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Daily Archives: November 14th, 2012

Walter Benjamin


Two-Day Conference, Friday December 14 & Saturday, December 15 2012

Goldsmiths College, University of London (Ben Pimlott Building, Lecture Theatre)
INC – Goldsmiths Continental Philosophy Research Group

The work of the German-Jewish critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) spans a vast array of themes, ranging from the metaphysics of youth to the Paris arcades. His writings on Goethe and Scheerbart; Kafka and Baudelaire, as well as his work on the relationship between art and technology continue to fascinate and polarize in equal measure. His singular intersection of Marxian and Jewish thought is amply evidenced in the extensive correspondence with Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno, Bertold Brecht and Hannah Arendt, amongst others. Undoubtedly it is the sheer breadth of Benjamin’s interests that accounts for the enduring concern with his often fragmentary work across academic disciplines. That is to say, Benjamin is no longer a stranger at the Academy. Nevertheless, a central aspect of Benjamin’s work is all-too-often overlooked when his aesthetic and literary works
are treated in isolation.

The manifest content of Benjamin’s writing is never merely incidental: rather, it is shot through with a burgeoning philosophical project – from the ‘Programme of the Coming Philosophy’ (1917) to the ‘Theses on the Concept of History’ (1940). In this regard it appears that recent anniversary of Benjamin’s birth in 1892 warrants a re-appraisal of this legacy by asking the question: how can the various strands of Benjamin’s work be engaged to illuminate the unfolding of his philosophical position, and – vice versa – how does Benjamin’s philosophy illuminate other aspects of his thought?

This conference aims, then – on the one hand – to explore Benjamin’s thought in relation to the various philosophical traditions that inform his project (Leibniz, Kant, Schlegel, Lukács etc.), and – on the other hand – to ask how these influences continue to operate between the lines even where Benjamin is not explicitly concerned with the philosophical canon? In short: how are we to understand the philosophy of Walter Benjamin?




Day One: Friday, 14 Dec

10:00 – 10:45, Howard Caygill (CRMEP, Kingston) ‘Keynote Address’
10:45 – 11:30, Paula Schwebel (Potsdam) ‘Benjamin’s Monadology: From Idealism to Historical Materialism’
11:30 – 12:15, Blair Ogden (Oxford) ‘Walter Benjamin’s Philosophical Conception of Happiness’
12:15 – 13:00, Jonathan Gray (Royal Holloway) ‘Hamann and Benjamin on the Concept of Experience’
13:00 – 14:00, LUNCH
14:00 – 14:45, Djordje Popovic (Minnesota) ‘Theology of Hell: Continuity of Thought in Walter Benjamin’
14:45 – 15:30, John Merrick (CRMEP, Kingston) ‘Benjamin’s Non-Hegelian Dialectics’
15:30 – 16:15, Jan Urbich (Jena/Weimar) ‘Under Cover: Hegel’s Logic in Walter Benjamin’s Epistemo-Critical Preface’
16:15 – 16:45, COFFEE BREAK
16:45 – 17:30, Elise Derroitte (KU Leuven) ‘The Critic is the New ‘Philosopher of the Spirit’. Comparing Benjamin and Fichte’s Conceptions of Critique’
17:30 – 18:15, Sami Khatib (FU Berlin/Jan Van Eyck) ‘Teleology Without End – Walter Benjamin’s Methodological Nihilism’
18:15 – 19:00, Scott Ritner (New School) ‘The God of Negation – Divine Intervention in the Thought of Walter Benjamin, Georges Bataille and Simone Weil’

Day Two: Saturday, 15 Dec

10:00 – 10:45, Lea Barbisan (Paris, Sorbonne) ‘Körper – Leib – Gestalt: Benjamin’s Phenomenology of the Body’
10:45 – 11:30, Lucie Mercier (CRMEP, Kingston) ‘Walter Benjamin on Translation: a Strategic Hermeneutics of History?’
11:30 – 12:15, Hanping Chiu (Tamkang, Taipei) ‘Translation as Expression: Reinventing Benjamin’s Language Philosophy’
12:15 – 13:00, Florian Telsnig (Vienna) ‘The Monadological Tendency in Benjamin’s Philosophy of the Name’
13:00 – 14:00, LUNCH
14:00 – 14:45, Leena Petersen (Sussex) ‘Poetics of the Space in-Between’
14:45 – 15:30, Phil Homburg (Sussex) ‘Symbol, Sign and Fetish: Walter Benjamin and the Post-Kantian Concept of the Symbol’
15:30 – 16:15, Maria Andrade (Universidad de los Andes) ‘Exiled Between Romantic Absolute and Baroque Allegory’
16:15 – 16:45, COFFEE BREAK
16:45 – 17:30, Ben Noys (Chichester) ‘Emergency Brake: Benjamin and the Critique of Accelerationism’
17:30 – 18:15, Tom Allen (Independent) ‘Fixed Manifestations: Benjamin, Blanqui and the Caption of History’
18:15 – 19:00, Christian Garland (FU Berlin) ‘Redeeming the Past in the Present: Benjamin’s Messianic Materialist Philosophy of History’


