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Tag Archives: Giogio Agamben

The Man in Black

COUNTERFEIT ASYLUM: THE GIFT OF GENDER IN CONFINEMENT

Professor Daniel Moshenberg, Director of the Women’s Studies Program and co-convener of Women in and Beyond the Global, George Washington University in Washington, DC

Tuesday 05 April 2011
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Venue: FB4.26 (4th Floor Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus), Queen Mary University of London

In the last half-century, the so-called `strong passport’ so-called democracies have turned the application for asylum into a criminal justice procedure. In so doing, these nation-States have redefined citizenship as they have redrawn the maps of national sovereignty. Take, for example, the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, South Africa. It is a prison filled with people who have committed no crimes but rather are deemed unworthy of citizenship. Seen from the perspective of asylum seekers, the overwhelming majority of whom are Zimbabweans, there is no South Africa, there is no Zimbabwe. There is rather South Africa/Zimbabwe, bound and separated by punctuation, by power, but not by a border. For Zimbabwean women, the life in Lindela, a private prison opened initially by the African National Congress Women’s League, is particular and particularly dire.

A consideration of the political economy of asylum in the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia in the current neoliberal global Moment finds variants of this narrative repeated endlessly. Asylum has come to mean detention. But what is asylum and how has it become part of the global carceral fabric?

Asylum has become part of a political economy of worthy and unworthy citizens. When processed through the prison industrial complex, scholars have tended to use a Foucault – Agamben frame of control and discipline, of bio-politics and bare life. This paper suggests not so much an alternative as a supplementary reading. Historically, asylum was not about states of exception, but rather exceptional states, states capable of responding to a plea of mercy, states capable of bestowing the gift of citizenship on otherwise unworthy people.

Professor Moshenberg proposes to re-read the political economy of worth and unworthy in asylum procedures, when seen from a perspective that centers on Black women asylum seekers. A somewhat Derridean reading of debt cycles, gift cycles, violence, national sovereignty, is merged with a reading, via Marx and Negri (and their readers), of labor, accumulation, surplus, and value. In the end, he argues that Black women asylum seekers are global precarious citizens, are, more precisely, citizens of global precarity.

If you would like to attend please email: a.alele@qmul.ac.uk

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

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WHAT IS A COMMANDMENT? 

Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy

Monday 28 March 2011, 6.00-8.00pm

‘What is a Commandment?’

Giorgio Agamben: Visiting Professor, Philosophy, University of Paris 8

Venue: Clattern Lecture Theatre, Main Building,

Penrhyn Road Campus, Kingston University

The event is free

See: http://www.kingston.ac.uk/crmep

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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The Man in Black

Time

THE REVOLUTION OF TIME AND THE TIME OF REVOLUTION

The Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture Student Alliance at Binghamton University (S.U.N.Y.) Presents:
*The Revolution of Time and the Time of Revolution*
*A conference*
The 25th – 26th of March, 2011

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Peter Gratton, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of San Diego, CA

What sense of time is produced through radical politics? Is the understanding of time as future part of a radical imagination? If the commitment to radical social change involves looking forward into the future, will that leave us with a sense of futurity that depends on the linearity of yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

To interrogate the emergence of radical creations and socialities, we welcome submissions that theorize time as it relates broadly to politics, cultural conflicts, alternative imaginaries, and resistant practices. Time has historically been thought and inhabited through a variety of frameworks and styles of being. At times the present repeats or seems to repeat the past. There are actions that seem to take place outside of time, to be infinite or instantaneous.

Theories of emergence view time as folding in on itself. Indigenous cosmologies and Buddhist philosophers put forward the possibility of no-time or of circular and cyclical time.

The radical question of time is one around which the work of many scholars has revolved: Derrida on the to-come [*a-venir*] of democracy, Negri’s work on *kairos*, Agamben on kairology, Santos on the expansive notion of the present, Deleuze and Guattari on becoming. This heterological list is far from exhaustive, while hinting at the depth of the theme that our conference cultivates. A central political concern, time invokes our most careful attention and the PIC conference provides the setting for this endeavor. We must find the time for time.

