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The conference will be held during the Guy Debord exhibition at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Spring 2013.


In 2009, the archives of Guy Debord became a “national treasure”; a year later, they entered the collections of BnF’s manuscripts department. This has given researchers access to the sources of Guy Debord’s work as well as to many other documents from the Situationist movement. These extensive archives confirm a now well-established story, but they also give us new insights into texts, events, relationships, and gather numerous contextual elements from the period. They’re precious for what they reveal about Guy Debord’s intentions and circumstances. They show Guy Debord to be the author, protagonist and key witness of a story that he so often masterminded.

This conference invites researchers to take full advantage of the archives. We are encouraging researchers to use the new evidence to question every assumption and interpretation. Papers based on other sources than the Guy Debord Archives are also welcome.


This two-day conference will explore the four issues below. The questions and sources mentioned here are mere propositions. Participants are free to propose others, in accordance with the four main issues of the conference.

The author
This first part of the conference will examine the material and the making of Guy Debord’s writings. It will mostly present archive-based research that explores the author’s reading practices, his personal library or his intellectual education, as well as the genesis of his writing, the sources and workings of détournement, the author’s stylistic and rhetoric armoury, the wide range of literary genres he practiced, or the various strategies he invented to write the self and the world.

Available sources in the archive: various states of the texts, preliminary documents for the cinema, reading notes, library (as in 1994)

The material of the action
In this second part of the conference, we will further consider the means and ends of Guy Debord’s revolutionary project: how did Guy Debord practically promote the Situationist theory and praxis, supersede the arts, realize philosophy, fight against the spectacle, and occupy his positions within various fields (arts, Marxism, radical politics, etc.)? The main focus will be the action as considered through its documentation. We would like to study the material conditions of Guy Debord’s revolution of everyday life, his strategies to articulate theory and practice, along with the means and various consequences of their diffusion.

Available sources in the archive: Press gathered by Guy Debord all along his life, documentation on the International Situationist’s publications and organisation, documents on the publishing activities, correspondence.

Guy Debord and the others
The Situationist adventure was a collective one. This third part of the conference will examine Debord’s relations with his friends, enemies, or partners in revolution. The role of specific individuals or groups in Guy Debord’s life and projects shall here be developed – for instance: Joseph G. Wolman, Pinot Gallizio, Asger Jorn, Henri Lefebvre, Alexander Trocchi, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Jacqueline de Jong, SPUR, the Nashists of the Second S.I., Raoul Vaneigem, I.C.O., anarchists in France and abroad, Gérard Lebovici, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, etc.

Available sources in the archive: correspondence, received documentation, other archives.

Guy Debord and Us
The Situationist posterities and Guy Debord’s heritage are vast and perilous issues. We would like them to be addressed with the use of archival sources, field work, or interviews. The idea of this fourth part of the conference will be to determine how the Situationist and Debordian heritage has been travelling, passed on, recuperated or “détourné”, in many different fields, including of course the arts, literature, political theory or activism, etc. The current accuracy of Guy Debord’s thought shall also be examined, as well as the different aspects of its possible or impossible posterity in the contemporary world.

Available sources in the archive: Press gathered by Guy Debord, received documentation, correspondence, other archives, interview, field work.

Format: 20 minutes

Deadline for submissions: May, 15th 2012

All researchers, from every discipline or institution (as well as independent researchers) can submit a paper to this conference. Proposals shouldn’t exceed 500 words, and should be sent, along with a short presentation (or c.v.) to the following email addresses: and by May 15th, 2012.

These addresses should also be used for further questions on the archives or the conference.
The online inventory (in process) is available through the BnF manuscripts online catalogue at the following address:

Host institution :
Bibliothèque nationale de France

Organisation :
Laurence Le Bras and Emmanuel Guy
Curators of the Guy Debord exhibition
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Département des Manuscrits
5 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France


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Call for Papers

Here are the details: Taking up Space Cultural Studies Postgraduate Event 25th – 26th June 2012, Goldsmiths College, University of London 

This is a one / two day conference exploring the meaning and understanding of space in its physical manifestations as well as in its discursive forms; through which identity, meaning, value and authority can be mapped in particular ways.

