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Teaching Marx

Teaching Marx



Following successful seminar series and international conferences in the last years, the Brunel Social and Political Thought research group will organise another seminar series in 2013/14: ‘Re/Dis/Order’. This seminar series aims to explore the different ways in which the constitution, transformation and negation of political order have been understood by some of the key theorists of modern political thought, from the early modern period to contemporary social and political theory. Seminars are open to all.

Term 1

Wednesday 30th October 2013, 4:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

State and Capital

Andrea Bardin (Brunel University) ‘Mechanising the Organic: Hobbes and the Epistemological Revolution in Civil Science’

Matthijs Krul (Brunel University) ‘Neoliberal Visions of Order: Theories of the State in the New Institutional Economic History’

Wednesday 13th November 2013, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Fabio Raimondi (University of Salerno) ‘Althusser, Machiavelli and the Problem of Political Power’

Wednesday 27th November 2013, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Sara R. Farris (Goldsmiths, University of London) ‘From the Jewish Question to the Muslim Question’

Wednesday 11th December 2013, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Fillippo del Lucchese (Brunel University) ‘Machiavelli and Constituent Power’

Term 2

Wednesday 8th January 2014, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Peter D. Thomas (Brunel University) ‘“We Good Subalterns”: Gramsci’s Theory of Political Modernity’

Wednesday 29th January 2014, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 210

Banu Bargu (SOAS) ‘Sovereignty as Erasure’

Wednesday 5th February 2014, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Nathaniel Boyd (Brunel University) ‘Organising the Body Politic: Hegel’s Corporate Theory of State’

Wednesday 19th February 2014, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Jamie Pitman (BrunelUniversity) ‘Castor and Pollux? The Marx-Engels Relationship’

Ebubekir Dursun (Brunel University) ‘“Stubborn, Insociable, Froward, Intractable”: the History of the Excluded in Hobbes’s Leviathan’

Wednesday 5th March 2014, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

John Roberts (Brunel University) ‘Beyond Flows, Fluids and Networks: Social Theory and the Fetishism of the Global Informational Economy’

Wednesday 26th March 2014, 1:00pm, Gaskell Building Room 239

Mark Neocleous (Brunel University)

Book Launch: ‘War Power, Police Power’ (Edinburgh University Press, 2014)

All seminars take place at Brunel University. Directions to the campus can be found here:

For further information, please contact:

Peter Thomas at

Visit the Brunel SPT Research Group webpages:


Other Brunel SPT Activities in 2013/14

Film Screening Series
(Organised in Collaboration with the Isambard Centre for Historical Research)

Paths of Shame: WWI in Cinema

1st October: S. Kubrick, Paths of Glory (1957)

15th October: R. Bernard, Wooden Crosses (1932)

29th October: J. Losey, King and Country (1964)

12th November: J. Renoir, La Grande Illusion (1939)

26th November: F. Rosi, Many Wars Ago (1970)

10th December: D. Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

All screenings in Gaskell Building Room 239 @ 5:30pm

Organised by Alison Carrol and Filippo del Lucchese

For more information, contact:
Alison Carrol <>
Filippo Dellucchese <>


Identity, Alterity, Monstrosity: Figures of the Multitude (I)

The process of construction of identity, both individual and collective, and the genesis of political subjectivity, are largely grounded on concurrent ideological mechanisms that define otherness: subjectivity, alterity and identity are the complex outcomes of one intellectual and cultural process, historically produced by the encounter with the Other, whether real or imagined.
Notwithstanding the effort in conceptualising this encounter in the global and multicultural context of contemporary societies, its historical genealogy is often underestimated: a genealogy that is rooted in the theoretical definition of the concepts of normality, abnormality, and monstrosity. Developed in the early modern age, these concepts have produced and keep producing their cultural, social, and political effects.
The main objective of this seminar is to reconstruct the genealogy of the modern problem of identity, subjectivity, and otherness through an historical analysis of the idea of monstrosity within scientific, philosophical, and literary discourses of early modernity.
During the first semester of this seminar we will focus on the radical alterity represented since the 17th century by the theoretical figure of the multitude. Hobbes, for example, develops the idea of the Leviathan’s sovereign body through the homogeneous unity of the people. By definition, the people is opposed to the conflictual multiplicity of the multitude in the state of nature. In contrast, Spinoza grounds the idea of a free State on the multitude’s conatus – its drive to actualize its own nature – and its right of resistance against the sovereign. This right is irreducible and monstrous, thus introducing the natural dimension into the State rather than excluding it from society.
While Hobbes confined the multitude to the edges of the political map, with Spinoza it takes centre-stage, becoming the beating and conflictual heart of political life. Starting with the indirect dialogue between these two authors, we will focus this year on radical and monstrous alterity – the sense of otherness and how that is defined – in early modern and contemporary thought.

