54321… Radical Philosophy Conference 2015

Friday 16th — Saturday 17th January 2015

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

What is the current state of philosophical debates about alternatives to the present? The British journal Radical Philosophy, founded in 1972 as “a Journal of Socialist and Feminist Philosophy,” holds periodic conferences to reflect on the situation. This event brings the Radical Philosophy Conference to Germany for the first time. Is the current acceleration of social life in capitalist societies qualitatively different from the futuristic speed of modernity? Does the art strike still represent a viable political response to art’s affirmative complicity with the market? What are the effects of the new forms of surveillance on our political condition? Is queer theory “merely cultural”? Is today’s “pedagogical turn” a capitulation to a generalized pedagogization or a site of a potential resistance? How does the essay film work to communicate philosophy? What happens when biopolitics takes human-animal relations as its focus? What alternatives are there in matters of collective empowerment to the political forms of the 20th century? These topics and questions will be discussed in a sequence of panels, bringing together international speakers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds.

All events in English, free admission

Welche Alternativen zum gesellschaftlichen Status quo eröffnen die aktuellen philosophischen Debatten? Die 1972 als »Journal of Socialist and Feminist Philosophy «gegründete britische Zeitschrift Radical Philosophy reichert in regelmäßigen Konferenzen den Diskussionsstand um kritische Reflexionen an. 2015 findet die Radical Philosophy Conference zum ersten Mal in Deutschland statt. Unterscheidet sich die aktuelle Beschleunigung des gesellschaftlichen Lebens in kapitalistischen Gesellschaften vom futuristischen Tempo der Moderne? Ist der Kunststreik noch immer eine angemessene politische Antwort auf die Komplizenschaft von Kunst und Markt? Wie transformieren allgegenwärtige und neue Formen der Überwachung den Raum des Politischen? Ist Queer Theory tatsächlich bloß kulturell «? Bedeutet der derzeitige »Pedagogical Turn « eine Kapitulation vor der allge meinen Pädagogisierung oder bietet er Möglichkeiten des Widerstands? Was erzählt der Essayfilm in seinen Genregrenzen über Philosophie, wie vermittelt er sie? Was geschieht, wenn Biopolitik die Beziehungen von Mensch und Tier in den Fokus nimmt? Welche Alternativen kollektiver Ermächtigung gibt es zu den Organisationsformen des Politischen des 20. Jahrhunderts? Diese Fragen und Themen diskutieren internationale Vortragende mit verschiedenen disziplinären Hintergründen.

Alle Veranstaltungen auf Englisch, Eintritt frei




Friday, January 16, 2015
13.00h Registration
14.00h – 14.15h Opening/ Welcome
Theater Hall
Bernd M. Scherer (Director, Haus der Kulturen der Welt)
Peter Osborne (Radical Philosophy)
14.15h – 15.45h Acceleration & the New
Theater Hall
with: David Cunningham (RP & Westminster University, London), Frank Engster (Author, Berlin), Nina Power (Roehampton University, London)
Chair: Peter Osborne (RP & Kingston University, London)
The concept of acceleration has a central place in contemporary capitalist societies. For some this amounts to a “shrinkage to the present” and to a sense of capitalism’s inescapability within a fully 24/7 culture. For others it is to be embraced as the basis for an ultimate transcendence of capitalism itself. What is the philosophical meaning of “acceleration”? How does it relate to alternate conceptions of “modernity” and of “the new”?


16.15h – 18.00h Artistic Strike
Theater Hall
with: ‘Claire Fontaine’ (artist collective, Paris), Stewart Martin (RP & Middlesex University, London), Hito Steyerl (artist, Berlin) 

Chair: Esther Leslie (RP & Birkbeck, University of London)
The art strike is a curious figure in the landscape of contemporary art. In many of its most vivid instances it has been a figure of failure and folly. And yet it has also accumulated considerable respect as a decisive configuration of radical politics and art. This panel offers a range of new approaches to the art strike, occasioning a reconsideration of what it has been and what it might be, its stakes and its significance.

Saturday, January 17, 2015
10.00h – 11.30h Secrecy & Surveillance
Theater Hall
with: Gregoire Chamayou (CNRS, École normale supérieure de Lyon), Mark Neocleous (RP & Brunel University, London), Burkhardt Wolf (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)
Chair: Claudia Aradau (King’s College London)
As surveillance has become more dispersed, more insidious and less perceptible, what space is there for critique today? Techniques of surveillance and regimes of knowledge reconfigure the play of visibility and invisibility and the modulation of power. How can we gauge their effects upon our contemporary political condition? What difference do they make for political being?

11.45h – 13.15h Queer Theory & Geopolitics
Theater Hall (parallel with Pedagogization)
with: Antke Engel (Institut für Queer Theory, Berlin), Silvia Posocco (Birkbeck, University of London), Rahul Rao (SOAS, University of London)
Chair: Victoria Browne (RP & Oxford Brookes University)
The canon of queer theory has been questioned recently as a conceptual and interpretative framework that has become a “mandatory” reference point in European and Anglophone discourse. How are queer theorists from various localities confronting regimes of citizenship, rights, colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, imprisonment and war from within different geopolitical contexts? How is queer theory itself being transformed in the process?

11.45h – 13.15h Pedagogization
K1 (parallel with Queer Theory & Geopolitics)
with: David Blacker (University of Delaware), Matthew Charles (RP & Westminster University, London), Nora Sternfeld (Aalto University, Helsinki)
Chair: David Cunningham (RP & Westminster Universtiy, London)
In the early 1990s Gerald Graff predicted a “redirection of theoretical attention to issues of education and pedagogy,” a movement beyond the “cultural turn.” To what extent does the emergence of what has been characterized as an “educational turn” in art and art theory belatedly relate to this? Are we witnessing a “pedagogical turn” today? If so, does this indicate a capitulation to the process or rather the site of a potential resistance?


14.30h – 16.00h Philosophy of the Essay Film
Theater Hall (parallel with Animalities)
with: Christa Blümlinger (Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis), Gertrud Koch (Freie Universität Berlin), Esther Leslie (RP & Birkbeck, University of London)
Chair: Stewart Martin (RP & Middlesex University, London)
What is an essay film or an installation essay? Though their formal elements have existed since the early years of film, it is only recently that these terms have come to function as generic labels with certain4 aesthetic and conceptual stances: poetically wrought language, self-reflexion, a sustained rumination on one issue, and movement across disciplinary confines. What can essay films and installation essays communicate to, and about, philosophy?

14.30h – 16.00h Animalities
K1 (parallel with Philosophy of the Essay Film)
with: Fahim Amir (Kunstuniversität Linz), Arianna Ferrari (ITAS, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie), Chris Wilbert (RP & Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge)
Chair: Peter Hallward (RP & Kingston University London)
People have always been in social relations with animals. In recent years, non-human animals are increasingly seen as part of sociality. New aspects of disciplines are emerging: multispecies ethnographies, anthrozoology, animal geographies, and cross-disciplinary areas rethinking agency. Yet to date, writing on biopolitics has given little attention to the human-animal relations. Can such concepts aid a radical politics or are new theories needed?


16.30h – 18.00h On Organization
Theater Hall
with: Peter Hallward (RP & Kingston University London), Frank Ruda (Freie Universität Berlin)
Chair: Peter Osborne (RP & Kingston Unviersity London)
Is the recent international eclipse of egalitarian political projects to some extent the result of a failure to address problems of organization? How has it emerged during the 20th century, both in capitalist regimes and in the former socialist bloc? To what degree does mass political organization remain tied to the notion of the political party that originated in 19th century Europe? What alternatives are there for collective empowerment, participation and deliberation?


Further details:

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Previous Events: 

Radical Philosophy New York Conference 2011

Friday 21st October 2011, Columbia University, New York

Postcolonial Worlds

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Peter Osborne, Etienne Balibar, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Rosalind C. Morris, Souleymane Bachir Daigne, Marilena Chaui

Representing Capitalism

Tim Bewes, David Cunningham, Kristin Ross

Biocapital and Security

Mark Neocleous, Claudia Aradau, Kaushik Sunder Rajan

Temporalities of Crisis

Antonia Birnbaum (Philosophy, University of Paris 8), Peter Osborne, Harry Harootunian

Politics of Information

David Golumbia (English, Virginia Commonwealth University), Esther Leslie, Finn Brunton


Radical Philosophy London Conference 2009: Power to the People?

Saturday 9 May 2009, Birkbeck College, London


Radical Philosophy London Conference 2007: Material and Materialisms

Saturday 12 May 2007, Birkbeck College, London