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Daily Archives: December 1st, 2011



The Annual Interdisciplinary Humanities Graduate Student Conference
Harvard University, Cambridge MA, United States
April 13-14, 2012

How to begin a revolution is a question that has received much attention from many great thinkers. The goal of the 2012 Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at the Mahindra Humanities Center is to reverse that perspective and ask: How to end a revolution?

The end of a revolution is not something inherently given, but a process in the making that serves different perspectives and interests. At the same time, the phase of transition characterized by chaos and instability very often opposes and challenges the attempts of making an end – from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. Is an end of a revolution even possible if history is understood as a constant process based on a linear definition of time and temporality? What challenges does the idea of a leaderless movement pose towards traditional views of political authority and authorship? What happens when unity and cohesion break apart and many different individual interests and powers evolve? What comes after the revolution?

The ongoing revolutions and uprisings in the Arab world highlight both the challenges of making a (constructive and collective) end, as well as the significance and timeliness of these questions to be addressed at the conference. Drawing upon contemporary and historical examples like the Arab Spring and the French Revolution, we invite you to examine the complex, multifaceted and mutable discourse that is shaped by historians who define, politicians who declare, writers who narrate and lawyers who legitimate the end of a revolution. In what violent and non-violent ways have people tried to stop, use or influence a revolution? Which strategies, tools and techniques are employed to end a revolution and how are they determined by underlying concepts of time, history and change? Through our collective
inquiry – by analysing how people deal and dealt with moments of transition and by comparing their strategies, interests and narratives – our goal is to better understand the phenomenon of social and political change. With this approach we hope not only to expand the knowledge of revolutions but also to develop new ideas and strategies that will potentially prove to be practically important and relevant.

We seek rich, rigorous graduate student contributions from the humanities, social and political sciences (in particular from the following disciplines: law, literature, history, philosophy, political sciences, sociology), and even natural sciences if relevant.

Discussion themes may include, but are not restricted to:
* What is an End? Thinking About and Representing the End
* The End Versus Ending – Revolution as Process or Given?
* Controlling the End – Controlling the Power. Attempts of Overtaking the Protest
* Temporality, Change – and Order? How to Transform Chaos into Stability
* New Beginnings. Manifestos and Literary Narratives
* The People, the Media or the Military? Authorship of Revolution
* Continuity of Power. How to Deal with the Old Structures?
* Circular Revolution, Linear Progress and Permanent Evolution?
* Arts, Religion and Empathy. Lessons to Unite the People
* Trials, Constitutions and Elections. The Role of Law in Transitional Periods

We ask prospective participants to submit a short curriculum vitae and a 500 word abstract that outlines the paper’s topic, methodology and argument, as well as how the prospective participant’s research interests relate to the theme of the conference more generally. Participants will be notified by mid-February whether their paper has been accepted into the conference. Please note that participants can apply for a limited number of travel grants.


For more information and submission details, please visit:

For further questions, please contact the coordinators by e-mail:

Conference coordinators:
Eike Hosemann, Harvard Law School
Scott Liddle, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Matthias Meyer, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Ani Nguyen, Chemical Biology Graduate Program, Department of Systems Biology


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:


Judith Butler


Call for Conference Papers: European Conference
What is coalition? Reflections on the conditions of alliance formation with Judith Butler’s work

Date: 15 May 2012 with Professor Judith Butler (UC Berkeley)
Venue: Institute for Gender Studies, Geneva University, Switzerland

Conception : Delphine Gardey (Geneva University) and Cynthia Kraus (Lausanne University)
Logistics: Aurélie Chrestian and Julien Debonneville (Geneva University)

In her groundbreaking book, Gender Trouble (1990), Judith Butler inaugurates and develops her critique of foundational reasoning – of identity categories such as (biological) sex, or of a transcendental subject such as “the woman” or even “women” (in the plural) – as a critique of identity politics in general, and of a women’s identity-based feminism in particular. For this reason, her antifoundationalism appears as a critical practice that seeks not only to rethink the political – along with genders, bodies, subjects and agency – in terms of performativity rather than of representation, but also, and most importantly, to theorize alternatives to identity politics in terms of coalition building.

Since then, we can consider that Butler has insistently returned to the action-oriented question of “what is coalition?” and further elaborated on the conditions of possibility of alliance formation – at least, as much as on the conditions of subversion – in order to move effectively toward what she calls a “progressive” or “radical democratic politics.” This one-day conference aims to reflect – historically, sociologically, philosophically – on the conditions of possibility, on the objects, means and purposes of alliance formation – between minorities, with the State, political parties, and other public actors, or between disciplines, or even across species (e.g. animal-human), etc. –, of political transformation, and thus of a collective agency, in both domestic and international contexts, through the concrete and generic question of “What is coalition?” – with special interest for the ways in which critical perspectives inspired from feminist and queer theory can be made into productive tools to theorize the political at various levels, at different times and locations, but also to intervene and do better democratic work. We encourage submissions from all research fields that present original material and engage, with creativity and precision, with both the theoretical and practical dimensions of the conference question with insights from – rather than directly on – Butler’s “political theory.”

Deadline for conference paper (including abstract) submission: 15 February 2012
Notification of acceptance by: 5 March 2012
Deadline for final conference papers: 15 April 2012

Abstracts, conference paper proposals and final conference papers should be sent to:
Please check the following link:

Cynthia Kraus
Maître d’enseignement et de recherche
Institut des sciences sociales
Faculté des sciences sociales et politiques
Université de Lausanne
Bât. Anthropole – bureau 3087
CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel +41-21-692.32.23/ 31 80
Fax +41-21-692.32.15


‘Cheerful Sin’ – a new song by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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