Organised by Filippo Del Lucchese (BrunelUniversity, London and Collège International de Philosophie) and Caroline Williams (Queen Mary, University of London). For more information, contact:

Filippo Dellucchese <>
Caroline Williams <>

Location: QMUL, ARTS TWO (room TPC) 5:00pm

Dates: 26th February, 26th March, 14th May, 11th June


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Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

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The Flow of Ideas:

Rikowski Point:


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Call for Papers

Crisis & Critique of the State
Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference 2013
25 – 26 October 2013, Goldsmiths, University of London

Keynote Speakers:
Sara Farris, Goldsmiths, University of London
Bob Jessop, Lancaster University
Massimiliano Tomba, University of Padua

The ongoing crisis poses the question of state and democracy anew. While many commentators mourn the vanishing sovereignty of the state in the face of financial markets and globalisation, and declare our times to be post-democratic, their nostalgic image of the glorious days of democracy and sovereignty as bulwarks against capitalism is profoundly problematic. We consider it therefore not only necessary to discuss the question of the state and democracy again, but with Negri we could even say that “there must be a structural theory of the State-capital-society relationship and a political strategy adequate to the structural character of these interrelations.”

Revisit concepts and discussions…
The goal of the conference is to debate critical materialist notions of the state, which do not fall back into vulgar conceptions that see the state simply as the tool of the ruling class, but also refuse the common liberal position in which the state becomes the mere mediator of conflicting interests. We consider Poulantzas’s notion of the state as “the specific material condensation of a relationship of forces among classes and class fractions” to be a fruitful starting point. From Poulantzas’s perspective, which critically incorporates Althusser’s earlier attempt to complexify a materialist concept of the state, the state is the product of existing power relations; however, it can gain a relative autonomy from those structures and in turn transform them. That is also the backdrop against which democracy within capitalist societies can be discussed productively. But the question of democracy goes beyond the analysis of the existing: philosophical, social and empirical notions of democracy, sovereignty and the political are key to any present discussion of emancipatory politics.

…to address questions of the present.
We want to tie in with existing materialist conceptions and critiques of the state and think through their relevance to the present. What does it mean for the state to be the “ideal collective capitalist” (Engels) in times of the economic crisis? Is there a notion of the state that we should defend and what would it look like? What is a feminist critique of the state in the face of the crisis (of reproduction)? These are only a few of the many questions we hope to discuss from various disciplinary, theoretical as well as empirical, perspectives.

Topics include but are not limited to:
– (materialist) state theories
– state-form, sovereignty and the law
– the crisis and critique of democracy, representation and popular sovereignty
– critiques of the nation state, citizenship and immigration policies
– the state and race
– feminist critiques of the state
– governmentality / management and resistance in the economic crisis
– the politics of austerity and their cultural and economic implications
– the role of the state and political economy
– (post-)politics and the political
– the relationship between democracy, populism and fascism
– revolution and the state
– the relation of philosophy and politics vis-à-vis the state
– violence, repression and the state: “policing the crisis”
– state & the commons

The call is primarily addressed to postgraduate students, young researchers, activists, etc. We plan to have panels with academics from Goldsmiths and other universities responding to the presentations.
Please send abstracts of not more than 500 words to by Monday, 29th of July 2013. We also invite proposals for possible panels.


First published at:




Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (new remix, and new video, 2012)  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Rikowski Point:


Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:

Online Publications at:





Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS)

Gender & Sexuality Workshop

“Femonationalism, civic integration and their discontents”

Sara R. Farris

(IAS, Princeton 2012-2013;

Sociology Department, Cambridge University, UK)



Saskia Bonjour

(LeidenUniversity, Institute for History)



This paper presents the results of a study of the recent ‘civic integration’ turn in Europe and its emphasis upon women’s equality. Civic integration refers to the main principle guiding the common EU agenda for the integration of third country nationals (i.e., immigrants from the Global South). It emphasizes the need for immigrants to learn the language, history and values of the European country of destination in order for them to achieve successful integration. Civic integration programs put particular emphasis on gender equality, both in terms of promoting immigrant women’s participation in the EU labor market and in terms of presenting gender equality as one of the pillars of European values. By showing how the gender mainstreaming of integration programs is concretely implemented, particularly in countries such as the Netherlands, France and Italy, this paper will address the paradoxes lying at the heart of the European agenda on integration. In particular, such paradoxes will be addressed in terms of (a) the nationalist translation of EU supranational directives and the nationalist mobilisation of gender equality, or what I call Femonationalism, which have been deployed mainly in an Islamophobic manner; (b) the contradictions of ‘emancipatory liberal feminism’ which interprets women’s emancipation as women’s wage work ‘outside the household’; (c) the role of immigrant women and reproductive labor under neoliberalism. The paper will analyze these trends by means of the conceptual tools provided by the sociology of migration, political economy and feminist theory.


Date: Friday, March 15

Time: 10:30-12:30

Location: Bushuis, F0.22 (Kloveniersburgwal 48)


The workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

First published in:


Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales); and at (new remix, and new video, 2012)  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Rikowski Point:


Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:

Online Publications at:

Tempus Fugit


Now Out!

Marx’s Temporalities
Massimiliano Tomba, University of Padua

Translated from the Italian by Peter D. Thomas and Sara R. Farris

The book rethinks the central categories of Marx’s work beyond any philosophy of history, providing a critical analysis of his political and theoretical development from his early writings, to the elaboration of the critique of political economy and his final anthropological studies on pre-individualistic and communist forms. The study aims to integrate the paradigm of the spatialisation of time with that of the temporalisation of space, showing how capital places diverse temporalities into hierarchies that incessantly produce and reproduce new forms of class struggle. An adequate historiographical paradigm for globalised capitalism has to consider the plurality of temporal layers that are combined and come into conflict in the violently unifying historical dimension of modernity.

Author: Massimiliano Tomba

Biographical note
Massimiliano Tomba is Professor of Philosophy of Human Rights at the University of Padua. He has published many books, translations and articles, including Crisis and Critique in Bruno Bauer (2002) and La vera politica. Kant e Benjamin (2006)

All interested in Marx’s thought, the concept of historical time in the modern world and the history of political thought and philosophy

Table of contents
Chapter One: The Historical Materialist
Appendix One: Marx as Historical Materialist. Re-reading the Eighteenth Brumaire
Chapter Two: A New Phenotype
Chapter Three: Capital as Phantasmagoria
Appendix Two: A Contribution to the Historiography of Layers of Time


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Conference: States of Feminism / Matters of State: Gender and the Politics of Exclusion

2nd and 3rd December

Jan van Eyck Academy




For more info:

Two day conference organised by Sara Farris, Avigail Moss, Kerstin Stakemeier, Rebecka Thor

This two-day conference on contemporary feminism will investigate how feminist thought has developed in relation to the rise of populist politics in Europe, and correspondingly how it relates to questions of nationalism and identity. In the recent resurgence of nationalistic and xenophobic ideologies across Europe, policy makers and the media have increasingly instrumentalised discourses about female emancipation. Paraphrasing Gayatri Spivak’s effective metaphor, contemporary nationalism and xenophobia increasingly take the form of a wide-spread discourse in which “white men claim to be saving brown women from brown men.” Why is the ideal, albeit misleading, approach of female emancipation increasingly used by contemporary nationalism? What kinds of feminism do such nationalistic agendas employ? How can we articulate a feminist perspective that resists such misuses?

In addition to addressing these issues from sociological and philosophical perspectives, States of feminism/matters of state will also consider how aesthetic practices incorporate feminist strategies, and how art can be used as a means of conducting feminist politics. How is this (state of being?) depicted in narratives questioning authorship, polyphonic time, geopolitical space? The conference will include artists working with queer subjectivities in order to be able to discuss the term from multiple positions. As artists and critics, Sara Farris, Avigail Moss, Kerstin Stakemeier and Rebecka Thor ask how feminist thinking pertaining to questions of statehood operates today in politics, art and theory, and how these fields intersect and diverge.


Thursday, 2nd December

14.00 – 14.30: Rada Ivekovic, (University Jean-Monnet St. Etienne), “Women at stake in matters of state, nation and society”

Discussant: Chiara Bonfiglioli

15.00 – 15.30: Michaela Mélian, TBA
Discussant: Avigail Moss

16.00 – 16.15: Break

16.15 – 16.45: Vincenza Perilli (Online Journal Marginalia, Bologna), “The colonial inheritance of sexo-racism in Fortress Europe.”

Discussant: Sara Farris

18.00: Dinner at the JvE Academy.

20.00: Screening: “Comrades of Time. Zeitgenössinen.” (Andrea Geyer 2010): Q&A with Andrea Geyer via Skype (Artist, New York)

Discussant: Rebecka Thor

Friday, 3rd December

11.00 – 11.30: Neferti Tadiar (Professor and Chair Women’s Studies in Barnard College, New York), “The Remainders of Feminism and  Nationalism: Lifetimes in Becoming Human”

Discussant: Katja Diefenbach

12.00-13.00: Lunch

13.00 – 13.30: Performance by Johannes Paul Raether (Berlin)


Discussant: Kerstin Stakemeier

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Conference: What Is to be Done? Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin

Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, The Netherlands
After 1968
8th November 2010 

Lenin’s Scenario of Class Leadership: The Unifying Theme of his Political Career   

– Lecture by Lars T. Lih
– Introduced by Sara Farris + Peter Thomas
– Auditorium

What Is to be Done? and Bolshevism: Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin 
– Workshop with Sara Farris, Lars. T. Lih, Peter Thomas + Katja Diefenbach
– Auditorium

