Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Neoliberalism and Biopolitics Working Group | Revisiting Foucault: The Biopolitics Lectures and Beyond
Hans Sluga, William and Trudy Ausfahl Professor of Philosophy, UC Berkeley & William Callison, Political Science,

Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, UC Berkeley

17 September, 2014, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

Further info

The opening session of the Neoliberalism and Biopolitics Working Group, “Revisiting Foucault: The Biopolitics Lectures and Beyond” will provide a space for discussion of the lasting insights, limitations, and potential applications of Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-79. Linking neoliberalism and biopolitics at both the historical and conceptual level, Foucault’s prescient lecture series lays the groundwork for the workshop’s concern with the contemporary management of populations through diverse practices of economization, privatization, and financialization. Potential topics of discussion include the differences between liberal and neoliberal political rationality; human capital and modes of neoliberal conduct; the specificity of neoliberal governmental techniques; and the difference between biopower and biopolitics. In preparation for the workshop, we will read the last section of The History of Sexuality and three lectures from The Birth of Biopolitics, digital copies of which will be available for workshop participants.

The Neoliberalism and Biopolitics Working Group and Conference is supported by the University of California Humanities Research Institute, organized by UC Berkeley graduate students William Callison (Political Science) and Zachary Manfredi (Rhetoric), and supervised by The Program in Critical Theory faculty Martin Jay (History) and Wendy Brown (Political Science).

To register for these sessions and receive readings contact critical_theory@berkeley.edu. All events are free and open to the public.

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Resisting Force and Discourse

Host: California State University, San Marcos

Date: Friday, September 26, 2014

Location: University Student Union, Ballroom

Keynote Speaker: TBA

Conference Website

The conference theme brings into critical light the way that bodies are marked and regulated by discursive practices and spaces, and institutional procedures. This operational force can take the form of juridical and normative practices.

Examples of juridical practices include but are not limited to current police protocols, immigration requirements, and sexuality-managing legislation. In their operation, these forces betray their impingement upon raced, gendered, and classed bodies. As such, the conference solicits papers that challenge neutral and objective neoliberal practices that ultimately regulate, disqualify, torque, and punish bodies at the margins of classification.

The conference theme further recognizes that the regulation of marginal bodies is not limited to institutional codes. Social norms are an essential disciplinary mechanism in the reproduction of the dominant order. Indeed, conformity to, or deviation from, norms designates which subjects are the proper recipients of accusation, disavowal, and injury. Denial of normative power can occur on multiple grounds including: sex work, living with HIV, body size, sexual orientation, and being gender-nonconforming. As such, the conference also invites papers that engage with the regulatory effects of normative power.

We highly encourage submissions from graduate students and advanced undergraduates for fifteen minute presentations. Academic disciplines and methodologies across the humanities and social sciences may be used. Research questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • How is the policing and norming of marginalized bodies represented in literature and film? Or, newer cultural mediums, such as MMORGs and internet spaces?
  • How do state regimes of punishment similarly besiege parolees and racial minorities?
  • Does the U.S immigration system constitute a branch of biopolitical administration?
  • What are the modern norms of surveillance that may be going unnoticed?
  • How is the human body a political site (i.e., hunger strikes, self-branding, gender bending, trans politics)?
  • What is the function of the citizen “Other”?
  • Do social norms challenge the viability of HIV+ persons as subjects proper, leaving only a dangerous corporality?
  • Which social norms are challenged through the undocuqueer identity marker and movement?
  • Do all white subjects possess normative power?
  • How do queer subjects challenge dominant procedures and norms through queer world-making practices? How is this portrayed in popular media, activism, etc.?
  • Where do we find alternative networks, spaces, and autonomous zones? How are they constituted (i.e., spaces of reprieve and crisis heterotopias)?
  • How do juridical and normative systems produce catastrophic violence that no one seems responsible for?
  • Finally, critical theory and psychoanalytic approaches to the conference theme are welcome.

 Submissions: Please submit a 250 word abstract to foucault.madness@gmail.com by August 15, 2014. In the email body include your name, institutional affiliation, and email address.

For any questions about the conference, or our bi-monthly reading group, please contact us at foucault.madness@gmail.com.