At its core, this conference seeks to explore the relationship between time and revolution. Time here may mean *not just *simple clock and calendar time but rather a way of seeing time as part of a material thread that can go this way and that, weaving* *together* *the fabric of political projects producing the world otherwise. Ultimately, the question of time fosters a critical engagement with potentiality, potency, and power; as well as with the virtual and the actual, of the to be and the always already.

We seek papers, projects, and performances that add to the knowledge of time and revolution, but also ones that clear the way for new thinking, new alliances, new beings.

Some possible topics might include:

  – Radical notions of futurity, historicity, or the expansive present.

  – Conceptions on the right moment of action.

  – The political reality of time as stasis or cyclical.

  – The colonial creation of universal time, and decolonial cosmologies of time.

  – Work on thinkers of time and revolution.

  – Work on potentiality, the virtual, and the actual.

  – Capital and labor time.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary emphasis of Binghamton University’s Program in Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, we seek work that flourishes in the conjunction of multiple frames of epistemological inquiry, from fields including, but not limited to:  postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, queer and gender studies, ethnic studies, media and visual culture studies, urban studies, science and technology studies, critical theory, critical animal studies, continental philosophy, and historiography.

Workers/writers/thinkers of all different disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and non-disciplinary stripes welcome, whether academically affiliated or not. Submissions may be textual, performative, visual.

Abstracts of 500 words maximum due by Feburary 1, 2011.  In a separate paragraph state your name, address, telephone number, email and organizational or institutional affiliation, if any.

Email proposals to: pic.conference2011@gmail.com with a cc: to clawren1@binghamton.edu

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Speed of Life

THE REVOLUTION OF TIME AND THE TIME OF REVOLUTION

 

Alternative Culture

 

COMMONALITIES CONFERENCE

Please join us for “Commonalities: Theorizing the Common in Contemporary Italian Thought,” a conference sponsored by the journal diacritics. The event, to be held at Cornell University on September 24-25, 2010, will bring together a number of leading thinkers around the theme and question of the common. Participants will include Kevin Attell, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Remo Bodei, Bruno Bosteels, Cesare Casarino, Roberto Esposito, Ida Dominijanni, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri (by video conference), and Karen Pinkus. More information can be found at the conference website (www.commonconf.com) or by contacting Professor Timothy Campbell (tcc9@cornell.edu)

Il manifesto
For the better part of a decade the position of Italian thought in the Anglo-American academy has increasingly grown in importance. From issues as far ranging as bioethics and bioengineering, to euthanasia, to globalization, to theorizing gender, to the war on terror, works originating in Italy have played a significant, perhaps even the dominant, role in setting the terms and conditions of these debates. Indeed it might well be that no contemporary thought more than Italian enjoys greater success today in the United States. If twenty years of postmodernism and poststructuralism were in large measure the result of French exports to the United States — Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze, and Foucault — today a number of Italian philosophical exports are giving rise to a theoretical dispositif that goes under a variety of names: post-Marxist, posthuman, or most often biopolitical. Yet the fact that Italian thought enjoys such enormous success in the United States and elsewhere begs an important question, one put to me polemically recently by a prominent Italian philosopher. Is there really such a thing as contemporary Italian thought? And if there is what in the world do its proponents have in common?

By way of responding, it might be useful to recall some details about the recent reception of Italian thought in the American academy. In the aftermath of the end of the postmodern — which a number of American observers savored as spelling the end of the use and abuse of philosophy by large numbers of literary critics — two works appeared in English within a span of three years: Giorgio Agamben’s ‘Homo Sacer’ and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s ‘Empire’. Stepping into the void left by the departure of what in the United States was known as “theory,” these works made a number of bold theoretical claims about the relation between political power and individual life (Agamben) and globalization and collective life (Hardt and Negri), claims that uncannily – sometimes almost prophetically – addressed some of the most pressing issues in our current state of affairs. Equally a number of important works of Italian feminism appeared over roughly the same period. Works by Adriana Cavarero and Rosi Braidotti, among others, deeply influenced a whole generation of American theorists in fields like gender studies, political philosophy, and law. Looking back it’s difficult to overestimate the influence of all these figures when accounting for the intellectual success of Italian thought today. Certainly it became possible for other voices to be heard, Paolo Virno, and more recently Franco Berardi, Roberto Esposito, and Maurizio Lazzarato among others.

But to take up again the question at hand: what do authors as seemingly different as Agamben and Negri, Berardi and Esposito, Braidotti and Bodei, or Cavarero and Virno have in common outside of the mere fact of writing in Italian? Beyond a common language, is there, for example, such a thing as a common Italian philosophical tradition of which they are all a part? Some, most notably, Mario Perniola, would say yes, one found in the elements of repetition, transmission, mixture, and body that together forged an Italian philosophical culture over the last 300 years. Deleuze and Guattari would have said no, arguing that Italy has historically “lacked a milieu” for philosophy. For them the reason for this lack could be found in Italy’s proximity to the Holy See, which continually aborted philosophy across the peninsula, reducing Italian thought to mere rhetoric, philosophy’s shadow, and allowing only for the occasional “comet” to briefly light up the philosophical sky. Yet what if Italian thought today does in fact enjoy a milieu? What “event” or “events” in the recent past might have fashioned a milieu for the emergence of Italian thought? What would the features of that milieu look like?

Undoubtedly, the decade-long Italian 1968 would have played the decisive role. The votes on abortion, the emergence of counterculture and student and feminist movements, and changes in labor and production all deeply changed the space in which politics — as well as philosophy – was practiced. Indeed one of the central features of the Italian 1968 was precisely the emphasis on politics as philosophy and philosophy as a form (among others) of politics. We can see this in the place 1968 and 1977 awarded political militancy; in the increasing prominence given to questions of subjectivization; and more broadly in the birth of new forms of social and political life separated from those that had previously dominated.

Yet Italy’s long 1968 wasn’t enough on its own. It was only with 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall that politics and philosophy truly begin to pass intensely into each other, to stay with the language of Deleuze and Guattari. Although it may seem less the case for those writing in Italy, when seen from the outside 1989 was experienced as trauma more in Italy than in the rest of Europe. The result forced a number of thinkers to re-examine the fundamental political and philosophical categories that had underpinned decades if not centuries of thought: what meaning would the end of a certain form of common life have for politics, for philosophy, for culture? Such a calling into question of the previous understanding of the common had the effect of reterritorializing politics and philosophy under new terms and new problematics, one of which will be “life,” broadly speaking. It is only when 1968 is considered as the motor for deterritorialization of the common in political theory and philosophy and 1989 as the turn toward its reterritorialization as newly mapped by (among other things) biopolitical theory that something like a milieu is constructed for contemporary Italian thought.

This is not to say that proponents of Italian thought share the same understanding of the common or even celebrate it. Clearly they do not. Yet the centrality of the common raises a number of questions about Italian thought and Italian public life today. What does it mean to be or have in common in 2010? What are the effects of questioning the weight of shared life and what possible futures are there for the common? How might singularities be thought together so as to create new forms of life and what kinds of co-habitations or contaminations might reinforce these new forms of life? These kinds of questions are ones Italian thought, in all its diversity, has placed at the forefront of contemporary theory, questions that in turn raise fundamental questions about the nature of relationality and of a politics that would seek to strengthen relations and to extend them in order to create yet further relationality. Such is the force of Hardt and Negri’s discussion of the capacity for love near the end of Commonwealth, though one can well imagine others, including a capacity for play, for attention, and for compassion too.

