Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Power to the People?

Courtesy of IT, the RP rival to the communism event at Birkbeck (this is my interpolation btw), and I can only hope it is better than the Birkbeck 'event'.

Power to the People?
`Power to the people!’ was once a revolutionary slogan, but reference to government by the people and for the people soon became an empty cliché of the post-revolutionary status quo (see above - Citizen Smith as commentary on fidelity?). The people has become a notoriously ambiguous and contested term, for which numerous alternatives have been proposed: the proletariat, the workers, the masses, the soviets, the nation, the community, the multitude, the commons… And now? How might we assess the different conceptions of political change embodied in these often conflicting ideas? What is the political and philosophical significance of `the people’ today?

Radical Philosophy Conference, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC 1, 9 May 2009
9.30-10.00 Registration
10.00-10.15 Introduction (Peter Hallward, RP)

10.15-11.30 The General Will (chair: Peter Hallward, RP)
‘The General Will on the Street: Parisian Activism, Sovereignty and Power, 1789-93’ - David Andress (Portsmouth)
‘How Do the People Make Themselves Heard?’ - Sophie Wahnich (CNRS, Paris)

11.45-1.00 Class, Commons & Multitude (chair: Esther Leslie, RP)
‘Crisis, Tragedies and the Commons’ - Massimo De Angelis (UEL)
[second speaker tba]

1.00-2.00 Lunch Break

2.00-3.15 Urban Collectivities
(chair: David Cunningham, RP)
‘Urban Intersections and the Politics of Anticipation’ - AbdouMaliq Simone (Goldsmiths)
`Urbanism and the Post-Political’ - Erik Swyngedouw (Manchester)

3.45-5.00 Population & Biopolitics (chair: Stuart Elden, Durham)
‘Biopolitics, Diasporas and (Neo)Liberal Political Economy’ - Couze Venn (Nottingham Trent)
‘Feminist Strategies Revisited – Sexopolitics, Multitude and Biopolitics’ - Encarnacion Gutierrez Rodriguez (Manchester)

5.00-6.00 Plenary: 'They, the People' (chair: Peter Osborne, RP)
Gayatri Spivak (Columbia University, NY)

Registration and further details: matt.charles@blueyonder.co.uk
£25/£10 unwaged
Cheques payable to `Radical Philosophy Ltd’ should be sent to: Radical Philosophy Conference, Peter Osborne, CRMEP, Middlesex University, Trent Park Campus, Bramley Rd, London N14 4YZ

Plus this, courtesy of Sebastian Budgen

Date: 23 June 2009
Venue: Queen Mary, University of London
Call for papers deadline: 22 May 2009
All papers and enquiries to: s.j.choat@qmul.ac.uk
Keynote speakers:
Professor James Williams (University of Dundee)
Dr Ray Brassier (American University of Beirut)
Dr Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The concepts of immanence and materialism are becoming increasingly important in political philosophy. This conference seeks to analyse the connections between these two concepts and to examine the consequences for political thought. It is possible, as Giorgio Agamben has done, to make a distinction within modern philosophy between a line of transcendence (Kant, Husserl, Levinas, Derrida) and a line of immanence (Spinoza, Nietzsche, Deleuze, Foucault). If we follow this distinction, then 'the line of immanence' might include Spinozist interpretations of Marx, Althusser's aleatory materialism, and Deleuze's superior empiricism. But what is the value of this work and is it useful to distinguish it from 'transcendent' philosophies? Distinctions between materialism and idealism are equally complex: Derrida, for example, might as easily be classed a materialist as an idealist. And where can we place more recent work like the critiques of Deleuze by Badiou and Zizek, or Meillassoux's speculative materialism?

Papers may wish to consider the following questions:
-What is materialist philosophy? How can it be distinguished from idealist philosophy, and is it useful to do so? Are all philosophies of immanence necessarily materialist?
-Is it legitimate or useful to make a clear distinction between philosophies of immanence and philosophies of transcendence?
-How have the concepts of immanence and materialism traditionally been conceived within political philosophy?
-What, if any, are the political consequences of pursuing a philosophy of immanence?

Paper titles and a 300-word abstract should be sent by Friday 22 May 2009 to Simon Choat at s.j.choat@qmul.ac.uk, Department of Politics, Queen Mary. Graduate papers welcome.

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