[Adorno’s] moment of vindication is arriving now. With the election of Donald Trump, the latent threat of American authoritarianism is on the verge of being realized, its characteristics already mapped by latter-day sociologists who have updated Adorno’s “F-scale” for fascist tendencies. […] As early as the forties, Adorno saw American life as a kind of reality show: “Men are reduced to walk-on parts in a monster documentary film which has no spectators, since the least of them has his bit to do on the screen.” Now a businessman turned reality-show star has been elected President. Like it or not, Trump is as much a pop-culture phenomenon as he is a political one.
Owen Hulatt (University of York) has written to us letting us know about the publication of his new book, Adorno’s Theory of Philosophical and Aesthetic Truth. The book promises to be an important and powerful new approach to Adorno and art. Here is the blurb from Columbia University Press:
In Adorno’s Theory of Philosophical and Aesthetic Truth, Owen Hulatt undertakes an original reading of Theodor W. Adorno’s epistemology and its material underpinnings, deepening our understanding of his theories of truth, art, and the nonidentical. Hulatt’s novel interpretation casts Adorno’s theory of philosophical and aesthetic truth as substantially unified, supporting the thinker’s claim that both philosophy and art are capable of being true.
For Adorno, truth is produced when rhetorical “texture” combines with cognitive “performance,” leading to the breakdown of concepts that mediate the experience of the consciousness. Both philosophy and art manifest these features, although philosophy enacts these conceptual issues directly, while art does so obliquely. Hulatt builds a robust argument for Adorno’s claim that concepts ineluctably misconstrue their objects. He also puts the still influential thinker into conversation with Hegel, Husserl, Frazer, Sohn-Rethel, Benjamin, Strawson, Dahlhaus, Habermas, and Caillois, among many others.
At the latest meeting of the society, new officers were elected (Kathy and I had agreed to serve an initial 3 year term). So we think this photo aptly summarizes how we are now fading into the background…at least as far as the executive operations of the society are concerned.
We will still be involved with the website and will, of course, be moving forward with the journal.
The Association for Adorno Studies would like to introduce a new series of blog posts, called “Adorno in Context,” wherein Adorno scholars write more casually, through a lens inspired and informed by Adorno’s thinking, on elements of the modern world. Upcoming, we will have an initial series of posts by Roger Foster (Burrough Manhattan Community College, CUNY) and later, others by Surti Singh (American University in Cairo) and Gordon Finlayson (University of Sussex). We hope you’ll find them interesting, and please do not hesitate to comment.
We would like this website to become a sort of storehouse for Adorno related announcements. So, please send us your news. Any book or journal publications, interviews, conferences, or other things that might be of interest to our readers and visitors are welcome!
A belated update…but the Association has been hard at work on the journal. To recap, the inaugural meeting of the Association for Adorno Studies was held at the Johns Hopkins University on March 2nd and 3rd, 2012. The meeting was officially opened with remarks from the meeting’s organizers and association co-founders, Kathy Kiloh and Martin Shuster. The two-day event was well attended by members of the Johns Hopkins community and scholars from all over the world.
The papers given were of extremely high quality, as were the question and answer sessions, and ultimately the level of engagement of all participants was outstanding. Continue reading
Too long have Adorno scholars labored without the benefit of an association dedicated to the study of Adorno. No more, however! Introducing the Association for Adorno Studies, a society dedicated to the study and advancement of Adorno scholarship. Here is how the society’s founders, Kathy Kiloh and Martin Shuster, envision the aims of the association:
The goal of the association is to foster inquiry into Adorno’s thought and to make the results of this research available to a community of scholars. Given Adorno’s interest in and contributions to the history of philosophy, epistemology, phenomenology, existentialism, ontology, aesthetics, critical and social theory, and other areas besides, we believe it is of paramount importance to constitute an association that allows not only for a gathering of scholars, but also establishes a presence in the academic community, and ultimately, in light of Adorno’s own sensibilities, supports a means for theoretical and practical possibilities as yet unimagined. The association actively encourages interdisciplinary conversation in the hopes of creating synergies for new lines of research that can ultimately prove important for novel disciplinary concerns. Finally, the association takes seriously Adorno’s aspirations for social change and hopes to encourage and provide a means for engagement with the world at large.