Yet the relationality implicit in these new forms of shared life doesn’t only lead to greater and more positive capacities for relationality among singularities. The deterritorialization of the common as biopolitics, the posthuman or even insurrection by no means conjures away the specter of power; thus with greater capacity on the one hand comes the possibility of more intense and invasive forms of power on the other. The question then becomes: how are new forms of the common that are being forged today — shared singularities, mirror neurons, impersonality – also being reterritorialized and recontained, and by whom? Is it possible that more intense forms of relationality might signal a return to the very terms that earlier critiques of the common had attempted to uncover? On the one hand the recent success of social networking sites like Facebook suggests that new forms of virtual relations involving vast numbers of “friends” are not only possible but involve ever greater exposure to others. On the other hand such exchanges continue to be premised on the notion that my body and my opinions belong to me, what the Invisible Committee unforgetably characterized as treating “our Self like a boring box office,” using whatever prosthesis is at hand “to hold onto an I.” In such a neo-liberal scenario, the circulation of information, of goods, of persons, of persons as goods is taken to mean a return to a common mode of being-together. It’s a film we’ve seen countless times before: the common’s reinscription in contexts less open to affect that are continually based upon a conflation of connnectivity with more open modes of relating.

These questions among others will be the foundation for a two-day conference sponsored by the journal Diacritics to be held on the campus of Cornell University on September 24-25, 2010. The conference, titled “Commonalities: Theorizing the Common in Italian Thought,” will bring together a number of Italian voices so as to think together not only the relation between Italy and the common but to consider emerging forms of the common and common life today as well as consider the efficacy of a term like the common for a progressive (bio)politics. Equally, the event, the first of its kind of recent memory in the United States, is an occasion to register the state of Italian thought today. When seen from the other side of the Atlantic, no other contemporary thought more than Italian seems better suited today to offer what Foucault called an ontology of the present. At a minimum, and pace my doubting Italian philosopher, the editorial and intellectual success of Italian thought merits a closer look.

Featured at the conference will be some of the leading philosophical figures from Italy today, including Franco Berardi, Remo Bodei, Cesare Casarino, Ida Dominjanni, Roberto Esposito, Michael Hardt, and Antonio Negri. The conference will be transmitted over the internet at http://www.commonconf.com. A number of Cornell students will be blogging the conference live over the two days.

Antonio Negri

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Nihilism

Nihilism

THE ITALIAN DIFFERENCE: BETWEEN NIHILISM AND BIOPOLITICS

 

The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics

Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano (eds.)

Price: $35.00 AUD; $25.00 USD; £16.00 GBP

ISBN-13: 978-0-9805440-7-7

ISBN-ebook: 978-0-9806665-4-0

Publication date: July 2009

Pages: 180

Format: 216×140 mm (5.5×8.5 in) Paperback

Series: ‘Transmission’

Download book as PDF (Open Access): http://www.re-press.org/content/view/66/38/

Description

This volume brings together essays by different generations of Italian thinkers which address, whether in affirmative, problematizing or genealogical registers, the entanglement of philosophical speculation and political proposition within recent Italian thought. Nihilism and biopolitics, two concepts that have played a very prominent role in theoretical discussions in Italy, serve as the thematic foci around which the collection orbits, as it seeks to define the historical and geographical particularity of these notions as well their continuing impact on an international debate. The volume also covers the debate around ‘weak thought’ (pensiero debole), the feminist thinking of sexual difference, the re-emergence of political anthropology and the question of communism. The contributors provide contrasting narratives of the development of post-war Italian thought and trace paths out of the theoretical and political impasses of the present—against what Negri, in the text from which the volume takes its name, calls ‘the Italian desert’.

Contents

Antonio Negri, ‘The Italian Difference’

Pier Aldo Rovatti, ‘Foucault Docet’

Gianni Vattimo, ‘Nihilism as Emancipation’

Roberto Esposito, ‘Community and Nihilism’

Matteo Mandarini, ‘Beyond Nihilism: Notes towards a Critique of Left-Heideggerianism in Italian Philosophy of the 1970s’

Luisa Muraro, ‘The Symbolic Independence from Power’

Mario Tronti, ‘Towards a Critique of Political Democracy’

Alberto Toscano, ‘Chronicles of Insurrection: Tronti, Negri and the Subject of Antagonism’

Paolo Virno, ‘Natural-Historical Diagrams: The ‘New Global’ Movement and the Biological Invariant’

Lorenzo Chiesa, ‘Giorgio Agamben’s Franciscan Ontology’

Authors, editors and contributors: Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano

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