We cannot avoid space. It is inevitable. The ways in which we understand ourselves, others and the world around us implies some notion of space. Our sense of self and society is worked through and is contained in space: culture does not only take place, but also creates it “making symbolic use of its objects” (Lefebvre).

To what degree does our conception of space change when we understand ourselves as self-enclosed or permeable beings? Can art and performance therefore mediate the relationship between the self, objects and environment? “The activities of travel, journey and navigation fabricate the social world as well as reveal it” (Caroline Knowles).

The space of the streets has become the site of dis-order and territory has become a prime issue for understanding contemporary social tensions. The recent riots in the UK brought into the forefront questions such as who owns space, how we can use this as a place for resistance and what notions of space are currently active in shaping and operating the socially constructed body. The possession of a categorized space can be considered in line with homelessness as a dislocation of the public and private, attesting to the multi-dimensionality of space and both the potentials and restrictions embodied in it.

The upcoming Olympics also signify the difficulties facing spaces contesting belonging and struggle. Questions of locality and identity are important, inciting questions of nationalism and tourism, paramount to the formation of cultural identity. In turn, the Occupy movement and one year anniversary ofTahrir Squarereinstates the need to define sacred and everyday space and the potentials in multiple usages of place. This conference will ask how can we negotiate the historicisation of memory? The aim of this conference is to rethink how space is interacted with and reconfigured in different mediums as a site for action as well as containment. If we cannot avoid space how can this be used to further an understanding of self or curtail ideas of autonomy? How are we embodied by space and embodying it at the same time? In what ways can space be used as a site for artistic and political development and how does the contemporary world and being become through the spatial? We welcome proposals for papers, discussions, short film, dance, performances, workshops and other engagements and activities engaging among others with the different ways of being in space.

Topics, experiences, understandings and possibilities might include but are not restricted to: • Temporality and embodiment • Knowledge and materiality • Interaction between objects and self • Memory/ history/ time • Bodies and public and private • Restrictions and exclusions • Performance / realm of aesthetics • Identity/ territory / alienation • Subversive potential – resistance / containment 

Abstracts/ proposals of 300-500 words should be sent to by 15th March 2012. 

Program will be confirmed mid-April. 


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Marxism and Art


Call for Papers

AAG 2011 – Seattle, USA, 12-16 April

Session organisers – Alex Loftus (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester)

Liberating ourselves from the horrors of the present requires an artistic and sensuous imagination that will be transformed in the coming of a future society. Sensuous experience is the raw material from which a revolutionary project might be realised. Equally, sensuous experience provokes new forms of political subjectivity. This is at the heart of Ranciere’s understanding of “the distribution of the sensible” and the relationship he theorises between politics and aesthetics. It might also be traced to other threads of Marxist thought. In part inspired by Epicurus, Marx thought deeply about sensuousness. He clearly also understood this through an artistic model (as Lefebvre claimed, Marx “imagines a society in which everyone would…perceive the world through the eyes of an artist, enjoy the sensuous through the eyes of a painter, the ears of a musician and the language of a poet”).

Discussions of affect and the affective within Geography have rarely included such considerations. Nevertheless, emerging practices within a relational and post-relational aesthetics have drawn significantly from new communist theory (Badiou, Zizek, Nancy) and reconnected with Marx’s theorisation of the senses (Roberts 2009). For Toscano (2008), this places the question of a “communism of the senses” within an understanding of both aesthetic and Marxist thought. At the same time, with the publication of Merrifield’s (2011) Magical Marxism, we have been challenged to think more freely about the positive foundations on which we struggle for radical change. As Merrifield writes: “Politics more than anything needs the magical touch of dream and desire, needs the shock of the poetic”.

