 2016, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    • 340 Moffitt Library, UC Berkeley
  • Sharing short excerpts from his recent book The Animal Claim, as well as a draft of a new essay, “Commodify,” Menely poses two questions. First, how should we understand the relation, conceptual and historical, between the limited forms of animal protection offered by statute law and the imperative of the free market to extract value from animals, between the modern extension of animal rights and the intensification of animal exploitation?

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  • The Ideal of Freedom in the Modern Times and Beyond: On Liberalism and Neoliberalism

    Olivier Clain, Professor of Sociology, Laval University, Canada

    • 28 January, 2016, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
  • This presentation problematizes the effective weight of the ideal of freedom within the dynamics of modernity, in particular through a critical investigation of liberal and neoliberal discourses. Building on Foucault’s account of liberalism as an art of government, and by proposing an original typology of the ways in which common sense and theory question freedom, I show that the dynamics of modernity owes less to the continuous realization of the ideal of freedom than to the transformation of relations between practices mediated by institutions such as property, labor, law and political power.

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