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Tag Archives: Carl Schmitt

Karl Marx



The Historical Materialism and International Relations seminar series seeks to explore and develop the multiple points of contact between Marxist theory and international relations, most broadly defined. It does so with the double aim of investigating the critical and explanatory potentials of Marxism in the domain of international relations, as well as to probe what an engagement with ‘the international’ might contribute to Marxist theory. The seminar series is associated with the journal of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and its forthcoming ‘Historical Materialism and International Relations’ book series.

The following seminars will be given at 5 pm on Thursdays at Manor Road Building, Seminar Room C, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. 

For further information please see:

Convener: Alexander Anievas

23 February 2012:

‘Uneven Developments, Combined: Gramsci and Trotsky on Permanent Revolution’

Peter Thomas 

Abstract: This paper will explore the different formulations of the notion of Permanent Revolution in the work of Antonio Gramsci and Leon Trotsky. Although Gramsci himself explicitly rejected Trotsky’s notion of permanent revolution as a reversion to a strategy of ‘war of movement’, he also claimed that his development of the theory of hegemony could be regarded as a contemporary form of Marx and Engels’s notion of the ‘Revolution in Permanence’. The paper will analyse the similarities and differences of the two seemingly divergent claims to inherit a central perspective of the classical Marxist tradition, and will argue that thinking the concepts of permanent and passive revolution together enables us to clarify and to make explicit dimensions that remain underdeveloped in each theorist’s respective work.

Peter Thomas is Lecturer in the History of Political Thought at Brunel University,London. He is the author of The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism (Brill, 2009), and (with Juha Koivisto) Mapping Communication and Media Research: Conjunctures, Institutions, Challenges (Tampere University Press, 2010) and co-editor (with Riccardo Bellofiore and Guido Starosta) of In Marx’s Laboratory: Critical Interpretations of the Grundrisse(Brill, 2010). He has published widely on Marxist political theory and philosophy, the history of political thought and the history of philosophy.


1 March 2012:

‘Fatal Attraction: a critique of Carl Schmitt’s international political and legal theory’

 Benno Teschke

Abstract: The ongoing Schmitt revival has extended Carl Schmitt’s reach over the fields of international legal and political theory. Neo-Schmittians suggest that his international thought provides a new reading of the history of international law and order, which validates the explanatory power of his theoretical premises – the concept of the political, political decisionism, and concrete-order-thinking. Against this background, this article mounts a systematic reappraisal of Schmitt’s international thought in a historical perspective. The argument is that his work requires re-contextualization as the intellectual product of an ultra-intense moment in Schmitt’s friend/enemy distinction. It inscribed Hitler’s ‘spatial revolution’ into a full-scale reinterpretation ofEurope’s geopolitical history, grounded in land appropriations, which legitimized Nazi Germany’s wars of conquest. Consequently, Schmitt’s elevation of the early modern nomos as the model for civilized warfare – the ‘golden age’ of international law – against which American legal universalism can be portrayed as degenerated, is conceptually and empirically flawed. Schmitt devised a politically motivated set of theoretical premises to provide a historical counter-narrative against liberal normativism, which generated defective history. The reconstruction of this history reveals the explanatory limits of his theoretical vocabulary – friend/enemy binary, sovereignty-as-exception, nomos/universalism – for past and present analytical purposes. Schmitt’s defective analytics and problematic history compromise the standing of his work for purposes of international theory.

Benno Teschke completed his doctorate in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at theUniversityofSussexand a Visiting Research Fellow at the European Research Council funded ‘Research Project Europe 1815–1914’ at theUniversityofHelsinki. He is the author of The Myth of 1648: Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations (2003), which was awarded the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize. More recently, he has published in the New Left Review and in International Theory on the international thought of Carl Schmitt and is preparing a monograph on thesubject.


