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Louis Althusser

Louis Althusser

ENCOUNTERING ALTHUSSER

 

International Conference

9th – 11th October 2009

Jan Van Eyck Academie

Academieplein 1 Maastricht

The Netherlands

http://www.janvaneyck.nl

The work of Louis Althusser and his associates constituted an important attempt to rethink the political and philosophical potential of Marx’s thought, in tension with its ‘orthodox’ reading in Stalinism. In his work in the 1960s and 1970s, Althusser proposed to negate the metaphysical categories of subject, substance, telos, and end. He further explored these themes in the late 1970s and 1980s in terms of the event, the encounter and contingency. The late Althusser’s “materialism of the encounter” both provides many points of contact for a productive dialogue with thinkers associated with post-structuralism, while at the same time seeming to maintain a stronger connection to the Marxist tradition, particularly in terms of his continuing affirmation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. One of the purposes of this conference will be to attempt to gain an overview of the development of Althusser’s thought and to pose the question of its legacy for contemporary debates in radical political thought.

It is not only the legacy of Louis Althusser that will be of our interest here, however, but rather how to encounter and deal with the more unrecognised or suppressed points in his thought that remain enigmatic, and at the same time productive for further research in politics, economy, philosophy (and ideology). Many contemporary discussions ranging from Badiou and Zizek to Balibar, Laclau and Butler revolve around some topics that were traced or started by Louis Althusser, mainly on ideology, linking Althusser to Lacan or politics. In this conference, we would like to focus on some points that have not yet been discussed or have not yet been given the attention they deserve.

In the Althusserian spirit of philosophy working by attacking established positions on an occupied Kampfplatz, we outline four different fields of investigation to which panels will be dedicated: ruptures in philosophy, politics, political economy and politics and philosophy in the late Althusser. In each field, we intend to subject established interpretations of Althusser’s thought to critique and to attempt to determine productive areas for future research. Beyond such scholarly and philological debates, however, our guiding concern will be to pose the question of the extent to which an encounter with Althusser today has the potential to promote critical energies and perspectives that are capable of intervening effectively in the contemporary conjuncture.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS:

* Ruptures in Philosophy: Dis/continuities in Althusser’s Thought

* The Primacy of Politics: Singularity, Dictatorship of Proletariat, Class Struggle

* The Critique of Political Economy and the Legacy of Althusser

* Politics and Philosophy in the Late Althusser: The Philosophy of the Encounter and Aleatory Materialism

PARTICIPANTS:

Giorgos Fourtounis, Geoffrey Goshgarian, Slobodan Karamanic, Katja Kolsek, Marko Krzan, Mikko Lahtinen, Rasto Mocnik, Vittorio Morfino, Ozren Pupovac, Jason Read, Panagiotis Sotiris, Maria Turchetto, Caroline Williams, Frieder Otto Wolf

ORGANIZERS:

Katja Diefenbach, Gal Kirn, Peter Thomas

After1968: http://www.after1968.org

For further details, see: http://www.after1968.org/index.php/lectures/view/20

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk