Call for Applications: Paris Summer Program

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
CRITICAL THEORY WORKSHOP: SUMMER PROGRAM IN PARIS, JULY 2020

The 2020 summer program, directed by Gabriel Rockhill and Jennifer Ponce de León, will take place from June 29 to July 17 at the EHESS in central Paris. It is open to graduate students and faculty, as well as advanced undergraduates, independent researchers, writers and artists. Invited guests for 2020 thus far include, in addition to the directors, Timothy Bewes, Christine Delphy, Massimiliano Tomba and Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo. Past speakers have included thinkers like Seloua Luste Boulbina, Jacques Rancière and Domenico Losurdo. Continue reading

Course on “Why Marx Matters”

See below for information on an upcoming course, which will be both online from 11/22-11/24 (https://criticaltheoryworkshop.com/why-marx-matters-11-22-11-24-19/) and in-person on 11/23 if you are in Philadelphia (https://criticaltheoryworkshop.com/why-marx-matters-11-23-19/).

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.

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Lecture on the Myth of ’68 Thinkers

I was pleased to have the opportunity to present an abbreviated version of one of my forthcoming articles at the University of Shanghai on October 13, 2019. The title and abstract are below.

The Myth of ’68 Thought: Historical Commodity Fetishism and Ideological Rollback

This paper critically examines the widespread assumption that there is such a profound connection between French theory and the political events of 68 that the former merits the title of ‘68 thought.’ It begins by a materialist analysis of the historical relationship between the most prominent representatives of French theory—ranging from Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida to Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Lacan—and the actual political events unfolding at the time. After demonstrating their distance from the major political mobilizations, which often included an overt rejection of them, the paper turns to the larger cultural question of the ways in which the myth of 68 thought was produced, as well as to the issue of its social function in the global theory industry. It is in this light that it proposes an analysis of the historical commodity fetichism around 68, before concluding with a critical assessment of how the presumed radicality of “68 thinkers” serves to police the left border of critique.

Lecture on Soft Power and the Construction of “French Theory”

Click here (or see below) to watch my lecture at the Critical Theory Workshop‘s spring symposium on Counter-History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania on April 26, 2019, entitled “From Counter-History to Subterranean History: Soft Power and the Construction of ‘French Theory.'” (discussant: Jennifer Ponce de León).

Interviewed by J. Ponce de León for “Philosophy Today”

I was interviewed by Jennifer Ponce de León about my book Counter-History of the Present, and how it relates to genealogy, deconstruction and anticolonial theory. Click here for a link to the interview, and here for a pdf. The title of the interview is “Materialist Deconstruction, Anticolonial Geographies, and the Limits of Genealogy: An Interview on Counter-History of the Present.”

51GyEIiJWHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Abstract
In this wide-ranging interview, Gabriel Rockhill discusses his most recent book, Counter-History of the Present, in the broader context of his research to date on aesthetics, politics and history, as well as its relationship to important interlocutors like Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, Jacques Derrida, Frantz Fanon and Simone de Beauvoir. He explains the similarities and important differences between genealogy and counter-history, and he elucidates how his work performs a materialist deconstruction that contests the idealist logocentrism operative in purely textualist modes of interpretation. The interview also develops an account of “radical geography” that calls into question culturalist spatial imaginaries, which plague certain forms of decolonial theory that diminish or efface social stratification and class conflict. The discussion thereby contributes to the development of a new model for critical social theory with an internationalist perspective, which seeks to weave these conceptual innovations into a rigorous and radical materialism.

Online Summer Seminar: University of the Commons

Check out the University of the Commons‘ online summer seminar on “International Critical Theory,” which will run in parallel to the Critical Theory Workshop‘s summer program in Paris. If you’re interested in the topic, click here for all of the details.

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Online Seminar on “International Critical Theory”

I’m excited to collaborate with Emre Çetin Gürer and the University of the Commons to launch an online seminar in July on “International Critical Theory,” which will run in parallel to the Critical Theory Workshop‘s summer program in Paris. If you’re interested in the topic, click here for all of the details.

cybersyn_control_room-e1559787302472Description
The Critical Theory Workshop, in collaboration with the University of the Commons, is proposing an online seminar that will run in parallel to the July workshop in Paris, extending its work into a global virtual network of scholars while facilitating the participation of those who cannot afford to travel. By combining live streams and recordings of select events in Paris with a series of participatory symposia run by the facilitator, the course seeks to put global communications technology in the service of an ecological and widely accessible format for international education. Continue reading

Article in “State of Nature” on Yellow Vests

I was pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to a series in State of Nature on the Yellow Vests. All articles in the series were tasked with responding to the question: “What is the significance of the Gilets Jaunes movement?” Click here to read my reply (also copied below).

GiletjauneswebThe Gilets Jaunes are significant for at least four reasons. First and foremost, they are a grassroots social movement that has arisen in reaction to the ongoing onslaught of global capitalism. The fact that this movement emerged outside of the representational structures that generally serve to support this system – including the professional political parties of parliamentary pseudo-democracy and the bureaucratised unions – indicates the extent to which these structures themselves, with few exceptions, have not been able to successfully mobilise and empower the working classes, but have instead managed their discontent. Continue reading