8 March 2012: 

‘The Bourgeois Revolution as an International Process’

Neil Davidson 

The concept of bourgeois revolution is one of the most controversial in Marxist historiography and in recent years it has been dismissed as irrelevant by several important schools of thought, including World Systems theory (Wallerstein, Gunder Frank) and Political Marxism (Brenner, Wood). In this talk, Neil Davidson will attempt to defend the explanatory power of the concept, but will also argue that it can only be understood as referring, not only to a succession of individual revolutions (England, America, France…) but also to an extended international process, the whole of which was greater than the sum of these parts. Beginning with the Reformation and only concluding with decolonisation after the Second World War, the capitalist world which emerged from it did not inherit the pre-existing absolutist states system, but created an entirely new one in which the component states had been reconfigured as independent centres of capital accumulation.

Neil Davidson is Senior Research Fellow with theSchool ofApplied Social Science at theUniversity ofStrathclyde. He is Author of The Origins of Scottish Nationhood (2000), Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003), for which he was awarded the Deutscher Memorial Prize and co-editor and contributor to Alasdair MacIntyre’s Engagement with Marxism: Selected Writings, 1953-1974 (2008) and Neoliberal Scotland (2010). He has two books coming out next year: How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions? and Violating all the Laws of History: Combined Development, Nation-states, and Neoliberal Capitalism.


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Call for Papers

The Universityof North Carolina at Chapel Hill, May 3-5, 2012 @ The Institute for the Arts and Humanities/Global Education Center

In collaboration with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and NWO

The conference The Anomie of the Earth is a follow-up to the Post/autonomy conference held in Amsterdam in May 2011.

While the Post/autonomy meeting focused on the European dissemination of autonomist thought, the second conference will build on its American location and explore a plurality of notions and practices of cultural-political autonomy. Though privileging the context of North and South America, the conference will also address European, African and Asian perspectives.

A presupposition of the conference is that what Carl Schmitt has defined as the Western “nomos of the Earth” – i.e. the political, legal, and spatial configuration of a Euro-Atlantic modern global order – is currently being shaken by intense endogenous and exogenous forces. By discussing the potentials and limits of autonomy/autonomia within our actual conjuncture, the conference will address the emerging nomos and its new constellations of life and knowledge.

More specifically, the conference will thematize the intersections of autonomy/autonomia with four lines of research that have reframed current debates in the humanities and social sciences:

* Radical conceptualizations of life, labor, sovereignty, borders, precarity, migrations, communities and commons, multitude;

* Spatial, affective, ethical and ecological forms of resistance to neoliberal capitalism;

* Critical trends taking place at the edges of contemporary epistemologies; such as vitalisms, geo-philosophies, biopolitics, political anthropologies, new materialisms, political ontologies and ecologies, subaltern studies, embodiment and emergence theories;

* Decolonial studies and new theorizations of post-capitalist, non-liberal and non-statist modes of knowledge and political practice; decolonial feminisms.

These broad themes should be focalized through a specific engagement with autonomy/autonomia.

We welcome the submission of papers in English. Accepted papers will be posted online on the conference website ( For the panels, speakers will be asked to make short (10-15 minutes) presentations addressing the main topics of their papers.

Please send your paper, together with a short abstract, by March 1 to Given the limited size of the conference, only a small number of papers will be accepted. Conference organizers will send acceptance notifications by March 21.

For further information, please contact

This conference is the second of a series within the project Precarity and Post-autonomia: the Global Heritage funded by NWO (Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research).
Confirmed Participants

Giuseppe Bianco (University of Warwick/CIEPFC)

Jodi A. Byrd (University of Illinois)

Gustavo Esteva (Universidad de la Tierra)

Silvia Federici (Hofstra University)

Michael Hardt (Duke University)

Catherine Walsh (Universidad Simon Bolivar)

Gareth Williams (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

And the planning committee:
Federico Luisetti, John Pickles, Wilson Kaiser (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Vincenzo Binetti (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

in collaboration with, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Samuel Amago, Yusuf Al-Bulushi, Emilio del Valle Escalante, Mark Driscoll, Arturo Escobar, Diana Marcela Gomez Correal, Lawrence Grossberg, Michal Osterweil, Michael Palm, Alvaro Reyes

and the NWO partners: Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam), Joost de Bloois (University of Amsterdam), Silvia Contarini (Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense), Monica Jansen (Utrecht University)


