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Post/autonomia – Call for Papers

Amsterdam, 19-22 May 2011

University of Amsterdam/SMART Project Space

Keynote speakers include:

Franco Berardi (‘Bifo’)

Vittorio Morfino

Stevphen Shukaitis (to be confirmed)

Immaterial labour; multitude; the communism of capital; commons; precarity; biopolitics: autonomist thought has undoubtedly provided contemporary critical theory with some of its major concepts and/or allowed for an important reconsidering of these. Most importantly, autonomist thought has been at the forefront of thinking the crucial shifts in contemporary capitalism and its effects in both the social and cultural sphere. Autonomism’s impact on current critical theory in both European and American academia can therefore hardly be underestimated. Moreover, today we witness a resurgence of autonomist models of activism and thought in social movements in for example Italy, Greece, the UK and California.

What can ‘post/autonomia’ mean today?’ therefore is one of the pivotal questions in contemporary critical theory and activism. Rather than packaging it as ‘Italian Theory’, we would like to explore the international dissemination of autonomous thought and activism today and their possible futures; in particular we would like to explore critical engagements and uses of autonomist ideas that shape what we might call post/autonomia. It is precisely the dynamics, tensions and ruptures between autonomia and its possible futures (or ‘posts’) that we would like to investigate. What are the effects of autonomia, as a thought and a movement, in a variety of domains: from critical theory to cinema, from activism to academic practice?

Crucial questions raised by the notion of post/autonomia are:

* How did autonomist thought move from what was in fact a specific local context to the global activist and intellectual sphere?

* What are the possible connections between (post)autonomia and other contemporary conceptualizations of ‘communism’?

* What is the role of (post)autonomist thinking in current efforts to reassemble and reconstitute the militant left?

* What are possible connections/convergences between (post)autonomism and post-situationism, anarchism or the green movement?

* How can post/autonomia be situated in the aftermath or even afterlife of the ‘no global’ moment?    * How is post/autonomia taking shape in diverse cultural and artistic interventions?

* What is the significance of autonomist thought in non-western/global contexts (e.g. the debates concerning precarious labour in China)?

* How does the current the interest in autonomism and its relevance relate to political discourses concerning the ‘heritage’ of 68/77 and their alleged ‘liquidation’ (by Berlusconi/Sarkozy); to what extent does it encourage or block these debates?

* What elements of autonomism remain unaddressed today (e.g. the feminist heritage)?

* What particular nexus between theory/militant practice takes shape in post/autonomia (e.g. in media activism and precarity-movements)?

* What new perspectives/connections can be created: e.g. post/autonomia and queer, the metropolis, bioeconomy, etc. etc.

The conference will provide a platform for addressing these and other important questions. Papers may address the following topics (but are by no means bound to these):

Post/autonomia and:

–       contemporary activism

–       conceptualizations of bio-politics

–       the neo-liberal state

–       precarity

–       media activism

–       academic activism and new student movements (L’Onda che viene etc)

–       post-situationism

–       queer autonomy

–       feminism

–       the work of individual theorists (e.g. Negri, Virno, Berardi, Guattari, Lazzerato, Marazzi etc)

–       semiocapitalism

–       artistic and cultural activism

–       political/cultural memories of autonomia

–       the metropolis and the social factory today

–       the new communism

–       transversality

–       new spinozisms

–       (the lessons of) Genoa 2001

–       strategies of resistance

–       populism

–       the law, the state of exception and legitimacy

We welcome both academic and practice-oriented contributions in English. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes. Please send abstracts (350 words) before March 15 to For further information, please contact

This conference is the first of a series within the project Precarity and Post-autonomia: the Global Heritage funded by NWO (Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research).

Organizing committee:

–       Vincenzo Binetti, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA)

–       Joost de Bloois, University of Amsterdam

–       Silvia Contarini, Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défence

–       Monica Jansen, Utrecht University

–       Federico Luisetti, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA)

–       Frans-Willem Korsten, Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam

–       Gianluca Turricchia, University of Amsterdam

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Karl Marx


Five books in search of one (?) object

 Urbino, Italy, 1-2 December 2010
Palazzo Albani – Room D 3

1 December/a.m. – Chair: Vittorio Morfino
9.00-9.15. Fabio Frosini. General introduction

9.15-9.45. Domenico Losurdo. Keynote Address

9.45-10.15. Discussion

10.15-10.45. Stefano G. Azzarà comments on Pasquale Voza’s “L’Utopia concreta” (Piero Manni, Lecce 2009)

10.45-11.15. Pasquale Voza. Reply

11.15-12.30. Discussion

12.30-14.30. Break

1 December/p.m. – Chair: Fortunato M. Cacciatore

14.30-15.15. Eleonora Forenza, Alessandro Pandolfi, Venanzio Raspa comment on Augusto Illuminati’s “Per farla finita con l’idea di sinistra” (DeriveApprodi, Roma 2009)

15.15-15.45. Augusto Illuminati. Reply

15.45-16,45. Discussion

16.45-17.00. Break

17.00-17.30. Fabio Frosini comments on Raul Mordenti’s “La rivoluzione” (Marco Tropea Editore, Milano 2003)

17.30-18.00. Raul Mordenti. Reply

18.00-19.00. Discussion

2 December/a.m. – Chair: Venanzio Raspa

9.00-9.30. Stefano Visentin comments on Giuseppe Prestipino’s “Gramsci vivo e il nostro tempo” (Edizioni Punto Rosso, Milano 2008)

9.30-10.00. Giuseppe Prestipino. Reply

10.00-11.00. Discussion

11.00-11.15. Break

11.15-11.45. Emanuela Susca comments on Guido Liguori’s “La morte del PCI” (manifestolibri, Roma 2009)

11.45-12.15. Guido Liguori. Reply

12.15-13.30. General discussion and final remarks

Further discussants will be Fortunato M. Cacciatore, Lea Durante, Vittorio Morfino, Luca Pinzolo, Peter D. Thomas, Massimiliano Tomba, Adriano Vinale.

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I am pleased to announce the first issue of Décalages, an online peer-reviewed journal devoted to the work of Althusser and his circle:

About the Journal

Since the publication in 1965 of For Marx and Reading Capital, the work of Althusser has continued to provoke discussion, debate and controversy throughout the world. The posthumous publication of thousands of pages of texts and correspondence has not only led to an increased interest in the work of Althusser, it has altered our sense of both the scope and meaning(s) of his work. In addition to the late writings, the mass of material from the sixties and seventies gathered in the Fonds Althusser at the Institut Mémoire de l’Édition Contemporaine has deprived much—but not all—of the commentary of the seventies and eighties of its relevance and interest. At this point, the known Althusser is dwarfed by the unknown.  We feel that the time for a reconsideration of Althusser, free from the often sterile debates of the past, has come. It is possible and necessary to read Althusser, a different Althusser with a different oeuvre, in a new way.

At the same time we recognize that while it is standard practice to refer to Althusser in many disciplines, from film studies to sociology, there are few places to publish studies of Althusser’s texts themselves. It is for this reason that a very diverse group of scholars from different countries and disciplines came together to establish Décalages, an online peer-reviewed journal in which work focused on Althusser in the broadest sense—readings of his texts, as well as the texts of those who worked with him, comparative analyses, applications of his theory—would appear, thus encouraging debate and discussion. We would also provide space in every issue for reviews of the latest scholarship on Althusser. Finally we will include an archives section in which we will publish previously unpublished texts by Althusser.

Aims and scope

Our objective is to establish a global community of those working on Althusser. Every essay submitted will be carefully peer-reviewed not with the aim of imposing a single interpretation of Althusser, but precisely to strengthen the diversity of views and encourage discussion and debate.

For the present we seek articles in French, Spanish, Italian and English. We will also consider translating texts published in one of these languages into another language to make it accessible to a new audience. Anyone wishing to submit an article to be published in a language other than the four named above, should contact the editor prior to submission. In addition to receiving online submissions of articles, we are always interested in reviewing proposals for translations, reviews and special issues. Please contact the editor:

Warren Montag, Occidental College

Current Issue: Volume 1, Issue 1 (2010)

Review of Louis Althusser and the traditions of French Marxism
Matt Bonal

Recension à Jean-Claude Bourdin (coord.), Althusser : une lecture de Marx
Andrea Cavazzini

On the Cultural Revolution
Anonymous tr. Jason E. Smith [Attributed to Louis Althusser]

Sur la révolution culturelle
Anonyme [Attribué à Louis Althusser]

El Materialismo Tardío de Althusser y el Corte Epistememológico
Giorgos Fourtounis Tr. Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

Escatologia à la cantonade. Althusser oltre Derrida
Vittorio Morfino

On the Emptiness of an Encounter: Althusser’s Reading of Machiavelli
Filippo Del Luchesse tr. Warren Montag

Il riconoscimento delle maschere. Soggettività e intersoggettività in 
Leggere «Il Capitale»
Cristian Loiacono

Zizek y Althusser. Vida o muerte de la lectura sintomática.
Mariana de Gainza

El Althusser Tardío: ¿Materialismo del Encuentro o Filosofía de la Nada?
Warren Montag tr. Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

Mil Fisuras. Arte y Ruptura a partir de Althusser
Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

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Historical Materialism

Historical Materialism


To subscribe, write to:

Historical Materialism
Research in Critical Marxist Theory
Volume 17 Issue 3



Massimo de Angelis and David Harvie
‘Cognitive Capitalism’ and the Rat-Race: How Capital Measures Immaterial Labour in British Universities

Iain Pirie
The Political Economy of Academic Publishing

Maria Turchetto
Althusser and Monod: A ‘New Alliance’?

Reflections on ‘Gewalt’ (contd.)

Vittorio Morfino
The Syntax of Violence. Between Hegel and Marx

David Fernbach
Editorial Introduction to Paul Levi’s Our Path: Against Putschism and What Is the Crime: The March Action or Criticising It?

Paul Levi
Our Path: Against Putschism

Paul Levi
What Is the Crime: The March Action or Criticising It?


Alberto Toscano
Partisan Thought

Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho
Twixt Ricardo and Rubin: Debating Kincaid Once More

Jim Kincaid
The Logical Construction of Value Theory: More on Fine and

Review Articles

Christian Høgsbjerg
on Frank Rosengarten’s Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society and Brett St Louis’s Rethinking Race, Politics, and Poetics: C.L.R. James’ Critique of Modernity

Robert T. Tally Jr
on Loren Goldner’s Herman Melville: Between Charlemagne and the Antemosaic Cosmic Man: Race, Class, and the Crisis of Bourgeois Ideology in the American Renaissance Writer

Seongjin Jeong
on Iain Pirie’s The Korean Developmental State: From Dirigisme to Neo-Liberalism

Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism
Peter Thomas

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Louis Althusser

Louis Althusser



International Conference

9th – 11th October 2009

Jan Van Eyck Academie

Academieplein 1 Maastricht

The Netherlands

The work of Louis Althusser and his associates constituted an important attempt to rethink the political and philosophical potential of Marx’s thought, in tension with its ‘orthodox’ reading in Stalinism. In his work in the 1960s and 1970s, Althusser proposed to negate the metaphysical categories of subject, substance, telos, and end. He further explored these themes in the late 1970s and 1980s in terms of the event, the encounter and contingency. The late Althusser’s “materialism of the encounter” both provides many points of contact for a productive dialogue with thinkers associated with post-structuralism, while at the same time seeming to maintain a stronger connection to the Marxist tradition, particularly in terms of his continuing affirmation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. One of the purposes of this conference will be to attempt to gain an overview of the development of Althusser’s thought and to pose the question of its legacy for contemporary debates in radical political thought.

It is not only the legacy of Louis Althusser that will be of our interest here, however, but rather how to encounter and deal with the more unrecognised or suppressed points in his thought that remain enigmatic, and at the same time productive for further research in politics, economy, philosophy (and ideology). Many contemporary discussions ranging from Badiou and Zizek to Balibar, Laclau and Butler revolve around some topics that were traced or started by Louis Althusser, mainly on ideology, linking Althusser to Lacan or politics. In this conference, we would like to focus on some points that have not yet been discussed or have not yet been given the attention they deserve.

In the Althusserian spirit of philosophy working by attacking established positions on an occupied Kampfplatz, we outline four different fields of investigation to which panels will be dedicated: ruptures in philosophy, politics, political economy and politics and philosophy in the late Althusser. In each field, we intend to subject established interpretations of Althusser’s thought to critique and to attempt to determine productive areas for future research. Beyond such scholarly and philological debates, however, our guiding concern will be to pose the question of the extent to which an encounter with Althusser today has the potential to promote critical energies and perspectives that are capable of intervening effectively in the contemporary conjuncture.


* Ruptures in Philosophy: Dis/continuities in Althusser’s Thought

* The Primacy of Politics: Singularity, Dictatorship of Proletariat, Class Struggle

* The Critique of Political Economy and the Legacy of Althusser

* Politics and Philosophy in the Late Althusser: The Philosophy of the Encounter and Aleatory Materialism


Giorgos Fourtounis, Geoffrey Goshgarian, Slobodan Karamanic, Katja Kolsek, Marko Krzan, Mikko Lahtinen, Rasto Mocnik, Vittorio Morfino, Ozren Pupovac, Jason Read, Panagiotis Sotiris, Maria Turchetto, Caroline Williams, Frieder Otto Wolf


Katja Diefenbach, Gal Kirn, Peter Thomas


For further details, see:

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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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