Vasilis Grollios has written to us asking us to announce the publication of his new book, Negativity and Democracy: Marxism and the Critical Theory Tradition (Routledge, 2017). He has also informed us that if you order directly from Routledge, you can use code FLR40 to get a 20% discount. Here is the publisher’s blurb for what looks to be a timely book:
The current political climate of uncompromising neoliberalism and its social effects means that the need to study the logic of our culture – that is, the logic of the capitalist system – is compelling. This book explores the practical relevance of these notions for a contemporary democratic theory. Grollios offers a unique overview of the key concepts of totality, negativity, fetishization, contradiction, mystification, identity thinking, dialectics and corporeal materialism as they have been employed by the major thinkers of the critical theory tradition – Marx, Engels, Horkheimer, Lukacs, Adorno, Marcuse, E. Bloch and J. Holloway.
Max Pensky wrote to let us know about an upcoming conference on Negative Dialectics that he and Peter Gordon are organizing this fall at Harvard. The conference will be held November 18 and 19, 2016, at Harvard’s Center for European Studies. You can find details about the program and the specific location here.
Martin Jay (UC-Berkeley) has a new book called Reason after its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory (University of Wisconsin, 2016), that ought to be of interest to readers. Here’s a blurb on the book:
Martin Jay tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor? Applying the tools of intellectual history, he examines the overlapping, but not fully compatible, meanings that have accrued to the term “reason” over two millennia, homing in on moments of crisis, critique, and defense of reason.
After surveying Western ideas of reason from the ancient Greeks through Kant, Hegel, and Marx, Jay engages at length with the ways leading theorists of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Marcuse, Adorno, and most extensively Habermas—sought to salvage a viable concept of reason after its apparent eclipse. They despaired, in particular, over the decay in the modern world of reason into mere instrumental rationality. When reason becomes a technical tool of calculation separated from the values and norms central to daily life, then choices become grounded not in careful thought but in emotion and will—a mode of thinking embraced by fascist movements in the twentieth century.
Is there a more robust idea of reason that can be defended as at once a philosophical concept, a ground of critique, and a norm for human emancipation? Jay explores at length the communicative rationality advocated by Habermas and considers the range of arguments, both pro and con, that have greeted his work.
Espen Hammer has written to us to let us know about two titles now out or forthcoming.
The first is his monograph, Adorno’s Modernism: Art, Experience, Catastrophe (Cambridge, 2015). Publisher’s link.
The second is an edited collection he put together in Routledge’s Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers series, dedicated exclusively to Theodor W. Adorno. It is a two-volume enterprise that is meant to be a successor to the earlier 4 volume one. Publisher’s link.
Both titles look outstanding!
James Schmidt (Boston University) has two wonderful posts on the history of this manuscript, and his remarkable discovery of a missing English translation by Adorno himself. More here and here, and check out his blog.
Thomas Ebke (Pötsdam) has written to us asking us to post the following call for papers (which is in German) for a conference in February of 2016 at the University of Pötsdam on the relationship between philosophical anthropology and the Frankfurt School. This is what Dr. Ebke writes:
As you may know, the dialogue between these two schools of thought was characterized, during the lives of the major protagonists, by mutual skepticism and a series of demarcations. This is all the more astonishing not only because Horkheimer and Adorno, for instance, had good professional relations with Helmuth Plessner who used to be implicated in sociological research projects monitored by the Insitut für Sozialforschung in the 1950s, but also because the problem of anthropological thought and a philosophy of human nature seems on closer inspection to be rather equivocal, especially in the case of Adorno.
I’ve been reading through Wendy Brown’s new book on neoliberalism in the last couple of weeks, and I’d like to jot down some thoughts on it here (hopefully in prelude to a genuine review essay further along the road).
Brown’s book gets exactly right the nature of the transformation of both states and individuals in neoliberalism into self-standing entrepreneurial units forced to compete for investment funds with other such units. This is described as the eclipse of homo politicus by the all-encompassing neoliberal figure of homo economicus. Neoliberalism, Brown argues, literally swallows the space of the demos, the democratic space in which people gather to articulate common concerns around freedom, equality, and sovereignty. Our problem is not merely (!) the wasting away of public goods, public values and public participation. It is the evisceration of the very space in which it is possible to come together and form a public, the space that, for Brown, Aristotle (and Arendt) distinguish as different from ‘mere life’, and which Marx conceived as the ‘true realm of freedom’. Neoliberalism, Brown states, in a sentence that captures a dawning awareness of where things now stand, is ‘the rationality through which capitalism finally swallows humanity’ (p. 44). Continue reading
The 22nd Annual Critical Theory Roundtable will take place September 19-21, 2014, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Professor Axel Honneth, Professor of Social Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and University Professor at Columbia University, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s conference. Continue reading
Our colleague, Stefano Giacchetti Ludovisi, has asked us to make the following CFP public, which may of interest to those interested in Adorno. It looks like it will be a fantastic event.
CALL FOR PAPERS
5TH INTERNATIONAL CRITICAL THEORY
CONFERENCE OF ROME
May 7-9, 2012
John Felice Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago Continue reading