NWO, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and the Center for Global Initiatives, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Center for European Studies, The Institute for the Arts and Humanities, The Institute for the Study of the Americas, Department of Geography, Program in Comparative Literature, Department of Anthropology, Department of Communication Studies, Cultural Studies@UNC (UNC-Chapel Hill), Department of Romance Studies (Duke University)


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Ben Linis


Second Call for Papers

Revista Pléyade nº8

Year iv, 2nd Semester 2011


“Sovereignty, Representation and Authority: Current Interpretations of Political Theology”

Carl Schmitt’s claim that “all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts,” written in 1922, has proven to be influential in contemporary political thought. On the one hand, this claim has given rise to efforts to understand the inherent relation between religion and politics, both of which were traditionally thought as being separate regions.

On the other hand, Schmitt’s concept of political theology, which is based on the power of the “sovereign” has given rise to interpretations that connect the form of authority to dictatorship or theocracy. However, the current crisis of political representation signals the need to re-think the significance of the sovereign as the representative leader and/or of the people as an empowered body. Political theology has proposed an understanding of the relations of power between the representative and the represented.  

In this dossier, Revista Pléyade invites submissions addressing the concepts of sovereignty, representation and authority, both from the traditional perspective of an authoritarian conception of power, as well as from the perspective of democratic theory, or from new conceptions of the relation between politics and religion.  


Coordination Dossier: Ely Orrego Torres –

Submission deadline: October 28th, 2011

Languages: Submissions in Spanish or English  

Date of Publication:  December 2011


Submissions should be addressed electronically to:

More information:


Ely Orrego Torres

Editora Revista Pléyade
Centro de Análisis e Investigación Política


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Antagonistics: Capitalism and Power in an Age of War



Published June 2009





“Hegel wrote that the moment of triumph of a social movement is simultaneously the moment of its disintegration … Gopal Balakrishnan shows how this holds for the worldwide triumph of liberal democracy in the 1990s … Antagonistics is a book for all those who want to orient themselves in the chaos of our historical moment …” – Slavoj Zizek


“This collection is an intellectual feast and a dazzling commentary on political thinking, contemporary and classical.  Here an intelligence honed on Schmitt and Machiavelli reviews a range of theoretical texts with courteous sarcasm and radical interrogation; the results are witty, devastating and full of suggestive speculation …” – Fredric Jameson


“This collection of essays by New Left Review’s Balakrishnan expounds his prescient view that the debt-driven expansion that fuelled US hegemony was unsustainable.” – New Statesman,


To see some of Gopal’s pieces as they originally appeared in New Left Review see below:

On Hardt and Negri’s ‘Empire’:

On multiculturalism:

On Machiavelli:


ANTAGONISTICS addresses central political and theoretical questions: how should we conceive the relationship between neo-imperial warfare and neoliberalism, American hegemony and capitalist globalization? Reflections on the major issues of the new international order are set within a larger framework, tracing the intertwined evolution of the modern state system and the capitalist mode of production, from the Treaty of Westphalia to the Occupation of Iraq. Balakrishnan interrogates three key political perspectives—Tocqueville’s liberalism, Althusser’s Marxism and Schimtt on the radical right – for their insights into state power and civil society, democracy, and class. Antagonistics combines intellectual history, political philosophy, and historical sociology to produce a highly distinctive portrait of an age of capital and war.


GOPAL BALAKRISHNAN is the author of The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt, and editor of Debating Empire and (with Benedict Anderson) Mapping the Nation. He is a member of the New Left Review editorial board and a professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California , Santa Cruz .

ISBN 978-1-84467-269-1/ £14.99/$26.95/ Paperback / 304 pages

ISBN 978-1-84467-268-4/£60/$110 / Hardback / 304 pages

For more information visit:

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