Continental Political Thought

Name: Attila Antal
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: antal.attila85@gmail.com
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law Institute of Political Science (Budapest, Hungary)
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: The Political Theory and Paradoxes of the Governing Populism in Hungary
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
After the regime change the Hungarian politics can be characterized by emerging populist tendencies. Before 2010 the populist forces were opposition parties, the post-2010 period is the era of governing populism in Hungary and at the same time the biggest opposition party (the far-right Jobbik) is populist too. It will be argued in my lecture that the (populist) political theory of the governing party alliance (Fidesz-KDNP) is based on three main pillars. (1) The first one is the concept of the Political and massive anti-liberalism elaborated by Carl Schmitt. Schmitt describes the depoliticisation tendencies caused by liberalism, he also argues that the bureaucratic nature of liberalism promotes law instead of politics. (2) The second pillar is the Weberian concept of leader democracy, which argues that the political leader, who is creative and charismatic, has a strong political responsibility. (3) The third pillar is political constitutionalism, which is a counter-theory of legal or liberal constitutionalism and points out that the political institutions (parliaments and governments) cannot be restricted by legal institutions, first of all judges or constitutional courts.Which is common in these three theories is the repoliticisation. The populist governing parties accused the opposition and the European Union that their politics is anti-politics and bureaucratic, they cannot make political decision, thereby endanger the (Hungarian and European) political community. On one hand it can be a very successful political strategy, on the other hand making constantly enemies can destroy the political community.According to my hypothesis the populist promise of political leadership is inherently false, because instead of repoliticisation, the populist forces are monopolizing the political representation and liquidating the political responsibility. My second hypothesis is dealing with the paradox nature of the current Hungarian governing populism: while the governing parties promise more Political and emerging influence of people on political decisions, it could be confusing that the Hungarian government excludes certain groups from politics (preventing the holding of referendums; starting political wars against NGOs). This is the paradox nature of the Hungarian governing populism: the governing parties would like to be seen as populist forces, but they are acting as elites.


Name: Kristen Collins
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: krcollins56@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Georgetown University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Retrieving Charisma: A Weberian Critique of Charles Taylor's Solutions to the Malaises of Modernity
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
For scholars of sociology, philosophy, and politics, Max Weber’s work provides influential characterizations of economic, political, and ethical aspects of modern society. In Ethics of Authenticity, Charles Taylor accepts much of Weber’s disenchantment thesis, including the problems that instrumental rationality and bureaucracy pose for modern society. However, Taylor’s emphasis on reasonable debate for resolving the “malaises of modernity” fails to adequately address the fundamental sources of Weber’s pessimism. I critique Taylor’s arguments regarding political engagement and social fragmentation by drawing on and reconstructing Weberian concepts that Taylor sets aside – charisma and intuition. Examining the roles that charisma and intuition continue to play in contemporary politics is necessary to more accurately describe modern society and to construct arguments against Weber’s pessimism. Although Weber’s characterization of charisma may seem to threaten the ideal of personal sovereignty, I argue that it can be reconstructed to also help conceptualize the manner in which individuals determine their own convictions and pursue democratic political participation.


Name: Clinton Condra
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: Clint_Condra@baylor.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Baylor University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Panel
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Nietzsche's Machiavellism
Panel Title: Nietzsche as Social-Moral and Political Thinker
Panel Description: In recent decades, Friedrich Nietzsche’s influence as a social-moral, and thus political, thinker has grown exponentially. This panel brings together four papers that encompass both the breadth—from his first book (Birth of Tragedy) to his last (Ecce Homo)—and the social-moral or political depths of his thought.
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
In “Nietzsche’s Machiavellianism,” Clint Condra explores the affinities between Nietzsche and Machiavelli principally by means of a comparative study of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil and Machiavelli’s Prince, though Condra also references other works by each thinker. Condra argues that Nietzsche’s account of human psychology is complementary to Machiavelli’s account of politics. Nietzsche, for instance, takes disorder, or a struggle for power among competing “drives” or “affects,” to be the default psychological condition of human beings, just as Machiavelli sees a struggle among opposing factions or “humors” at the core of political life. For both of these thinkers, there is no inherently right or natural ordering of things; rather, such order as may be established must be established by force, that is, by an act of tyranny, even self-tyranny.


Name: Matthew Dinan
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: mdinan@stu.ca
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: St. Thomas University (Canada)
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Kierkegaard's Ironic Alternative to Hegel in Fear and Trembling
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Scholars of political theory have long been suspicious of Søren Kierkegaard’s influence on the field, suggesting his individualism and emphasis on the “absurd” foster political quietism or nihilism. This paper challenges such a view of Kierkegaard through a reading of his most famous work, Fear and Trembling. Fear and Trembling intervenes in the issue at the heart of Hegelian political theory: the relationship between individual subjectivity and the “objective” ethical universal of the modern state. The pseudonymous author of Fear and Trembling—Johannes de Silentio—is sharply critical of the Hegelian account of mediation (Vermittlung) by which particular subjective desires are sublated into the ethical substance of the whole. Silentio—anticipating such 20th Century thinkers as Georges Bataille and Jacques Derrida—recognizes that the dialectical character of Hegel’s thought makes “going further” than Hegel “a miracle” indeed, but is nevertheless unable to defend the “infinite subjectivity” characterized by religious faith without recourse to justification through the same ethical realm he would critique. Kierkegaard thus foregrounds the difficulty of opposing Hegel’s totalizing discourse without becoming complicit in it: how can one criticize a theory of the modern state designed to mediate all opposition into itself? I argue that Kierkegaard surmounts this difficulty through his “ironic” strategy in the composition of Fear and Trembling itself. By demonstrating the failure of “John the Silent” to remain silent about faith, Kierkegaard ironically signals the existence of a religio-philosophical subjectivity that transcends Hegelian mediation—his own. Kierkegaard, through Silentio, furthermore draws attention to the fact that anxieties about such irony ultimately emanate from Hegel himself, for whom irony is the “ethical expression of evil” in the modern state. Far from amounting to nihilism or quietism, this ironic strategy represents a way of engaging in political life that expresses one’s subjectivity while interrupting the modern state’s pretensions to universality. In my conclusion I consider how Fear and Trembling offers a corrective to theories of public reason that aspire to Hegelian universality and to religious objections to such theories.


Name: Michael Feola
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: feolam@lafayette.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Lafayette College
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Vulnerability and Violence: Hegelian Reflections
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
This essay tackles the intersection of vulnerability and violence. On the one hand, there is the familiar claim: that all are vulnerable to violence, as a basic condition of human life. This follows from the fact of inhabiting bodies, by definition woundable, exposed to the touch of others. And recent literature on neoliberalism has highlighted another way to think this entanglement: that the restructuring of public space generates widespread vulnerability, and this can be thought as a form of violence, written into those structures that disproportionately expose some to market fallout (along with the demonstrable outcomes in health, life expectancy, etc.). This essay will not take either of these well-worn paths, but will ask a different question: how can contemporary cultures of violence and self-assertion be read as a symptom of the loss of collective guarantees within neoliberal times? How does the increasing insistence upon vigilanteism (whether this be the ‘good guy with a gun’ or the private militias that patrol the borderlands) represent a pathological response to the loss of the common (and the disparagement of common goods)? The essay will take a broadly Hegelian approach, so as to argue that these assertional cultures of violence represent a pathological assertion of the individual (as source of security, invulnerability, etc.) rather than a reinvestment in the common that has been eroded (in both ideological and substantive terms) in neoliberal times.