Lenin wrote What Is to Be Done? at top-speed in late 1901 and early 1902—years filled with dramatic events that foreshadowed the great Russian revolution of 1905. Beneath the polemics, Lenin’s book reflects this drama and offers an enthusiastic, indeed romantic view of the galvanizing effect of the workers’ struggle against the Tsar on all of Russian society. Lenin assigned the Social Democratic underground a heroic mission in leading this struggle against the Tsar. His vision of the underground was opposed in spirit to the conspiratorial underground of an earlier generation of Russian revolutionaries. Indeed, his concrete proposals arose from the collective experience of his own generation of underground activists, and as such were accepted by all factions in the Social Democratic party.

These features of What Is to Be Done? force us to look critically at the accepted story that Lenin’s book was the major cause of the split in 1903-4 between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

For further information, please contact: Katja Diefenbach: or Sara Farris:
or Peter Thomas:

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Research Articles

Experiences in Common: Slavery and “Freedom” in the Process of Rio de Janeiro’s Working-Class Formation (1850–1910)
Marcelo Badaró Mattos
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 193-213
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000167 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Transnational Experts in Social Reform, 1840–1880
Chris Leonards and Nico Randeraad
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 215-239
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000179 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Suggestions and Debates

“The World the Horses Made”: A South African Case Study of Writing Animals into Social History
Sandra Swart, International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 241-263
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000192 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)


A Brave New World: The Left, Social Engineering, and Eugenics in Twentieth-Century Europe
Leo Lucassen
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 265-296
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000209 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Review Essays

New and Old Spirits of Capitalism
Sara R. Farris
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 297-306
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000210 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Comparing Labor Politics in the US and Australia: New Light on an Old Question
Shelton Stromquist
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 307-315
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000222 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Book Reviews

Beate Sturm. “Wat ich schuldich war”: Privatkredit im frühneuzeitlichen Hannover (1550–1750). [Vierteljahrschrift für
Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte: Beihefte.] Steiner, Stuttgart 2009. 336 pp. €62.00
Jaco Zuijderduijn
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 317-318
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000325 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Jerry Z. Muller Capitalism and the Jews. Princeton University Press, Princeton 2010. 267 pp. $24.95; £16.95
Mario KesslerInternational Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 318-321
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000337 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Civil Society, Associations and Urban Places: Class, Nation and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Ed. by Graeme Morton, Boudien de Vries, and Robert John Morris. Ashgate. Aldershot [etc.]. 2006. xiv, 220 pp. £55.00
Social Capital and Associations in European Democracies: A comparative analysis. Ed. by William A. Maloney and Sigrid Roßteutscher. [Routledge Research in Comparative Politics.] Routledge, London [etc.] 2007. xvii, 308 pp. £70.00.
Irina Novichenko
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 321-326
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000349 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Reşat Kasaba. A Moveable Empire: Ottoman Nomads, Migrants, and Refugees. [Studies in Modernity and National Identity.] University of Washington Press, Seattle [etc.] 2009. x, 194 pp. $70.00. (Paper $30.00.)
M. Erdem Kabadayı
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 327-328
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000350 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Lucien Van der Walt and Schmidt Michael. Black Flame. The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism.
[Counterpower, Vol. I.] AK Press, Edinburgh [etc.] 2009. 395 pp. $22.95
Ruth Kinna
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 329-331
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000362 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History. Ed by Aaron Brenner, Benjamin Day, and Immanuel Ness. M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, New York [etc.] 2009. xxxix, 750 pp. Ill. $175.00
Paul F. Lipold
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 331-334
doi:10.1017/S0020859010000374 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Elena Shulman. Stalinism on the Frontier of Empire: Women and State Formation in the Soviet Far East Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2008
Marianna Muravyeva
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 334-336
doi:10.1017/S002085901000043X (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010 (?)

Jacob Eyferth. Eating Rice from Bamboo Roots. The Social History of a Community of Handicraft Papermakers in Rural Sichuan, 1920–2000. Harvard University Press. 335 pp. Ill. $45.00; £33.95; € 40.50
Christine Moll-Murata
International Review of Social History, Volume 55, Issue 02, August 2010, pp 336-339doi:10.1017/S0020859010000441 (About doi), Available on CJO 28 Jul 2010


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After 1968: The Singular, The Trans-individual and the Common


Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht
After 1968

Tuesday 19 May
14:00 – 18:00

After 1968: The singular, the trans-individual and the common
— lectures organised by Sara Farris
— auditorium

Introduction by Sara Farris

Luca Basso
”Singularity and the common in Marx”



Vittorio Morfino
”Individuation and trans-individual in Simondon and Althusser”



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