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Speculative Realism

Speculative Realism


Eighth Biannual Graduate Student Conference of the German Program

Department of German and Romance Languages and Literature at the Johns Hopkins University

Realism Bites: Disruptive Realisms in Modernity

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Elisabeth Strowick, Johns Hopkins University

Prof. Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota

November 6- 7, 2015
The Johns Hopkins University


All the fissures and rents which are inherent in the historical situation must be drawn into the form-giving process and cannot nor should be disguised by compositional means.

(György Lukács, The Theory of the Novel)


The term realism has been associated with multiple artistic practices, styles and movements from nineteenth-century bourgeois realism to socialist realism, surrealism, Italian neorealism, magical realism, and postmodern hyperrealism. Its repetitions and invocations express a commitment to and a struggle for reality, rearticulating the political, social and epistemological functions and meanings of art. As a form of “Darstellung der Wirklichkeit,” it carries the tension of a set of oppositions: the reality that is and the reality that ought to be; an objective and verisimilar reproduction and a poetic constitution of reality; a conventional mode and personal expression of reality.

György Lukács emphasized the necessity for a “critical realism,” one that is determined by a critical perception and mediation of social contradictions, rather than their naïve reproduction. The notion of unity, so important for the Lukácsian concept of ‘critical realism,’ refers not only to the realist novel’s capacity to reveal the totality of social relations, but also to its depiction of the individual’s striving to reach totality as a mode of being. Even though, Lukács considered the novel as the primary form for the critical depiction of the modern conditio humana, the question can be raised whether “critical realism” functions more as an epistemo-critical concept than as a rigid genre definition. Since Lukács, many scholars and artists have called into question his notion of totality and human agency, and contested h is definition of art as a representational medium that reveals a social totality. Should we, as Fredric Jameson has suggested, hold on to a concept of totality, when discussing current “problems of realism?” How do the various forms of realism relate to what Lukács – justifiably or not – has identified as the pseudo-objectivity of Naturalism, on the one hand, and extreme subjectivism, on the other? Can one actualize critical realisms for a critique of representation? And in what way do contemporary reassessments and actualizations of realisms repeat or reverse traditional dichotomies, such as those between idealism and realism, nominalism and realism, realism and modernism?


This call for paper invites submissions from a wide variety of disciplines that discuss competing aesthetic strategies. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Please submit abstracts (300-500 words) with your name and affiliation to Esther Edelmann and Christiane Ketteler at by August 13, 2015.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Realism repeated: Realism after Modernism
  • Avant-garde “realities”
  • Antinomies and instabilities within classical realisms
  • The reception of realisms and its historical conditions
  • Realisms, political movements and alliances
  • Speculative Realism and the constitution and emergence of objects
  • Excessive Realism or new possibilities of perceptions of objects
  • Productive realisms or the emergence of new orders
  • Realisms (false) friends: Reportage, Travelogue, and Documentary
  • The Real and the Reality Principle
  • Capitalist Realism and the limits and problems in representing global capitalism and its alternatives
  • Theories and Projects of Mapping
  • Hyperrealism and the Desert of the Real / The Spectacle of Reality
  • Abject Realisms and the abjected within Realism
  • Realism and the Dissolutions of boundaries between the arts
  • Realism, Nominalism, Idealism, (New) Materialism
  • Realism, Romanticism, Symbolism
  • Post/Colonial Realisms
  • Feminist Realism
  • Realism and the Problem of Exemplarity
  • “Wirklichkeit als das Wirkende”


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VI Conference on New Materialism

27–29 September 2015

The Victorian College of the Arts

The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


Extension on Call for Papers

New deadline – 16 February 2015

Abstracts for academic papers, creative proposals and experimental and/or experiential laboratorium are invited from scholars/writers/artists/scientists. Please submit a 250-word abstract or proposal with a title, keywords and technical requirements along with a short 100 word biography via the Newmats2015 website template.

Submit your abstracts online at:


Confirmed Keynotes:

A/Professor Erin Manning, SenseLab, Concordia University, Canada

Professor Hayden Lorimer, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Professor Brian Martin, Deakin University, Australia


Transversal Practices focuses on how things, subjects, collectives, politics and disciplines are in the making; how they take-form and transform in relation to other elements, both human and nonhuman. Transversal Practices are concerned with ecologies where intensities of movement are aligned with and embrace hands-on attitude and artistic, scientific, ethnographical, philosophical and activist praxis.

We offer three keywords to inspire thinking and to carve out the specificities of practice. Matter refers to ubiquitous, vibrant and continuous becoming that is one of the central concerns of New Materialism: practices are always material, and surprising in nature. Ecology indicates an open and continuously transforming system, which depends upon how its components relate to each other. Relationality, for its part, is the moving principle of being in the world, or with the world. We become in relation to others. We co-emerge, as do artworks, ideas and collectives.

We welcome contributions that address, for example, the following questions:

How do transversal practices work and how can we account or conceptualise them?

What kind of methodologies do they necessitate, or call for?

We encourage critical approaches that transversally cross the following: collectivity, corporeality/incorporeality, materiality/immateriality, indigeneity, individual/group subjectivity, knowledge-production/onto-epistemologies, language, temporality, transdisciplinarity, processes of making art/philosophy/ activism, and the three Ss—spatiality, sociality and the sensorium. All conference submissions will be referred with opportunities to submit completed papers for a refereed publication.

Enquiries about the conference can be directed to:

Newmats2015 conference is sponsored by the Faculty of the VCA and MCM at the University of Melbourne in co-operation with ISCH COST Action New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter.’


‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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Time and Space in the Social Universe of Capital’ – by Michael Neary and Glenn Rikowski, now at Academia:

Speculative Realism

Speculative Realism



New Forms of Realism in Contemporary Philosophy

In cooperation with the International Institute of Studies of Humanities and Social Sciences (Athens)



June 26th – July 3rd 2015 in Ohrid, Macedonia



The Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje in cooperation with the International

Institute of Studies of Humanities and Social Sciences (based in Athens) announces the summer school program “New Forms of Realism in Contemporary Philosophy.” Part 1 will be held in Ohrid (Macedonia) 26 June-3 July, 2015.

The “New Forms of Realism in Contemporary Philosophy” summer school in Ohrid will focus on the recent trends of realism in contemporary philosophy which has been labeled often erroneously under a single and vague category such as “speculative realism” or “new materialism” etc. Unpacking such generalizations and aiming at specific authors who have generated distinct strands of thought that nonetheless constitute what we have vaguely termed “new realisms in philosophy,” we conceptualized the sub-courses:

– “The non-standard philosophy of François Laruelle”; sub-course leader: François Laruelle

– “Non-standard epistemologies”; sub-course leader Anne Françoise Schmid

– “Magic Realism and Socialist Realism: Arts and Persuasion”; sub-course leader Svetlana Slapšak

– “Exploration of possibilities for realist readings in contemporary feminist philosophy in line with non-standard philosophy and the writings of Marx”; sub-course leader: Katarina Kolozova

Working language of the summer school will be English and French (with translation into English).


Prof. Dr. François Laruelle, Prof. Dr. Anne Françoise Schmid, Prof. Dr. Katarina Kolozova, Prof. Dr. Ray Brassier (TBC) and Prof. Dr. GDil rA.nSvidejtalrana Slapšak, Prof.

Summer school Director:

Prof. Dr. Katarina Kolozova, Executive Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje

Summer school academic coordinator:

Dr. Jordan Šišovski, Assistant Professor in the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje


-Participants must be MA students or PhD candidates in any field belonging to the social sciences or humanities

-Participants must submit an abstract for a presentation in one of the summer school’s workshops or for one of the final presentations sessions;

-Participants from other countries are also eligible to participate;


Early bird Registration: until February 20th

Participation fee: 140 Euro for 9 day course

Early bird applications from at least three persons from same institution: 100 Euro

Normal Registration: February 21st – March 20th

Participation fee: 170 Euro for 9 day course

Applications from at least three persons from same institution: 130 Euros

Late applications:

Registration: March 21st – April 10th

Participation fee: 210 euro for 9 day course

Late applications from at least three persons from same institution: 170 Euros

Number of participants: 50

Process of Selection

Members of the boards  of the Internaitonal Institute in Athens and of ISSHS will form the organizing committee and selection committee that will review the applications

Interested applicants should send short CV, abstract for presentation and the available application form.

Deadline for submitting an application: April 10th 2015

Deadline for announcing the results of the selection process: April 30th 2015


It is entirely up to each student to decide accommodation of their own choosing. The organizers will provide information and enable and inform about possibilities for discount accommodation, and will be available to help logistically.

Contact persons:

Dr. Jordan Šišovski, Project Coordinator, e-mail:,

Applications should be sent to the Project Coordinator to either of these two addresses.

Prof. Dr. Katarina Kolozova, Executive Director of Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje, e-mail:

Address: 20 Oktomvri nr. 8 (second floor), 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

Tel/Fax: +389 2 3 113 059



‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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