Name: Rodney Gill
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: rodneygill6@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of North Texas
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Slave Morality as the Final Overcoming: Nietzsche on Priests and Slaves
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
This essay discusses the origin of Friedrich Nietzsche’s slave morality not in slaves, but in the elite intra-class conflict between those that Nietzsche describes as priests and those he calls “knightly-aristocratic” warriors and kings. Slave morality begins as a tactical exploit utilized by the priest wherein the knightly-aristocratic class self-devitalizes after being poisoned by the “worm of conscience.“ Initially, the role of the “slave” merely serves as the ideal into which the priestly class seeks to transform his opposition. But the priestly mode of power acquisition is a tactical error not only because the priest’s power is overturned by its own self-defeating “logic,” but also because the very concept of hierarchical power is overturned with the “ascendancy” of the slave in egalitarianism. The “slave,” and more particularly “the last man,” represents the “final overcoming” because once equality is established and hierarchy dismantled there is nothing further to overcome.


Name: Guillermo Graíño
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: ggraino@gmail.com
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Universidad Francisco de Vitoria / Villanova University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Blaise Pascal on the Political Role of Philosophy
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:


Name: Mykolas Gudelis
Section:
Professional Email: mykolasgudelis@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: The New School for Social Research
Scheduling Preference:
Proposal Type:
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Demochronos: The Political Time of Democracy
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Through the lens of temporality and the perspective of the conjunction between politics and time, this paper takes a look at ancient democracy from its inception in late antiquity. Considering the view of the social context of time as a realm of a multiplicity of temporalities, I argue that democracy as a political form of collective life of the community based on the principle of equality creates its own time and delineates its own temporal parameters by reflecting and temporally “embodying” principles, institutions, and social and cultural practices of democratic politics. In other words, from the temporal perspective, democracy can be seen as a political form of self-temporalization of the community. Such self-temporalization corresponds to the principle of collective self-governance, in the process of which the community continuously creates and recreates its own time by weaving together different temporal strands of its political life. In developing the concept of “demochronos” as the political time of democracy, this paper emphasizes the importance of the notion of time in politics and its significance in early political theory by demonstrating that the notion of time, and its discourses indirectly addressing the role of time in politics, was of central importance in arguments against democracy by its intellectual opponents of the time. The paper concludes by highlighting the tension between the political time of democracy and time articulated as an external temporal framework superimposed over the collective body of the democratic community in order to regulate, control, and limit its politico-temporal space, which results in the deflation of democracy’s emancipatory potential.


Name: Laci Hubbard-Mattix
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: lnhubbard@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Washington State University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Motherization in Business
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
In this paper I examine the way(s) business policies and practices in the United States are part of the larger process of motherization experienced by women. Motherization is the process by which women are trained and conditioned within a social context to expect and to desire motherhood. Using Foucault I demonstrate the women's bodies are disciplined into motherhood by various business practices. Women, as employees, are in a panopticon where they self-regulate both their career expectations and goals and themselves as mothers and women. From the fetal protection policies of the 1990's (and the Supreme Court's decision about those) to unpaid maternity leave and breast feeding policies working women are consistently and regularly given the message that their position as a mother is primary to their position as a worker. Even though they are expected to be utile working bodies under capitalism this is secondary to their role as mothers. Policies are formed to insure women remain in this role and is part of the larger message that motherhood is an expectation and the only place that women can find fulfillment which can and often does have dire consequences for women and their children.


Name: Nathan Jun
Section:
Professional Email: nathan.jun@mwsu.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Midwestern State University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Rationalism and Irrationalism in Classical Anarchist Thought
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Classical anarchist thought has been variously described as a rationalist political philosophy in the Enlightenment tradition, on the one hand, and as an irrationalist cult of action in the Romantic tradition, on the other. In this presentation, I argue that classical anarchist thought exhibits both tendencies and examine the extent to which the tension between them shaped the historical development of anarchism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Name: Kristopher Klotz
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: krisklotz@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: The Construction of Political Subjects: Collective Agency in Honneth and Rancière
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
The question of how to theorize collectivities is at the heart of the recent debate between Axel Honneth and Jacques Rancière. Of course, this is not surprising, since the primary concepts of both theorists require reference to collective political agency. On the one hand, Honneth’s conception of struggles for recognition explicates the motivations behind collective political agency (for example, when groups feel “disrespected” according to the normative order of principles of recognition). Moreover, his recent work in Freedom’s Right investigates how social institutions (understood broadly) enable the intersubjective realization of social freedom. On the other hand, Rancière’s understanding of politics in terms of disagreement often appeals to examples of collective political agency (such as civil rights, workers, and women’s movements). Despite their agreement about the importance of collective political agency, the two disagree about how to conceptualize this kind of agency. In this paper, I examine Honneth and Rancière’s debate insofar as it illuminates the complexities of theorizing collective political agency. While I focus on the recently published debate (Recognition or Disagreement), I supplement my arguments with appeals to the major works of Honneth and Rancière (for example, Honneth’s Freedom’s Right and The Struggle for Recognition and Rancière’s Disagreement). One of Rancière’s primary objections to Honneth’s conception of recognition concerns the relation between individual and collective political agency. By Rancière’s reading, Honneth mistakenly presupposes some degree of continuity from the individual to the collective, where the mutual recognition achieved through collective action (as with struggles for recognition or through institutions realizing social freedom) allows for the fulfillment of individual integrity. Rancière argues that the identity of the individuals recognized in these cases pre-exists collective political acts, at least normatively or ideally. For Rancière, however, political agency is not the expression of a pre-existing identity, but rather an act that creates a political subject. Despite this objection, Honneth insists that we cannot properly conceptualize collectivities without this continuity. That is, in order to explain what motivates collective political agency, we must understand what motivates individuals to seek recognition (for example, disrespect). For Honneth, this requires a normative conception of the self. Moreover, Honneth argues that Rancière himself presupposes such a conception of the self, insofar as Rancière implicitly appeals to individuals’ desire for equality. I argue that, to some degree, both theorists are correct in their objections. On the one hand, Rancière is right to emphasize the creative potential of collective political agency. On the other hand, Honneth is right to note that Rancière presupposes some conception of the self (even if it is a more minimal conception than Honneth’s). By examining their debate, then, we can begin to develop a conception of collective agency that learns from their objections.


Name: Romulus Maier
Section:
Professional Email: rommaier@gmail.com
Professional Status: Adjunct Professor
Institution: University of Connecticut
Scheduling Preference:
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Existentialist Politics: Václav Havel and the Redemption of Heideggerian Political Thought and Practice
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
The scholarship of intellectual demolition is as old as the practice of intellectual ingenuity. Whenever new paths of thinking disrupt continuities, it could reach effervescent moments. It could also become quite vituperative if the lives of innovators are provocative in some way or another. Since the end of the Second World War, due to his affiliation with the Nazi regime, Martin Heidegger has been one of the favorite targets of academic denunciation. Emmanuel Faye’s scholarly endeavor went so far as to cast Heidegger’s thought as a theoretical prefiguration of Nazi practice. Besides the logical problems of this assertion, which are rooted in the genre of ‘guilt by association,’ Faye’s arguments fail to open up the dynamic relationships among ‘being-in-the-world,’ “being-with-others,’ ‘they,’ the state, and the world as such. His critique comes from a place where the Cartesian tradition is viewed as a sort of ideological dogma that is prerequisite to any reflection. Faye’s one-dimensional analysis is refuted by Václav Havel’s political thought and practice. Havel, the playwright, the thinker, and the reluctant politician, finds in Heidegger a meaning of “freedom toward death” that brings to the forefront the humanism of the relationships between the one, the others, the state, and the world they inhabit.


Name: John McMahon
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: johnmcmahon3@gmail.com
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Beloit College
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Race and Biopolitics: A Black Feminist Critique
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Why does, as Italian political theorist Roberto Esposito claims, a politics of life always risk becoming a politics of death? To explore this and related questions, this paper puts Black feminist thinkers – primarily Hortense Spillers, Angela Davis, and Alexander Weheliye – into conversation with Esposito, especially his Bíos: Biopolitics and Philosophy. Doing so foregrounds Western racism and slavery as the ground for theorizing about biopolitics and biopolitical death, reconstituting Esposito’s conceptual and historical apparatus as well as the relationship between political theory and Black feminism. The paper proceeds in three parts. The first part builds a Black feminist critique of Esposito, more specifically his concepts of ‘biopolitics’ and ‘flesh’. I begin with Spillers’s analysis of flesh in her “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe” as the paradigmatic, desubjectivizing category of captive African slaves. The work of Spillers troubles Esposito’s own conceptualization of flesh in Bíos, which pays insufficient attention to its racialized aspects. This encounter between Spillers and Esposito vis-à-vis “flesh” thus opens up a broader potential to rethink the concept of biopolitics in Esposito’s broader project. To do so I extend Weheliye’s Black feminist critique of ‘biopolitics’ and ‘bare life’ in the work of Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben to Esposito. Here, I shift the paradigmatic exemplar of biopolitical death from Naziism (Esposito’s example) to Western racism and slavery. Ultimately, this section argues that Esposito’s inadequate attention to race, racial/racist biology, and racial biopolitics in modernity drastically limits the conceptual and analytical power of his concept of biopolitics. The second part of the paper is reconstructive, assembling together Spillers, Weheliye, and Esposito in order to explore the kind of political theoretical account of biopolitics that becomes possible once that concept is thought through as fundamentally racialized. Articulating a more complex notion of racial biopolitics thus creates connections between work on the political ontology of race ongoing in Black Studies with political theory grounded in Continental thought. The final section of the paper speculates what a black feminist theory of what Esposito calls “affirmative biopolitics” might entail. While I find Esposito’s explicit project of constructing an affirmative biopolitics to be one of the most distinctive aspects of his work as compared to other theorists of biopolitics, it demands rearticulation once the locus of biopolitics shifts to Western slavery and reproduction. Drawing on Angela Davis, I apply my framework to sketch a notion of the (racialized) biopolitics of social reproduction that gestures to an affirmative – yet fraught – biopolitics.


Name: Stan Molchanov
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: 10molchanov@cua.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Catholic University of America
Scheduling Preference:
Proposal Type:
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Observations on Late Modern Historiography
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
‘Modern’ political thought is concerned with history to the degree that it revolts against tradition; modernity recasts the old in the form of the new, which is unfinished and unfinishable, in order to more fully account for what industrialization and rationalization have made possible. Postmodern thought goes further: postmodernism is a set of ongoing attempts to shatter the autonomy of various spheres of thought and culture by undermining the legitimacy of their separateness. Postmodernity celebrates and even institutionalizes difference. It does so chiefly by means of a genealogical unmasking of cultural dominants. Genealogy and periodization, however, bring in their train a theory of history. Postmodern political thought in fact seems acutely sensitive to the historical dimension of human being. Michel Foucault once said that to think beyond modernity, one must think beyond history. How is it, then, that postmodernism, to the degree that it emphasizes growth and becoming and transition at the expense of homogeneity and rigidity and tradition, has moved beyond modern thought? Could post-modernity be an outgrowth of late modernity that corrects for certain modern defects? What would properly post-historical political thought be?


Name: Andrew Norris
Section:
Professional Email: anorris@polsci.ucsb.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Skepticism and Critique in Arendt and Cavell
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
At first, or even second glance, Arendt and Cavell make an unlikely pair: the one a political theorist deeply suspicious of both liberalism and Romanticism; the other a philosopher of the intricacies and intimacies of skepticism and ordinary language who staked his later reputation on the public importance of Emersonian Transcendentalism. But, as deep as the differences between the two run—and this sketch is only that--there are important commonalties as well. The most striking of these is the fact that, within a two-year period in the early 1960’s, both Arendt and Cavell turned their attention to Kant’s Critique of Judgment, a text that up to that point had been almost entirely ignored in Anglophone philosophy. For both, what is of central interest in the third Critique is Kant’s account of the “universal voice” of aesthetic reflective judgment, our ability make “exemplary,” “public” judgments in which we speak for others in a manner that does not compromise their autonomy. And, for both, this account needs to be understood in the context of the critical project as a whole, a project they see themselves as developing. Cavell, who throughout his work draws as regularly upon the first and second Critiques as he does the third, characterizes his Perfectionism as a transfiguration of Kant, and his magnum opus, The Claim of Reason, as a critique of skepticism that will challenge and modify its self-understanding by uncovering “the truth of skepticism,” a truth that is quite different from the truths the skeptic takes himself to reveal. Arendt’s own magnum opus, The Human Condition, is well read as a critique of the grounds and limits of the Western tradition of political philosophy; and her unfinished final volume The Life of the Mind echoes the tripartite structure of Kant’s Critiques in its division into books on Thinking, Willing, and Judging. Indeed, The Life of the Mind proceeds in its first part and what we have of its third largely by means of a reinterpretation of Kantian arguments, the implications of which Kant himself “never became fully aware.” This reinterpretation comes very close to Cavell’s transfiguration, but never so close as to address in a sustained manner his master theme of skepticism and the role it might play in critique. In my discussion today I should like to consider why this is so, and what implications it might have for our understanding of these figures.


Name: Nathan Orlando
Section: International Relations
Professional Email: nathan_orlando@baylor.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Baylor University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Power and States: Toward a Foucaultian Approach to International Relations
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Because of the odd combination of his abstruse writing style and his popularity, scholars have stumbled upon a tension in Michel Foucault’s legacy: dropping his name into an academic article increases its chances of publication enormously but actually reading his work in order to understand his thought is taxing beyond the patience of most. So far, the consensus resolution has been to appropriate his corpus only in certain, paragraph-sized fragments which invariably happen to support the author who enlists him. When trying to apply Foucault to international relations, a subject matter on which his comments were sparse, the problem becomes compounded into anarchy; Foucaultian studies of international relations exist as a flurry of divergent interpretations which can coexist only because there is no definitive text of Foucault’s by which to arbitrate disputes. By conscripting Foucault as a totem to advance any number of spurious arguments, these misappropriations risk obscuring Foucault's thought itself and what it can teach us. A Foucaultian approach to international relations can illuminate much about the multipolar state system by drawing out nuances in familiar concepts and relations as well as putting into relief some of our own assumptions. In this paper, I will examine what a Foucaultian approach to international relations may look like. Drawing from his later lectures at the College de France, I will explore Foucault's comments regarding the Peace of Westphalia as the origin of the contemporary state system and the catalyst for a series of shifts in the essence of political associations. Following these developments into the 20th Century through Foucault's analysis will, in turn, suggest new shadings for key concepts in international relations theory, where one ought to look for the causes of happenings in the state system, and, finally, some outline of a Foucaultian theory of international relations. The goal is neither to distill some enumerated list of laws of history nor to write the book Foucault never did but rather to discover how Foucault's work can contribute to our understanding of international relations theory while perhaps rescuing him from his self-proclaimed followers.


Name: Ahmad Qabazard
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: ahmadqabazard@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: New York University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: The Problemization of Nationality: Revoking Citizenship to Crackdown on Dissent in the Gulf Cooperation Council
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
This article examines a series governmental decrees which led to the denaturalization of over seventy Kuwaiti citizens in 2014. The victims of denaturalization have become members of a stateless population known in Kuwait as Bidun. I attempt to understand the existence of the Bidun through a genealogical critique of the problematization of citizenship and national identity. I work with the notion of Biopolitics, developed by Michel Foucault in his critique of the problematization of sexuality, to understand why revoking citizenship has become a convenient punitive measure for rulers of GCC states. I find that, through the existence of the Bidun, the State of Kuwait was able to retain the sovereign’s “right to kill” through its transition to a semi-parliamentary regime and the use of popular illegalisms.


Name: Adam Sandel
Section:
Professional Email: adam.sandel@gmail.com
Professional Status: Adjunct Professor
Institution: Harvard University
Scheduling Preference:
Proposal Type:
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Violence: Beyond Body Counts
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Drawing on a perspective informed by Heidegger and Nietzsche, I challenge the view that violence is limited to instances of bodily harm. I argue that instances of bodily harm count as instances of violence only insofar as they express a violent disposition. In contrast to a “body counts” conception of violence, I propose a dispositional conception according to which violence is inseparable from the violation of certain norms. By reference to sweatshop labor, wanton environmental degradation, and mass incarceration, I identify and interpret three kinds of violation that can be regarded, I argue, as constituting violence, but that do not necessarily result in bodily harm: (1) instrumental attitudes that do violence to humanity; (2) objectifying stances toward the world as a whole that do violence to nature (i.e., to the meanings that find expression in natural wonders); (3) vengeful dispositions that do violence to the norm of reconciliation and redemption. I conclude by arguing that my conception of violence, though normative, does not deny the distinction between violence and other kinds of moral wrong.


Name: Sid Simpson
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: sidsimpson@live.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Notre Dame
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: The One Thing Needful: Nietzsche as a Resource for Style in Dialectic of Enlightenment
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment offer two of the most damning critiques of Enlightenment rationality to date. Dialectic of Enlightenment, however, mentions Nietzsche only to the extent that it can dismiss his thought as ultimately dangerous, problematic and cruel. In this paper, I seek to demonstrate three things. First, I pay close attention to the characterization of Nietzsche’s work that appears in Dialectic of Enlightenment, and argue that it presents a reading of Nietzsche that is not only partial, but intentionally hyperbolic: his portrayal as an advocate of an ethic of cruelty is misrepresentative. Second, I draw out the larger critical continuities between the authors. These include the shared insight that the tradition is fundamentally self-undermining, that science is a modern outgrowth of the Enlightenment rationality that crumbled before it, and finally that modern culture is stupefied and sickened by the exploitation of these logics. Finally, I look to a single shared hope for newness of ‘style’ that can be seen between the two works. Dialectic of Enlightenment argues that art offers a fleeting possibility of style in its agonistic relationship with the tradition and encapsulation of the internal contradictions of society. I argue that Nietzsche, though chronologically prior, goes a step further than Adorno and Horkheimer by outlining the possibility of understanding the human life as a piece of art whereby one can live with style. This formulation opens the door to certain political avenues that are otherwise closed for Adorno and Horkheimer. Thus, the paper attempts to show that despite the one-dimensional utilization of Nietzsche, Adorno and Horkheimer have much more common ground with Nietzsche than they might admit, and moreover that their notion of style could be bolstered by a backwards look towards Nietzsche’s developed thought in order to confront their supposed 'aporia of praxis or politics.'


Name: Alicia Steinmetz
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: alicia.steinmetz@yale.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Yale University
Scheduling Preference:
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Truth and Imagination from Blake to Nietzsche
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
In modern liberal politics, it has become increasingly important to be able to give a case for the political value of truth and truth telling. Yet at the same time, the plausibility of giving a coherent account of political truth has become highly problematic. Aside from the fact that much of real world political discourse seemingly fails to live up to the expectations of liberal theory concerning sincerity and accuracy in speech and action, it may be the case that some types of deception and hypocrisy are necessary and even valuable in the pluralistic political sphere. Thus, liberalism continues to embrace a certain commitment to truth that it has trouble naming or discussing directly without exposing its own deep contractions. In this paper, I argue that it is possible to rethink truth more productively within liberalism by considering it alongside a capacity usually thought to fall outside of the realm of political vice or virtue: the human imagination. Drawing on the work of William Blake and Friedrich Nietzsche, I argue that rethinking truth alongside imagination reveals an alternate way of viewing the political value of truth telling through the problem and promise of self-deception for liberal politics, which can in turn open up new avenues for rethinking judgment and agency under conditions of pluralism.