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Call for Submissions: Information: Interactions and Impact (i³)

Deadline: Friday 18th January 2013

i³ focuses on the quality and effectiveness of the interaction between people and information and how this interaction can bring about change. The conference will look beyond the issues of use and accessibility of technology to questions about the way people interact with the information and knowledge content of today’s systems and services, and how this might ultimately affect the impact of that information on individuals, organisations and communities.

We invite the submission of high quality papers that report original research or critically discuss underlying methodological issues associated with the main themes of the conference. Papers may reflect ongoing or completed research studies and should not have been previously published or be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. We would particularly welcome papers which address two or more of the following conference themes:

•    The quality and effectiveness of user/information interactions (e.g. information literacy);
•    Patterns of information behaviour in different contexts;
•    Impact of information or information services on people, organisations, communities and society (e.g. social, learning, cultural and economic outcomes of engagement with information); and
•    more effective decision making.

Submissions are invited for:
•    Full papers (40 minutes duration: 35 minutes, 5 minutes for questions);
•    Short papers (15 minutes duration: questions at end of session);and
•    Round table discussions (60-80 minutes duration).

Authors who are accepted to give full papers at i³ are also invited to submit a full paper for consideration by the editorial board of Information Research (  For those papers accepted by Information Research, support for the process of HTML conversion will be provided by the i³ conference team.

Contributors should submit abstracts of 1000 words for Full papers, and 300-500 words for Short Papers and Round Table Discussions. These should be submitted electronically by downloading the online submissions form, located on the Call for Papers section of the website ( This should then be emailed (as an attachment) The conference language will be English.

Submissions will be anonymously reviewed by two members of an international programme committee specialising in one or more of the conference research streams. Notification of acceptance will be emailed to authors and will also include the comments of the reviewers.

Full details of the requirements can be found in the Call for Papers section of the website. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 18th January 2013.

For any further information please see, or contact the conference team at

Professor Dorothy Williams, i³ Conference Director




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The Island



History, Memory and Green Imaginaries
A symposium presented by the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories, University of Brighton
Friday 30th November 2012
9.30am – 5.00pm
M2, Grand Parade, University of Brighton

This symposium invites reflection on the ways in which history and memory inform and shape contemporary green imaginaries. It brings together cultural theorists, historians, cultural geographers, educators and policy actors.

Keynote: ‘The problem of the past’
Alastair Bonnett, Professor of Social Geography, NewcastleUniversity

Roundtable: ‘Austerity and sustainability’
The Home Front and ‘austerity Britain’ are significant points of reference in current debates about sustainability. What kinds of possibilities and limitations follow from the use of historical resources in public debate about environmental issues?

Ayers Rock

Tim Cooper, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Exeter, ‘The limits of
history in green imaginaries’.

Victoria Johnson, Head of Climate Change and Energy, New Economics Foundation, ‘“Ration me up” and other nef projects’

James Piers Taylor, British Film Institute Documentation Editor and permaculture educator, ‘Re-member, re-vision and re-claim: using archival film to facilitate local conversations about community resilience’.

Panel: ‘Ecological history’
How can historical research inform environmental thinking? Three historians discuss this question in relation to their research and practice.

Vinita Damodaran, Senior Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Sussex, ‘“Primitive places and wild tribes”: colonial and indigenous understandings of nature in Eastern India in the nineteenth century’.

Erin Gill, environmental journalist and historian, ‘“Lost” environmental histories: the stories we’ve forgotten’.

Karin Jaschke, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, University of Brighton, ‘Historiography as process: towards an Ecological History of Architecture’.

Closing remarks: ‘Culture is natural: biosemiotics, recycling, and the evolutionary structurations of biological and cultural change’ Wendy Wheeler, Professor Emeritus of English Literature and Cultural
Inquiry, London Metropolitan University.

This event is open to all. Please register in advance by following the link below. The registration fee is £35, or £25 for students/unaffiliated delegates, including lunch and refreshments.

Enquiries: Cheryl Roberts /
Programme and abstracts:

Dr Rebecca Bramall
Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
Faculty of Arts
University of Brighton
+44 (0)1273 644651




‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:


Online Publications at: