Archive for the ‘University news’ Category

Announcing the
International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs

In December 2016, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a three-and-a-half year, $1,525,000 grant to the University of California, Berkeley and $1,020,000 to Northwestern University to establish the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). The task of this international consortium is to document, connect, and support the various programs and projects that now represent critical theory across the globe, especially in light of contemporary global challenges to thinking about democracy, violence, memory, and the critical tasks of the university. The Consortium rests on the view that critical theory is not only an important interdisciplinary field of research and teaching within the university, but crucially informs the university as an institution charged with the task of safeguarding and promoting critical thought. The Consortium is co-directed by Professor Judith Butler (UC Berkeley) and Professor Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University).

As a special project of the Program in Critical Theory at UC Berkeley, the Consortium maintains a multi-lingual website, criticaltheoryconsortium.org, that provides information on critical theory programs and initiatives throughout the world, seeking to connect projects that have for too long remained unknown to one another. The website features an interactive map and a growing directory of nearly 300 critical theory programs, centers, and projects from throughout the world, including programs in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the United States, Europe and its peripheries, the Balkans as well as the Middle East, Russia, and East Asia. The website links to journals and publishing series, archives, organizations and networks, summer institutes, fellowships and potential scholarly affiliations. The platform is currently searchable in English, Spanish, and French.

The Consortium will also publish a book series, Critical South, with Polity Press supporting translations from Spanish, Portuguese, and French, as well as an online journal called Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, and will convene biannual conferences focused on contemporary critical issues of global concern. The Consortium also invites international scholars to engage with faculty and students through UC Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory. Under the direction of Northwestern University, a curricular initiative of the Consortium, Critical Theory in the Global South, will develop new teaching curricula reflective of critical theory’s global reach in conjunction with an associated program of international faculty and graduate student exchange and a translation project. It will allow the establishment of new international cooperative relations among critical theory scholars through cross-university projects linking institutions in Latin America, North America, and South Africa. The Consortium also supports the University of California, Irvine Libraries Critical Theory Archive Research Resources Development Project, which will expand the Archive to more clearly reflect the global reach and shape of the field.

With all of these initiatives, the Consortium seeks to establish the new global contours of critical theory today, supporting critical thought both inside and outside the university in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and seeking collaborative ways to become more responsive to pressing global challenges. The Consortium undertakes both to preserve and to galvanize the study of critical theory in its myriad global forms, underscoring the crucial place of critical thought in the university and in its various public engagements and worldly obligations. The Consortium also aims to incite new forms of collaborative research among a wide range of regions and languages, connecting the disconnected and foregrounding the periphery in an effort to respond critically to contemporary global challenges. These include evaluative metrics and forms of censorship that devalue or suppress the critical and transformative potential of thought itself.

For more information, please contact: info.ictconsortium@berkeley.edu


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The Philosophy Research Initiative at Western Sydney University will be running a new MA in Continental Philosophy from 2016 (to replace Honours, which will no longer be available from 2016).

Members of the group have special expertise in Kant and post-Kantian German thought from Hegel to Nietzsche, the traditions of 20th-century French and German philosophy emerging out of phenomenology and existentialism and moving into Critical Theory, deconstruction, post-structuralism, and the more recent philosophical trends arising out of those movements. We are open to diverse issues, but place a special emphasis on questions of ethics, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, environmental philosophy, and the historical sense of those questions.

More information about the MA

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Petition in French and English

See petition website for other languages and to add your signature

Yes to the institution of the “Michel Foucault and the Philosophy of the Present Chair” at PUC São Paulo

Both São Paulo’s Cardinal, Odilo Scherer, and the Bishops of his archdiocese, recently announced that they do not authorize the creation of what had already been announced 4 years ago: the institution of the “Michel Foucault and the Philosophy of the Present Chair” at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP). This decision not only profoundly surprised all those who, coming from many countries, had from the very beginning embraced this initiative, but also all those who, within PUC-SP itself, had worked vigorously to guarantee the institution of this Chair bearing Michel Foucault’s name.

During the 7th International Michel Foucault Conference, held in October 2011, and which brought together dozens of specialists and interested researchers in Foucault’s oeuvre, a letter was signed supporting the initiative. The list of signees included members of the Collège International de Philosophie (Paris), of the University of Paris VIII, the University of Bordeaux Montaigne, the New University of Lisbon, Madrid’s University Complutense, Paris’ École Normal Supérieure, the Universidad San Martin in Argentina, the Universidad de los Andes in Venezuela and the University of Valparaiso in Chile. The initiative also received support from the General Consulate of France in São Paulo. In 2011, PUC-SP received a copy of the audio archives of Foucault’s classes donated by the Collège de France, in what made PUC-SP the only institution outside France allowed to grant them public access. Having in view the institution of the Michel Foucault and the Philosophy of the Present Chair at PUC-SP, what followed were study sessions, seminars and debates on specific literature as preparatory work for this eagerly anticipated event, all of which generated high expectations and a growing enthusiasm.

The decision to reject the institution of the Michel Foucault and the Philosophy of the Present Chair de-authorizes the scientific, philosophical and pedagogical committees which approved the initiative. ‘Academic freedom’, which stands as a basic fundament of university life, was breached. However, if it is well established that the interest in Foucault’s work goes way beyond religious beliefs, it is no less evident that many Catholic thinkers wrote about and inspired themselves in Foucault’s work. This latter fact – to which we could also add the many studies presently considering Foucault’s contribution to an understanding of Christianity – is ever so more highlighted when Dominicans from the Library du Saulchoir welcomed the archives during the period in which these archives faced the risk of being sent abroad, in what allowed them a safe haven in the very place Foucault worked for hours on end.

This Library, which is irrefutably heir to the Catholic tradition and not for that reason less open to Parisian intellectuals or intellectuals passing through Paris, regularly welcomes presentations and discussions covering diverse fields. It is in light of this plurality that many contemporary studies considering Foucault’s contribution to the study of the origins of Christianity and its rooting in ancient culture, in particular, in Stoic philosophy, have been conducted in the Library. What we find here is an example of historical lucidity of the sort evidenced by the work undertaken by the historian Peter Brown, and upon which students and professors focusing on the first centuries of our era have taken full advantage of and will continue to do so. It is also worth highlighting that, after The Order of Things, Foucault’s own work was strongly inspired by a principle of compassion and dedicated to the question of ‘governmentality’, a question which would transform our way of understanding human relations and their intimate connection with the law.

All these facts already define an excess of reasons justifying our perplexity when faced with the Council of Bishops’ decision. This Chair, which honors Michel Foucault, is not simply dedicated to the readership of his texts (which, today, are already impossible to ignore as part of classical culture): it is also turned towards to the analysis – which is not exclusive to his oeuvre – of the questions posed today by both thought itself and the demands of civil life. The refusal of such a Chair, a Chair which, carrying Michel Foucault’s name, is by nature open to actuality, radically contradicts the deontology of University life as well as its most basic fundament: the exercise of free thought. As such, it can only be the University itself which stands as the first victim of this decision: beyond professors, students and researchers, it is Brazilian public opinion which understands itself to be attacked by such a decision. And we have been witnesses of these protests.

All, however, hope that the Council of Bishops will renounce what evidently stands as a form of censorship, revoking its rejection. The Academic Board at the PUC-SP has appealed the decision. From now onwards, it is up to the international community to show that it supports the institution of the Michel Foucault and the Philosophy of the Present Chair at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. Such is what the signees of the letter supporting this initiative did in October 2011, a letter which, for the very reason of defending the institution of a Chair bearing Michel Foucault’s name, is itself already an invitation to all those committed to exercise of free thought to join them.


Oui à la Chaire « Michel Foucault et la philosophie du présent » à l’Université catholique de São Paulo

Le Cardinal de São Paulo, Odilo Scherer, et les évêques de l’Archidiocèse de la ville viennent d’annoncer qu’ils n’autorisent pas la création, prévue depuis quatre ans, de la Chaire « Michel Foucault et la philosophie du présent » à l’Université catholique de São Paulo (PUC/SP). Cette décision surprend profondément toutes celles et tous ceux, venant de nombreux pays, qui ont soutenu depuis le départ cette création, mais aussi toutes celles et tous ceux qui, dans l’Université catholique de São Paulo, ont travaillé vigoureusement en ce sens.

Lors du 7e Colloque international Michel Foucault d’octobre 2011, qui avait réuni à la PUC/SP plusieurs dizaines de spécialistes de l’œuvre de ce penseur et des centaines d’auditeurs, une lettre avait été signée en soutien à cette initiative. La liste des signataires comprenait des membres du Collège international de philosophie (Paris), de l’Université Paris 8, de l’Université Bordeaux Montaigne, de l’Université nouvelle de Lisbonne, de l’Université Complutense de Madrid, de l’École normale supérieure de Paris, de l’Université San Martin en Argentine, de l’Université de los Andes au Venezuela et de l’Université de Valparaiso. L’initiative avait reçu également le soutien actif du Consulat général de France à São Paulo. La même année, la PUC/SP avait obtenu une copie des archives sonores des cours de Foucault fournie par le Collège de France, devenant ainsi la seule institution hors de France à pouvoir y donner un accès au public. Des séances d’études, des séminaires, des débats sur des livres ont ensuite été organisés comme travail préparatoire pour la création de la Chaire, suscitant des attentes et un enthousiasme grandissants.

Le refus émis désormais désavoue les instances scientifiques, philosophiques et pédagogiques de la PUC/SP qui ont approuvé l’initiative. La « liberté académique », au fondement de la vie universitaire, est ainsi bafouée. Pourtant, on sait que l’intérêt porté dans le monde entier à l’œuvre de Foucault va bien au-delà des croyances religieuses et que maints penseurs catholiques ont écrit sur elle et s’en ont inspirés. Ainsi, à Paris, quand il a été question que les archives Foucault partent à l’étranger, les dominicains de la Bibliothèque du Saulchoir ont hébergé ces archives, permettant qu’elles restent en France à l’endroit où Foucault avait l’habitude travailler des heures entières. Cette bibliothèque, relevant de la tradition catholique la plus incontestable et non moins largement ouverte à tous les intellectuels parisiens ou de passage à Paris, accueille régulièrement des présentations et discussions de livres. Par ailleurs, de nombreuses études actuelles portent sur l’apport de Foucault aux études sur le premier christianisme et son enracinement dans la culture antique, particulièrement stoïcienne. C’est là une lucidité historique, complémentaire des études de l’historien anglo-saxon Peter Brown, de quoi tous les étudiants et enseignants des premiers siècles de notre ère ont profité et profiteront encore. On note également que l’œuvre de Foucault après Les Mots et les choses est fortement inspirée par un principe de compassion et dédiée à la gouvernementalité, une question qui transformerait la modalité des relations humaines et leur intime connexion avec le droit. Ce sont des raisons de plus pour exprimer notre surprise face à cette décision.

Cette chaire, portant le nom de Michel Foucault et lui rendant un légitime hommage n’est pas dédiée à la lecture de ses écrits – qui sont maintenant partie de la culture classique. Elle se dit dans son intitulé explicitement tournée (sur l’impulsion non exclusive de ses travaux) à une libre analyse, information et débat des questions de philosophie et de vie civile contemporaines. Le refus d’une telle chaire, ouverte sur l’actualité, contredit à la déontologie universitaire autant qu’à son fondement. L’Université en serait la première victime. Au-delà des enseignants, étudiants et chercheurs, l’opinion publique brésilienne s’en est ému. Nous témoignons de sa protestation. Cependant, tous gardent l’espoir que le Conseil des évêques renoncera à exercer cette forme de censure et reviendra finalement sur son refus. La direction académique de la PUC/SP a fait appel de la décision. Désormais, c’est à la communauté internationale de montrer, qu’elle aussi, soutient la création de la Chaire « Michel Foucault et la philosophie du présent ». C’est ce que faisaient déjà les signataires de la lettre de soutien d’octobre 2011, qui invitaient toutes celles et ceux qui restent attachés au libre exercice de la pensée à se joindre à eux.

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20th Century Continental Philosophy Ph.D. Programs

Editor’s note: This is a very new project which has just gone up on the web. Contributions are invited!

This wiki’s goal is to provide an unranked yet searchable list of Ph.D. (and terminal M.A.) programs that have strengths in 20th (and early 21st) century continental philosophy throughout the world. To meet this goal, all readers should also think of themselves as editors. If you see anything that needs to be changed or added, please do so.

This wiki is part of a larger wikiproject to help prospective graduate students in philosophy identify programs with strengths in their areas of interest. Ideally links will be provided to the websites, CVs, and PhilPapers profiles of the relevant faculty at each program. If faculty are unable to take on new students, they should be omitted from this wiki. The wiki’s primary intended audience is prospective or current graduate students with interests in 20th century continental philosophy who want to get the lay of the land by seeing who works where, and on what.

This wiki is very much under construction. Many programs and faculty members that should be listed here are not yet here–simply because this wiki was started almost from scratch quite recently. If you can, please pitch in. Still, there is already much information here. So take a look.

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Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought Launches

New Center Will Be Directed By Critical Thought Professor Bernard E. Harcourt, Who Has Challenged Conventional Wisdom on Practices including Mass Incarceration, Free Market Economics, Broken Windows Policing, and Racial Profiling

Media Contact: Public Affairs, 212-854-2650 or publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu

New York, October 7, 2014—The roots of critical thought go back at least to French Renaissance writer Michel de Montaigne, but a new Columbia Law School and Faculty of Arts and Sciences initiative will apply the age-old interdisciplinary approach to a host of modern issues, including the use of surveillance as a mode of government power in the age of Big Data.

The initiative, launched this fall by Columbia Law School Professor Bernard E. Harcourt, is called the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and will bring together scholars and students who are engaged in developing novel ways of understanding how legal and scientific knowledge is produced and organized.

Embraced by philosophers ranging from Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx to Michel Foucault, critical thought takes place at the intersection of law, social sciences, and the humanities.

Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law joined the Columbia Law School faculty in July. He describes critical thought as a “logic of suspicion” that attempts to dismantle commonly held beliefs by demonstrating how they have been constructed over time. In his own work, Harcourt has used critical thought and empirical data to argue against racial profiling, broken windows policing, and mass incarceration, to question free market economics, to reexamine asylums and institutionalization in this country and abroad, and to explore the idea of political disobedience. His latest work, including a book forthcoming in 2015, critically examines government and corporate surveillance in the context of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter—or what he calls “digital security” and its effects on governing, exchanging, and policing.

“The mission of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought is to nourish, explore, encourage, and support critical reexamination of the received wisdom of our time,” Harcourt said. “The task of contemporary critical thought is to question and challenge the authority of established truths and falsehoods, to challenge their empirical foundations, and to engage in forms of practice that test the limits of knowledge.”

Under Harcourt’s direction, the center will provide opportunities for students to analyze how critical thought can be applied to real-world scenarios. Next semester, Harcourt and University of Chicago Professor W.J.T. Mitchell will co-teach Spectacle and Surveillance, a seminar that will examine surveillance in a time of near-total information storage and retrieval. The course is partially funded by a grant from the Mellon Centre for Disciplinary Innovation.

The center also will host short-term seminars with renowned contemporary theorists, sponsor lectures and workshops, organize book events and colloquia, and create a reading group for faculty members and graduate students across Columbia University. The first one-week seminar will take place in November with François Robert Ewald, the recently retired chair of insurance studies at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (Paris) and Foucault’s primary assistant from 1976 to 1984. A spring seminar will feature Renata Salecl, a philosopher whose recent work has focused on the anxiety produced by choice.

Another dimension of the center will allow students to participate actively in litigation and policy initiatives addressing such criminal justice practices as capital punishment and prison terms of life imprisonment without parole, with the goal of tying practice to critical thought.

“Critical thought bridges philosophy, political theory, sociology and social theory, anthropology, classics, law, art criticism, and cultural studies,” Harcourt said. “It represents an epistemological approach that is reflected in a wide range of disciplines and approaches.”

Harcourt is the author of several books, including Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience with Michael Taussig and W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago Press 2013) and The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press 2011). He is also the editor of Foucault’s 1973 Collège de France lectures, La Société punitive (Gallimard 2013) and co-editor of Foucault’s 1981 Louvain lectures, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling (University of Chicago Press 2014). His scholarship has examined the sociology of punishment and penal law and procedure, including through pioneering empirical research on asylums and prisons. In addition to his work as a scholar, Harcourt represents death row inmates pro bono and has served on human rights missions in South Africa and Guatemala.

Before joining Columbia Law School, Harcourt served as the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science at The University of Chicago, where he was the chairman of the political science department. He also holds a chair at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

# # #

Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School combines traditional strengths in corporate law and financial regulation, international and comparative law, property, contracts, constitutional law, and administrative law with pioneering work in intellectual property, digital technology, tax law and policy, national security, human rights, sexuality and gender, and environmental law.

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Editor: See comments on this post and this article and this retraction notice

Also Michel Charles, Le plagiat sans fard. Recette d’une singulière imposture, Fabula, November 2014

Call for Papers: DISCOURSES OF MADNESS/ DISCOURS DE LA FOLIE (Special volume of Neohelicon [43, 2016]. Guest-Editor: R.-L. Etienne Barnett)


Contributions on any aspect of madness in (of, and) textuality are welcome for consideration. Possible areas of focus, among a plethora of other options: literary representations of the alienated mind; mad protagonists or mad writers; madness as a vehicle of exile, as a form of marginalization, of dissipation, of disintegration, of revelation or self-revelation; interpretations of madness as a manifestation of structure, style, rhetoric, narrative; madness as a reflection of cultural assumptions, values, prohibitions; madness, as prophetic or dionysiac, poetic, or other; the esthetics of madness; philosophical, ethical, ontological, epistemological, hermeneutic and esthetic implications of the discourse/narrative of madness..

From an alternative vantage point, one might question: how does the deviant mind-set of authorial figures and/or fictional characters determine the organization of time, space and plot in the narrative? How does the representation of delusional worlds differ from the representation of other “non-mad” mental acts (dreams, fantasies, aspirations) and from other fictional worlds (magic, imaginings, phantoms) — if it does? Contributors are welcome to address these and other questions in a specific work, in a group of works, or in a more general/theoretical reflection, in and across any national tradition(s), literary movement(s) or œuvre(s).


  • Do not mistake for wisdom these fantasies /Of your sick mind. (W. Soyinka)
  • I could spend my whole life prying loose the secrets of the insane. (A. Breton)
  • When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. (M. Twain)
  • If we lose our sanity/We can but howl the lugubrious howl of idiots/The howl of the utterly lost/Howling their nowhere-ness. (D. H. Lawrence)
  • When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? (Cervantes)
  • There is always some reason in madness. (Nietzsche)
  • No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness. (Aristotle)
  • Behind their dark glass, the mad own nothing. (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • The madman will no longer be the exiled one, the one relegated to the margins of our cities, but rather he who becomes a stranger to the self, impugned for being who he is. (M. Foucault)
  • So long as man is protected by madness, he functions and flourishes. (E. Cioran)
  • Culture is perishing, as are we … in an avalanche of words, in sheer madness. (M. Kundera)
  • The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes. (A. Gide)
  • Books have led some to learning and others to madness. (Petrarch)
  • What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is yet minimal; for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams. (Calderón de la Barca)
  • Where am I, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you’ll never know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on. (S. Beckett)
  • Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy, and moon-struck madness. (J. Milton)



Theoretical or applied contributions focused upon “discourses of madness” in the literary “arena” are invited and will be accorded full and serious consideration.

Manuscripts in English, French German or Italian — not to exceed twenty (25) double-spaced pages, including notes, bibliography and appendices, where applicable — are welcome. Contributions written in any but one’s first (or native) language must be scrupulously reviewed, edited and proofed by a “native” specialist prior to submission.

Format and submission requirements: Papers must prepared in strict accordance with APA (not MLA) guidelines and are to be accompanied by an abstract and 6-8 key words or expressions in English. (A second abstract and set of key words in the language of the article, if not in English, is strongly recommended.)

Submit via email in the form of a WORD document (attachment) to: R.-L. Etienne Barnett (Guest-Editor) at: RL_Barnett@msn.com (primary submission address) with a second copy to RLEBarnett@editionsdegresecond.be (secondary submission address).

OCTOBER 1, 2015

Prof. R.-L. Etienne Barnett
RL_Barnett@msn.com (Primary Email)
RLEBarnett@editionsdegresecond.be (Secondary Email)
Email: rl_barnett@msn.com (primary email)
Visit the website at http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/linguistics/journal/11059

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Foucault News editorial comment: I was interested by the opening sentence of this piece in The Guardian and my thought was that Foucault actually should be brought precisely into these kind of arenas. I have observed that practitioners can really benefit from engaging with Foucault’s ideas and have their ideas about their professional practice considerably broadened. If nothing else, coming to grips with his ideas gives people’s brains a good workout in this era of obsession with brain training. Certainly more productive than endless sudoku in my view!

Stephen Hoare, City Unrulyversity: a pop-up education, theguardian.com, Tuesday 12 November 2013

Anyone expecting rows of eager postgrads critiquing philosopher Michel Foucault will think they have landed on Mars. City Unrulyversity is a new concept in higher education outreach, described as a “pop-up” and based at the Brick Lane offices of digital media company Unruly. Here, no one takes an attendance register and there are no assignments.

“It’s very informal. We pull together couches and bean bags, and you get a beer and crisps,” says Caroline Wiertz, co-founder of City Unrulyversity and reader in marketing at Cass Business School.

Launched at the start of 2013 with a mission to inform, inspire and empower the next generation of Tech City entrepreneurs, City Unrulyversity offers a programme of free, early-evening lectures.

read more

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