Name: Judith Swanson
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: jswanson@bu.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Boston University
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: Three Conceptions of a Third Realm: Strauss's Natural Right, Nagel's Teleological Monism, and Scruton's Lebenswelt
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Leo Strauss (1899-1973), Thomas Nagel (b. 1937), and Roger Scruton (b. 1944) are three philosophers who have in common the production of a prodigious body of work that aspires to connect human experience with the cosmos. An even more remarkable commonality, and the topic of this paper, is the similarity of their conclusions about the nature of the cosmos and our relation to it. All three recast materialist monism and monotheist dualism and describe a third perspective or realm, extending the boundaries of the thinkable beyond the empirical and the divine. That extended perspective and third realm is for Strauss "natural right," for Nagel "teleological monism," and for Scruton "the Lebenswelt." The goal of this paper is to describe and compare the three conceptions and the philosophers' views of their moral, political, and religious significance. While many of their works develop their conceptions, this paper will focus on the most comprehensive, synthetic, and pertinent of them. Namely, in the case of Strauss, Natural Right and History (1953); “An Epilogue” (1962); and “Jerusalem and Athens. Some Introductory Reflections” (1967); in the case of Nagel, “What is it like to be a bat?” (1974) and Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False (2012); and in the case of Scruton, The Soul of the World (2014). The paper organizes the philosophers' views into four themes: 1) evolutionary theory; 2) the intelligibility of the universe; 3) human nature; and 3) morality, political commitments, and global justice. Though the paper discovers and analyzes a number of disagreements on these themes, it also shows that they are united against evolutionary theory as well as against pure subjectivism and therewith ethical relativism. Promoting instead moral realism, they establish, albeit in different ways, an ontological basis for moral values. In the idiom of Strauss: "knowledge of natural right has the character of science" (NRH, 99). In the idiom of Nagel: "mind is . . . a basic aspect of nature" (MC, 16). And in the idiom of Scruton: the Lebenswelt is an "ontological shadow" of the order of nature which manifests the "internal discipline of moral thinking" (SW, 56, 67).


Name: Brendan Wright
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: bjwright11@yahoo.com
Professional Status: Adjunct Professor
Institution: Princeton University
Scheduling Preference:
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type:
Roundtable Title:
Roundtable Description:
Paper Title: The Faithlessness of the Faithful: Experiments in Political Pyro-Theology
Panel Title:
Panel Description:
Roundtable Description:
Co-author info:
Co-presenter info:
Abstract:
Recently Simon Critchley observed that “Somehow we seem to have passed from a secular age…to a new situation in which political action seems to flow directly from metaphysical conflict.” This so-called “post-secular” moment invites two typical responses: either the defense of some version of secularism or the slide into some form of theism. Critchley, among others, has sought to reject such a binary and develop a third response given that “neither traditional theism nor evangelical atheism will suffice.” With this imperative to re-think the relationship of the political and the religious, Critchley devotes his work The Faith of the Faithless to what he calls “experiments in political theology.” In this paper, I follow Critchley’s lead and expand his project through examining the inverse of its object. For, while Critchley ultimately offers what James Wood calls a “theologically engaged atheism,” I use this essay to interrogate what could be called the “atheistically engaged theology” of Christian theologian Peter Rollins. I argue that Rollins’s work—which draws on the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Slavoj Zizek, and John Caputo—provides both a complement/supplement to Critchley’s work on faithful subjectivity and the starting points for a productive “experiment” in political (pyro)theology that preserves many of the conventional coordinates of Schmittian political theology but that ultimately disavows sovereignty and authorizes a theo-politics of heretical orthodoxy.