This seminar will elucidate the fundamental tenets of Marx’s philosophy, as well as their importance for understanding and transforming the contemporary world order. It will begin by explaining key concepts like historical materialism, class struggle, alienation, the labor theory of value, ideology and revolution. It will then briefly discuss a few of the important debates in the deep and broad history of Marxism in order to explore some of the ways that Marx’s work has been interpreted and transformed by subsequent generations. Finally, the course will focus in on what Marxist analysis has to contribute to contemporary debates and struggles by demonstrating how it can help us understand phenomena such as the environmental catastrophe, the increasing social inequality of globalization, the carceral state and its relationship to electoral democracy, the military-industrial-academic complex, institutional racism and gender inequality. Although the course will be directed at a lay audience, it will pedagogically build up its analysis in such a way that it will also serve the interests of those with a working knowledge of Marx and Marxism.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to present my research on a counter-history of liberalism and fascism at this conference at UC Santa Cruz on October 10th and 11th:
I’m excited to have the opportunity to participate in this event organized by Michael Lardner for the Marxist Education Project.
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to present with Jennifer Ponce de León at the International Art and Theory Program in New York tomorrow, April 18th, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. We will be discussing third cinema and the limits of decolonial theory in the framework of our ongoing research on aesthetics and revolutionary politics.
I am excited to have a public conversation with Boots Riley at Villanova!
AESTHETICS: TOWARD A RADICAL HISTORY
This seminar will explore some of the most vexing questions in the history of aesthetics: What is art? How does it relate to the ‘real’ world of politics and society? How has it developed and changed over time? It will examine some of the responses given to these questions by major thinkers like Georg Lukács, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag and Jacques Rancière. This will lead to a broader interrogation into the very presuppositions that structure these types of questions, as well as their answers, thereby opening space for a tectonic shift in our understanding of aesthetics, its social roles, and its history.
In its broadest sense, this shift will lead from an understanding of aesthetics as having a more or less fixed nature to one in which it is radically historicized by being recognized as a dynamic social product of certain cultures. Examining the networks of production, circulation and reception operative in what is called art in the modern ‘Western’ world, with an eye to its variations across time, space and social strata, this course inspects how the European world has developed—and then attempted to universalize—a very unique concept and practice of aesthetics, which is bound up in various ways with colonial expansion and the capitalist exhibition of symbolic goods.
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Je suis ravi de pouvoir participer — par visioconférence, malheureusement — à ce colloque sur les théories critiques franco-allemandes, qui aura lieu le 18 février à l’Université Paris Nanterre. Un grand merci à Pauline Julien et à Aurélia Peyrical pour avoir établi ce beau programme. Si vous êtes à Paris, n’hésitez pas à venir !
I will be presenting and discussing chapter two of Counter-History of the Present , entitled “Are We Really Living in a Technological Era?,” at Yale University on Friday April 6th, 2018 at 12 p.m. (Loria, 190 York Street, Room B-50). The event is organized by the Internet Culture Working Group and co-sponsored by the Marxism and culture Working Group. In addition to discussing this chapter and framing it in relation to the overall project of a counter-history of the present, I will outline my current research on the subterranean history of the national security state’s manipulation of the intellectual and cultural means of production.
I presented the following lecture at Missouri State University on March 22, 2018: “Critical and Radical Theory: Toward the Reinvention of Critique in the Current Conjuncture.”
This paper proposes a critique of critical reason. Neither a full-scale rejection nor a simple internal modification, such a critique seeks to foreground both the strengths and limitations of some of the dominant strategies, methodologies and sociopolitical orientations of critical theory, broadly construed. The ultimate goal is hence affirmative and productive: to rethink critical social theory for the 21st century.
Although the general stakes of the paper touch on issues integral to ‘continental’ philosophy since at least Kant, it will specifically concentrate on the Frankfurt School heritage. It takes Horkheimer’s canonical essay, “Traditional and Critical Theory,” as its palimpsestic reference point in order to sketch the lineaments of a radical theory. Understood as an attempt to reflexively reinvigorate social theory beyond its now institutionalized forms of ‘traditional critical theory,’ it questions the latter’s persistent Eurocentrism and phallocentrism, its academic distance from political praxis, its contemporary professionalization as a brand of moral and political philosophy, and its gradual withdrawal from the daunting project of an analysis of society in toto (from psychic forces and aesthetics to political economy and history).
The overall objective of the paper will thus be to work through one of the major critical traditions in continental philosophy in order to push beyond it, subjecting it to a critique that aims at honing a radical edge too often dulled by the institution of ‘critical theory.’