This session will explore the role of poetics and sensuousness within politics and the struggle for a future society. Possible topics are:

·         The role of the senses in an “inaugural communism”
·         Marxist thought and relational sensuousness
·         Politics, aesthetics and the new communist theory
·         Magical, sensational marxisms
·         The Politics of the Senses
·         The Communist Imaginary today
·         Sensuous communist geographies
·         Emerging Communist Geographies

If you are interested in participating, please contact either Alex Loftus ( or Erik Swyngedouw (

Erik Swyngedouw
Professor of Geography
School of Environment and Development
Manchester University

New books:
Heynen N, Kaika M, Swyngedouw E (Eds.) In the Nature of Cities, Routledge, London and New York, 2005.

Swyngedouw Erik, Social Power and the Urbanization of Water Flows of Power, Oxford University Press, 2004.
ISBN 0-19-823391-4


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Karl Marx


Extended Abstract Deadline

Due to high demand, the deadline for submitting abstracts for the 2010 Historical Materialism Conference in London has now been extended to 1 JULY 2010. This will be the last extension.

‘Crisis and Critique’: Historical Materialism Annual London Conference 2010,

Central London, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th November*

Call for Papers

Notwithstanding repeated invocations of the ‘green shoots of recovery’, the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008 continue to be felt around the world. While some central tenets of the neoliberal project have been called into question, bank bailouts, cuts to public services and attacks on working people’s lives demonstrate that the ruling order remains capable of imposing its agenda. Many significant Marxist analyses have already been produced of the origins, forms and prospects of the crisis, and we look forward to furthering these debates at HM London 2010. We also aim to encourage dialogue between the critique of political economy and other modes of criticism – ideological, political, aesthetic, philosophical – central to the Marxist tradition.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht projected a journal to be called ‘Crisis and Critique’. In very different times, but in a similar spirit, HM London 2010 aims to serve as a forum for dialogue, interaction and debate between different strands of critical-Marxist theory. Whether their focus is the study of the capitalist mode of production’s theoretical and practical foundations, the unmasking of its ideological forms of legitimation or its political negation, we are convinced that a renewed and politically effective Marxism will need to rely on all the resources of critique in the years ahead. Crises produce periods of ideological and political uncertainty. They are moments that put into question established cognitive and disciplinary compartmentalisations, and require a recomposition at the level of both theory and practice. HM London 2010 hopes to contribute to a broader dialogue on the Left aimed at such a recomposition, one of whose prerequisites remains the young Marx’s call for the ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’.

We are seeking papers that respond to the current crisis from a range of Marxist perspectives, but also submissions that try to think about crisis and critique in their widest ramifications. HM will also consider proposals on themes and topics of interest to critical-Marxist theory not directly linked to the call for papers (we particularly welcome contributions on non-Western Marxism and on empirical enquiries employing Marxist methods).

While Historical Materialism is happy to receive proposals for panels, the editorial board reserves the right to change the composition of panels or to reject individual papers from panel proposals. We also expect all participants to attend the whole conference and not simply make ‘cameo’ appearances. We cannot accommodate special requests for specific slots or days, except in highly exceptional circumstances.

*Please note that, in order to allow for expected demand, this year the conference will be three and a half days’ long, starting on the Thursday afternoon.

Please submit a title and abstract of between 200 and 300 words by registering at: by 1 JULY 2010

Possible themes include:

•       Crisis and left recomposition

•       Critique and crisis in the global south

•       Anti-racist critique

•       Marxist and non-Marxist theories of crisis

•       Capitalist and anti-capitalist uses of the crisis

•       Global dimensions of the crisis

•       Comparative and historical accounts of capitalist crisis

•       Ecological and economic crisis

•       Critical theory today

•       Finance and the crisis

•       Neoliberalism and legitimation crisis

•       Negation and negativity

•       Feminism and critique

•       Political imaginaries of crisis and catastrophe

•       The critique of everyday life (Lefebvre, the Situationists etc.)

•       The idea of critique in Marx, his predecessors and contemporaries

•       Art criticism, political critique and the critique of political economy

•       Geography and crisis, geography and the critique of political economy

•       Right-wing movements and crisis

•       Critiques of the concept of crisis

•       New forms of critique in the social and human sciences

•       Aesthetic critique

•       Marxist literary and cultural criticism

•       Reports on recent evolution of former USSR countries and China

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May Day


Centre for Democracy and Human Rights

Fifth Annual May Day Lecture

A New Waste Land? From the Cruellest of Aprils to the Most Unpredictable of May Days

Konstantinos Tsoukalas, Professor Emeritus in Sociology and Political Theory, University of Athens

Do something democratic this election day, think!

Join us as Konstantinos Tsoukalas examines the current economic crisis and political malaise. Professor Tsoukalas is Greece’s most illustrious political theorist and public intellectual. He taught at the University of Paris VIII for many years (1968-1981) before returning to Greece, having worked closely with such key Marxist thinkers as Nicos Poulantzas, Jean-Claude Passeron, Henri Lefebvre, and Philippe Rey. His books include: The Greek Tragedy (1969), Dependency and Reproduction (1975), Social Development and the State (1981), State, Society, and Labor in Post-war Greece (1986), Idols of Civilization: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in the Contemporary Polity (1991), Sovereign Power as People and as Nation (1999), and War and Peace after the ‘End of History’ (2006).

Thursday May 6th, from 5-7pm
Council Chamber, Old Fire House


For further information please contact: Dr Peter Bratsis (Tel. 0161 295 6555 or

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NEW TITLE:  The Situationists and the City

Edited and Translated by TOM MCDONOUGH

Published 15th February 2010


“An extraordinary banquet for the subversive imagination served by the master chefs of Situationism.” – Mike Davis

“A brilliant array of reports, manifestoes, stories, and scenarios concerning architecture and urbanism, this expertly edited volume might serve as a guide in our contemporary confrontation with an urban environment once again rolled by capital.” – Hal Foster


The Situationist International were one of the most important radical groups to have emerged in the rush of twentieth century avant-garde projects after the first world war. Led by the Hegelian philosopher, anarcho-Leninist revolutionary, avant-garde film maker, romantic, alcoholic, theorist of the ‘society of the spectacle’ and original psychogeographer Guy Debord they caused havoc in art galleries, cinemas and, most importantly, on the streets of Paris in May 1968.

The work of the Situationist International on the city has reverberated through contemporary culture. The Situationists invented the concept of psychogeography, the idea that we are drawn to or repelled from particular areas by a unique combination of emotional and historical ambiences – they saw the city as alive and the tumult of its history bleeding through its architecture and through the very planning of the streets. They also saw the city as a place of revolution and imagined that society could be changed if the urban framework was transformed.

Most of their pieces were first published in their journal INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONISTE (the style of which is replicated by the book cover). Now, for the first time, the key work of the Situationists on the city, and of key early allies such as theorist Henri Lefebvre and architect Constant, has been collected into one illustrated volume.


Tom McDonough is Associate Professor of Modern Architecture and Urbanism in the Art History Department at Binghamton University. He is the editor of GUY DEBORD AND THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL and the author of THE BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF MY CENTURY.

He is also an editor of GREY ROOM, a journal which brings together scholarly and theoretical articles from the fields of architecture, art, media, and politics to forge a cross-disciplinary discourse uniquely relevant to contemporary concerns.


ISBN: 978 1 84467 364 3  $26.95 / £14.99 / $29.95 / Paperback / 244 pages

ISBN: 978 1 84467 332 2 $110.00 / £65.00 / $121.00 / Hardback / 244 pages


For more information visit:

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UPDATE 19th June 2010:

Tom McDonough and Owen Hatherley discussing Situationists in the City at the ICA on Wednesday 16th June:

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