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Engaging Foucault

December 5-7, 2014
Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade

June 25, 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of Michel Foucault. During his lifetime, Foucault was, in his own words, described as an anarchist and a leftist; a covert Marxist or an explicit or covert anti-Marxist; a nihilist, a technocrat in the service of Gaullism, and a neoliberal. In addition, Foucault can also be described as an intellectual who cannot be aligned or positioned within the existing matrices of thought and action, especially when defined ideologically. How should one understand the societal and political implications of Foucault’s work? These dilemmas remain very much unresolved today.

The conference “Engaging Foucault” will gather international and regional theorists who have engaged with Foucault’s work, either endorsing or disputing the main premises of his work. The intended aim of the conference is to open up space for a general discussion of the actuality of Foucault’s work. Bearing in mind the specific political economy of truth and power, about which Foucault wrote extensively, we intend to examine the changes in scientific and theoretical discourses, as well as the institutions that produce these changes. In what ways is this production economically and politically initiated, expanded and consumed? What is the form of control and dissemination of certain regimes of truth through reforms and old and new ideological struggles around them? Taking as our point of departure Foucault’s statement that the role of the intellectual is not merely to criticize ideological contents supposedly linked to science, or furnish him/herself with the most appropriate ideology, we want to incite a debate on the possibilities of “constituting new politics of truth”, advocated by Foucault. Thus, central to this conference would be the investigation into the possibilities for (re-)articulating public engagement today: how to change political, economic, social and institutional regimes of production of truths? The debate should, in that sense, critically examine the meanings of emancipatory practices, social movements, contemporary forms of innovative action and engaged theory through the Foucauldian optic of bio-politics and ’thanato-politics’, sexuality and (non)identity, resistance, ’counter-power’, ’techniques of the self’ and the genealogies of societally engaged practices (e.g. insurrectionary knowledge and action). In light of the uprisings that have in recent years spread across the globe and are characterized by a variety of causes and consequences, this conference should critically reflect on the meaning of ’engagement’ – what is public engagement, who can be called ’engaged’ and in what sense, what are the effects of engaged thought and action – in the spirit of Foucault’s cues.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

-          Public Engagement and the (Im)possibility of Political Emancipation

-          Foucault and Intellectuals

-          Foucault and the Micromechanics of Power

-          Discursive Orders and Orders of Power

-          Embodied Engagement

-          Foucault and Feminism

-          Foucault and Queer Activism

-          Foucault (against) Identity Politics, and Social Movements

-          Foucauldian Techniques of the Self

-          Microphysics of Resistance and Structural Emancipation

-          Economy and Bio-politics

-          Foucauldian Approach to Security: Discipline, Control, Surveillance

-          (Auto-Regulated) Censorship and Engagement

-          (Dis-)engaged History of the Present

-          Heterotopias and Distopias

-          Sovereign Engagement and War


Organization of the conference

 The official languages of the conference are BHS and English.

Conference applications should be sent only via e-mail to the following address: conference@instifdt.bg.ac.rs. We kindly ask you to put in your email subject the following title: ’Application: title of the paper’.

The complete application in the .doc, .docx or .pdf format must contain: the title of the presentation, abstract of up to 250 words, key words in the presenter’s mother tongue – BHS or English – and a short biography.

Click here for registration form.

Presentations should not exceed 15 minutes.

The Program Committee of the conference will select the presenters based on the submitted abstracts. The book of abstracts will be published by the time of the conference, and a collection of conference papers will be published in 2015. The papers submitted for the collection should be in BHS or English (between 5000 and 7000 words).

There will be no registration fees. Conference organisers will provide lunch and beverage refreshments during the conference program. Participants are kindly requested to make their own accommodation and travel arrangements.

Important dates

Application deadline: 15 September 2014

Notification of acceptance: 1 October 2014

Conference dates: 5-7 December 2014

Submission deadline for the collection of papers: 1 February 2015

Publication of the collection: June 2015

Conference organizer

The conference is organized by the Group for the Study of Public Engagement, part of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory in Belgrade, with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.

Program Committee

Čarna Brković, Institute for Advanced Studies, CEU

Hajrudin Hromadžić, University of Rijeka

Peter Klepec, Institute of Philosophy, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Katerina Kolozova, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje

Vjollca Krasniqi, University of Prishtina

Ivan Milenković, Treći program Radio Beograda

Sanja Milutinović Bojanić, Center for Advanced Studies, Rijeka

Ugo Vlaisavljević, University of Sarajevo

Where to stay:

The conference venue is close to the city centre and there are many comfortable hotels in its vicinity. Below is a list of the several most convenient places, not more than 5 minutes walking from the conference venue.

Hotel Excelsior  http://www.hotelexcelsior.co.rs/

Hotel Helvetia  http://www.hotelhelvetia.info/

Hotel Prag  http://www.hotelprag.rs/

Hotel Park http://www.hotelparkbeograd.rs/en

Hostel 40Garden Park http://hostel40.net/

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Call for Papers

Harvard University
March 5-7th, 2015

The rise of the prison has been an important historical development of the modern era. Over the past two hundred years, the growth of prisons has ticked upward. Confinement has come to dominate national penal regimes, increasingly replacing bodily harm as a primary form of punishment. Prisons now span the globe. While rates of incarceration have varied widely over the past two centuries across nations and over time, the last third of the twentieth-century witnessed an upward trend from the United States to Brazil and China. In the United States, prisons have become a pressing social problem with the highest number of its citizens behind bars of any country in the world.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) the influential book that first opened a new line of inquiry into the study of the prison, the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History is planning a conference to spark a global conversation among researchers in the social sciences and humanities at work on the history of distinctive penal regimes. We are interested in exploring the diversity of regimes of punishment, and especially the prison as an institution within them, the paths along which they changed, and—most especially—the connections between these changes in different parts of the world.  The conference is open to papers that address a variety of themes from the philosophical underpinnings of systems of punishment, the character and function of regimes of incarceration and penality in colonial, liberal, neo-liberal and authoritarian state systems, and the distinctive cultures of confinement that have emerged within these varied systems. We hope to balance broadly comparative papers and revealing case studies. We are seeking proposals from scholars at all stages of their academic career, including graduate students. We are particularly interested in forging a global discussion of these topics, and therefore especially welcome contributions from outside North America and Europe.

The Weatherhead Initiative on Global History is a recently created center that responds to the growing interest at Harvard in the encompassing study of global history. The Initiative is committed to the systematic scrutiny of developments that have unfolded across national, regional, and continental boundaries as well as to analysis of the interconnections—cultural, economic, ecological and demographic—among world societies. For further information about WIGH and the conference, please consult our website at http://wigh.wcfia.harvard.edu.

Proposals should include an abstract of no more than 500 words and a brief curriculum vita. Please email your submissions to Jessica Barnard (jbarnard@wcfia.harvard.edu) by May 25, 2014 with the heading “Penal Regimes Conference.” Travel expenses (economy) as well as accommodation will be covered.

WIGH Chairs:
Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University
Charles S. Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University

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“Foucault: The Masked Philosopher”
An International Conference
June 8-9, 2014
Bar-Ilan University & The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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Call for papers
Historicising Foucault: What does this mean?

6-8 November 2014
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Further info

Michel Foucault figures among the icons of today’s cultural and social sciences. The French philosopher and historian is productively read, quoted, discussed, refuted, and recycled in virtually every cultural and social scientific discipline. Voiced in 1975, Foucault’s invitation that people should help themselves to his works and concepts as if using a toolbox’ (‘make of it what you will’) was so widely taken up that the toolbox has since become standard equipment above all for the work of the cultural sciences. Indeed, the ‘toolbox’ contains an extraordinarily dazzling inventory of concepts, methods, models, sketches, and instruments, and last but not least still proves to be a treasure chest.

But today, thirty years after Foucault’s death, we — the group of editors of the ‘foucaultblog‘ — also face questions regarding the historicisation of this tool box with its instruments whose applicability seems independent of the context of their origins. How did this toolbox that we use actually come about? What does it mean for us today that it originated in the Cold War era in opposition to the ‘hyper-Marxism’ of the New Left, in a certain proximity to structuralism, in the struggle against the French prison system, that it was possibly shaped by commitments to Soviet dissidents, Spanish anarchists, Shiite revolutionaries, or Polish workers and undoubtedly by a fascination with the American counterculture and the Zen culture of Japan, but maybe even influenced by the New Age?? Do all of these ‘contexts’, ‘backgrounds’, and genealogies belong to the Foucauldian toolbox? It can be no other way: Foucault’s thought always and explicitly referred to his present and the poli tical context of his time. But does this not imbue his own concepts and analytical models with an ineluctable historicity? Undoubtedly, and today we should therefore set about writing the genealogy of the Foucauldian toolbox in order to understand it better, to be able to keep using it, but also to bring it up to date and adapt it to today’s scholarly and political situation. And perhaps also to discard some of it.

With such a project in mind, the ‘foucaultblog’ invites all interested scholars to attend a workshop at the University of Zurich on 6-8 November 2014 to discuss the question ‘Historicising Foucault: what does this mean?’ The initial objective will be to locate within a genuine historical context not only the life and work of the author Michel Foucault (1925-1984) but also ‘Foucault’ in his iconic nature and almost ubiquitous presence as a body of interrelated statements that for thirty years has been virulent in the cultural sciences throughout the world. This means interrogating this body of interrelated statements with regard to its specific conditions of possibility, theory formation processes, discursive strategies, and resonance chambers. But it also means taking the claim of historicisation seriously and filling this catchword with life, making the historicisation of Foucault (and ‘Foucault’) the object of one’s own research. We hold the view that such a venture does not by any means require an exclusively historiographical orientation but rather should proceed from all disciplines that work or deal with Foucault. For the new perspective that this can open up is always contemporary in nature: we believe that the historicisation of Foucault’s toolbox opens up new opportunities to think about how this intellectual tool kit can still be used today — or explains why it must perhaps be partially rejected. Work about Foucault is work on Foucault.

Organizational information:

The workshop will take place on 6-8 November 2014 at the University of Zurich.

All interested scholars are invited to send their proposals for papers (abstracts no longer than 500 words) by 30 June 2014 to foucaultblog@fsw.uzh.ch.

The costs of travel and accommodations will be covered for contributors.

The plan is to publish and comment on the workshop contributions on the foucaultblog. The contributors are therefore requested to post brief preliminary versions of their papers on the foucaultblog in advance of the workshops. These will then be provided with commentary, which the contributors can or should address during the workshops. After the conference, the presented papers can be published in full length on the foucaultblog.

Contact: foucaultblog@fsw.uzh.ch

Conference languages: German and English

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Prospects for an Ethics of Self-Cultivation

Conference 1: ‘Hellenistic Ethics in Nietzsche and Foucault’

Date: 25-27 September, 2014

Location: The University of Warwick, UK

PDF of call for papers

1st Call for Abstracts:

Philosophical interest in the ethical ideal of self-cultivation has increased in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as philosophers have sought alternatives to deontological and utilitarian theories. This interest has been most evident in the widespread revival of virtue ethics, although contemporary virtue ethicists tend to focus on Aristotle’s account of character formation. Philosophers in the modern European tradition, however, have been influenced by other views on self-cultivation from the Hellenistic period. Nietzsche’s account of self-cultivation, for instance, is closer to Epicurus’s than Aristotle’s, while Foucault draws extensively on Stoicism and Cynicism for his account. The insights of these thinkers suggest that we may deepen and expand our understanding of self-cultivation by reassessing the merits of the Hellenistic tradition.

Confirmed Speakers

Prof. Keith Ansell-Pearson (Warwick)
Prof. Daniel Conway (Texas A&M)
Dr Edward Harcourt (Oxford)
Prof. Beatrice Han-Pile (Essex)
Dr John Sellars (Birkbeck)
Dr David Webb (Staffordshire)

We welcome papers suitable for 30 minute presentation on self-cultivation in Hellenistic ethics and modern European philosophy. Abstracts of around 500 words suitable for blind review should be sent to selfcultivation@warwick.ac.uk by June 30th 2014. Submissions from graduate students and early-career researchers are especially welcome.

This event will be followed by a second conference hosted by Monash University in 2015 with a separate registration and CFA. To find out more about the research project please visit our webpage: www2.warwick.ac.uk/selfcultivation, and to keep up with future news join our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/selfcultivation2014.

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