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Revolt

REPETITION AND REVOLT

The Theory Reading Group at Cornell University invites submissions for its seventh annual interdisciplinary spring conference:

Repetition and Revolt

Featuring keynote speaker Rebecca Comay (University of Toronto)

Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
April 14-16, 2011

Wavering between the occurrence of the novel and the recurrence of the routine, the concept of revolution often divides along a line suggested by its etymology.  Thus, even as Copernicus upset the world system of his time, he did so by describing an orbit, a stable circle.  Put simply, this legacy reminds us that every proposed overturning might yield nothing more than a mere return, a tendency that threatens to undermine radical upheavals in domains ranging from the political to the aesthetic to the scientific.  As Robert Frost suggests, it may well be in the nature of “total revolution” to put “the same class up on top.”

This critical ambiguity can emerge whenever we attempt to account for the possibility of change or difference.  Does this division reveal something essential about revolution, or does it indicate a fault in the ways in which we think about revolution?  In what ways has contemporary thought attempted to reckon with or reconcile the competing meanings of this term?  How do philosophical and theoretical discourses account for change and difference, not only in the realms of politics, literature, art, and science, but also within philosophy and theory themselves?  What forms of critique, resistance, or action can we find in contemporary thought, and what do these forms disclose about the potential or limits of the concept of revolution?

Suggested topics:

* Paradigm shifts and epistemic breaks

* Theories of literary innovation

* Copernican revolution or Ptolemaic counterrevolution

* Theories of the event

* Aesthetics and politics

* The figure of the genius

* Repetition and difference

* Revolution and globalization

* The finite and the infinite

* Secularization, the post-secular, the new atheism

* The future of critique

* Collapse, catastrophe, and crisis

* Evolution and Darwinism

* Eternal return

* Utopia and dystopia

* Revolutionary violence and messianism

* Law and exception

* Theories of transgression

* Ruptures critical and diacritical

* Revolutions in media/social mediation

* Turns: political, linguistic, ethical, (anti)social, comic

Please limit the length of abstracts to no more than 250 words.

The deadline for submission of 250-word abstracts for 20-minute presentations is February 15, 2011.

Please include your name, e-mail address, and phone number.  Abstracts should be e-mailed to repetitionrevolt@gmail.com

Notices of acceptance will be sent no later than February 25, 2011.

For more information about the Cornell Theory Reading Group, visit: http://www.arts.cornell.edu/trg  

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‘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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Revolution

NEW TITLES FROM VERSO’S REVOLUTIONS SERIES

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT’S A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN (introduced by SHEILA ROWBOTHAM)

THOMAS MUNTZER’S SERMON TO THE PRINCES (introduced by WU MING)

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SHEILA ROWBOTHAM presents

A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN

By MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT

Published 2nd August 2010

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PRAISE FOR MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT:

“Every day she made theories by which life should be lived; and every day she came smack against the rock of other peoples’ prejudices. Everyday too – for she was no pedant, no cold-blooded theorist – something was born in her that thrust aside her theories and forced her to model them again.” – Virginia Woolf

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“It would be an endless task to trace the variety of meannesses, cares, and sorrows, into which women are plunged by the prevailing opinion that they were created rather to feel than reason, and that all the power they obtain, must be obtained by their charms and weakness.” – MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT

Renowned feminist historian SHEILA ROWBOTHAM, author of Edward Carpenter and Dreamers of a New Day, introduces a new edition of MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT’S seminal A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN, exploring Wollstonecraft’s unconventional and controversial life and the development of her groundbreaking work.

Originally written in 1790, Mary Wollstonecraft’s book remains one of the very first works of feminist philosophy. Groundbreaking in its demands for women’s rights, A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN remains one of history’s most important and eloquent broadsides against sexual oppression. Although controversial, it was well received on its publication, and the backlash against Wollstonecraft only began after her death, when details of her private life were published by her lover, William Godwin.

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SHEILA ROWBOTHAM is a Simon Professor at the University of Manchester . Her many books include the James Tait Black-shortlisted Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love and Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century.  She has written for many publications including the Guardian, The Times, the Independent, New Statesman, and the New York Times.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 446 6/ $15.95 / £8.99 / CAN$20 / 320 pages

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For more information visit:

http://www.versobooks.com/books/tuvwxyz/w-titles/wollstonecraft_mary_vindication_rights_of_woman_rev.shtml

To buy the book in the UK :

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844674466/Sheila-Rowbotham-Presents-Mary-Wollstonecraft

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vindication-Rights-Woman-Revolutions/dp/1844674460/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281955418&sr=1-1

To buy the book in the US :

http://www.amazon.com/Vindication-Rights-Woman-Revolutions/dp/1844674460/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281954445&sr=8-1

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WU MING presents

SERMON TO THE PRINCES

By THOMAS MUNTZER

Published 12th July 2010

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“A locus classicus for those who wish to meditate on the bonds between religious activism and social upheaval, and to explore the volatile combination of theological innovation and political strategy.” – Alberto Toscano

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“Again and again, I hear nothing from the doctors of theology but the mere words of Scripture, which they have knavishly stolen from the Bible like malicious thieves and cruel murderers. They will be damned for this theft by God himself…” THOMAS MUNTZER

WU MING, the radical Italian authors’ collective, introduce this new edition of THOMAS MUNTZER’S sermons, alongside his final confession before being executed. Previously writing under the name Luther Blissett, WU MING are the authors of Q – the highly acclaimed novel dramatising the Protestant Reformation in which the protagonist fights alongside Muntzer in the Peasant’s War of 1524. The book also features an additional preface explaining the historical context of Muntzer’s sermons.

THOMAS MUNTZER was one of the most radical pastors of the Reformation. Originally a follower of Luther, he became frustrated at the limited nature of Luther’s stand against the church, later referring to Luther as “Dr Liar” and “the poisonous black raven”.  Demanding the realisation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, Muntzer went on to lead the Peasant’s War of 1524, for which he was later beheaded.

WU MING’S characteristically sweeping introduction shows how Muntzer has continued to inspire radicals and visionaries for 500 years, from Marx and Engels to 21st century anti-capitalist protesters. They also draw direct parallels between the Peasant’s War and the 1990s Zapatista Levantmiento – “the most inspiring peasant uprising of our time”.

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WU MING is a collective of five fiction writers. Their bestselling books include the novel Q, written under the pseudonym of Luther Blissett, and 54. Their website is www.wumingfoundation.com.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 320 9/ $15.95 / £8.99 / CAN$20 / 172 pages

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For more information visit:

http://www.versobooks.com/books/klm/m-titles/muntzer_t_sermon_to_the_princes_rev.shtml

To buy the book in the UK :

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844673209/Sermon-to-the-Princes

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sermon-Princes-Revolutions-Alberto-Toscano/dp/1844673200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281955230&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US :

http://www.amazon.com/Sermon-Princes-Revolutions-Thomas-Muntzer/dp/1844673200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281955198&sr=1-1

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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Fanaticism

FANATICISM

On the Uses of an Idea

By ALBERTO TOSCANO

Published 7h June 2010

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EVENTS:

Thursday 3 June, 1pm at the RSA, London: A special introduction to Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea. For more information and book your free place: http://www.thersa.org/events/our-events/fanaticism-on-the-uses-of-an-idea

Friday 2 July, 2-3.30pm at the Marxism 2010 Festival in London, Room 3E at ULU, 2-3.30. For more information and to book:  https://www.marxismfestival.org.uk/2010/bookonline.html

Thursday 8 July, 6.45pm: Launch talk at the ICA. Further details to be announced here: http://www.ica.org.uk/7945/Talks/Talks-listings.html

Monday 11 October, 6.30 -8.00pm at the LSE, Wolfson theatre as part of the Forum for European Philosophy talks. Further details to be announced here:http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/forumForEuropeanPhilosophy/events/Default.htm

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“A tour de force in every sense – Toscano wipes the smug smiles off the self-righteous faces of the New Philosophers.” Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

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Fanaticism is usually seen as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs. Drawing a straight line from the Peasant Wars to Bolshevism, this view of fanaticism is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano’s compelling counter-history explores the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state, and undermines the idea that liberalism and fanaticism are irrevocably opposed. 

Tracing its development from the traumatic Peasants’ War of early sixteenth-century Germany, to contemporary Islamism, Toscano tears apart the sterile opposition of “reasonableness” and fanaticism. Instead, in a radical new interpretation, he places the fanatic at the very heart of politics, arguing that historical and revolutionary transformations require a new understanding of its role. Showing how fanaticism results from the failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics, this illuminating history sheds new light on an idea that continues to dominate debates about faith and secularism.

The ‘fanatic’ is the figure that we are all scared of – whether it’s the Islamic fundamentalist primed for a suicide bombing or the Christian anti-abortionist planning to murder a doctor. The fanatic is a whirl of contradictions: at once cold-blooded and insanely passionate, opportunistic but principled, backward and yet technologically sophisticated, murderous and prepared to risk everything to human rights. He or she is driven by abstract principles, whether religious or secular, that threaten the very basis of a pragmatic liberal democracy. But are these oppositions really the way to understand the conflict between religion and state, terror and democracy?

In this tour de force examination of political and philosophical rhetoric through the ages, Alberto Toscano examines the use of the term ‘fanatic’. Following its use by Martin Luther in the Reformation, the rationalists in the Enlightenment, and liberals in the Cold War and the present day, he finds our understanding of it dictated by the prejudices of the day.

Toscano argues that there is an unsettling intimacy between political behaviour regarded as fanatical, and rational, emancipatory politics: supposedly liberal political projects are also marked by fanaticism. Moreover, while a liberal would claim that passion and abstract principles (such as universal rights) are the jurisdiction of the fanatic and have no place in rational politics, we should seek to reclaim a place for these supposedly negative terms at the heart of contemporary politics. For example, finding that nineteenth century slavers called abolitionists fanatics for their ‘mad’ adherence to the Rights of Man, he asks us to reconsider who we regard as a fanatic.

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ALBERTO TOSCANO is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production, translator of Alain Badiou’s The Century and Logics of Worlds and co-editor of, among others, Alain Badiou’s Theoretical Writings and Antonio Negri’s Political Descartes. He has published numerous articles on contemporary philosophy, politics and social theory, and is an editor of Historical Materialism.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 424 4 / $26.95 / £16.99 / CAN$33.50 / 304 pages

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For more information visit: http://www.versobooks.com/books/tuvwxyz/tuv-titles/toscano_alberto_fanaticism.shtml

To buy the book in the UK:

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844674244/Fanaticism

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fanaticism-Uses-Idea-Alberto-Toscano/dp/184467424X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273744261&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US:

http://www.amazon.com/Fanaticism-Uses-Idea-Alberto-Toscano/dp/184467424X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273744586&sr=1-1

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Visit Verso’s new blog for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers. http://versouk.wordpress.com/

And get updates on Twitter too! http://twitter.com/VersoBooksUK

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski