Agamben events at Northwestern

On the 15th anniversary of Giorgio Agamben’s Northwestern lectures the Paul of Tarsus Interdisciplinary Working Group presents with support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Program in Critical Theory, and the German department.

Friday, April 18, 12.30-3pm, Kaplan seminar room (Kresge 2-380)

Alessia Ricciardi – The Highest Poverty as Form of Life: Agamben’s Franciscanism and the Contemporary

Virgil W. Brower – “High Use”: Martin Luther as a hidden protagonist in Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer series

Wednesday, April 23, 2-3.30pm, German seminar room (Kresge 2-500)

Samuel Weber (in conversation with Peter Fenves and Anthony C. Adler, Yonsei University) – Politics of Singularity: Ontology, Theology, Economy

Conference at Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities: The Actuality of the Theologico-Political

We haven’t had enough conference announcements lately, so I thought I’d let you know of the forthcoming event at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in London entitled “The Actuality of the Theologico-Political.”

I will be giving a paper there entitled “Political Theology from Below,” wherein I plan to argue for the necessity of a non-theocentric approach to political theology in terms that will be strongly reminiscent of my Harvard talk earlier this year on Agamben and psychoanalytic drive theory.

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Conference Presentation at APA’s Division of Psychoanalysis (39)

I’ll be in New York at the end of April presenting at Division 39′s annual spring conference. This year the topic of the conference is Conflict and the dates are April 23-27. I’ll be chairing a panel on April 25th entitled: Childhood Sexual Abuse and Conflicts: The Traumatic Sequelae. I’ll be presenting an individual paper as well that I’ve entitled Pathological Caretaking: Changing Object Relations for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Here’s the abstract.

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) warps the individual’s sense of self and object relations. Adult survivors of CSA internalize a sense of badness and guilt that makes their very existence seem criminal (Ferenczi, 1933), contributing to their belief that they deserve punishment and mistreatment. These internalizations inhibit their ability to form healthy and satisfying relationships. They are severely anxious about attachment and are often counterdependent due to their mistrust of others. They often initiate relationships in which they assume a pathological caretaking role, excessively devoted to partners who can be needy, immature, narcissistic and sadistic. These relationships allow them to disavow their dependency needs and yet still have them vicariously met by taking care of a needy other. In this paper, I will analyze these relational patterns that I have termed pathological caretaking, in which the survivor empties himself of desire (Ehrenberg, 1992), choosing to elevate the needs of the other. Also, I will focus on the ways in which these childhood traumas lead to personality-fragmentation (Ferenczi, 1933) and to the erasure of the true self and the creation of a false self (Winnicott, 1960). Furthermore, I will highlight from my own clinical work how I have used a Lacanian (Lacan 2006) focus on desire to destabilize the fixed relational patterns that render these individuals vulnerable to future victimization.

American Comparative Literature Association seminar on Agamben

Next week, Virgil Brower and I will be presiding over an ACLA seminar entitled “Agamben, Capital, and the Homo Sacer Series: Economy, Poverty, People, Work.” The full conference schedule is available for download here. Our seminar’s line-up is as follows:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Villanova PGSU Philosophy Conference Feminism: Body, Image, Power

Readers in the Philadelphia area will not doubt be interested in this year’s Villanova Philosophy Conference (sponsored by PGSU) on March 21st and 22nd. The theme is Feminism: Body, Image, Power with keynotes from Dr. Lisa Guenther (Vanderbilt) and Dr. Julie Klien (Villanova). Other information is below on the flyer.

conference poster final (1)

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New School Phenomenology Conference and Lecture March 14th-15th

Our New York readers may be interested in the conference this Friday and Saturday at The New School. I will be giving a keynote on Friday evening entitled: ‘Will Nothing Ever Be with Nothing Ever Again?’: The Theological Construction and Its Negation within the Limits of Race Alone. All information is below on the poster and as you can see it is free and open to the public.

10005925_544772372305202_425601269_o (1)

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Notre Dame Graduate Theology Conference

AUFS lurker Raúl Zegarra informs me that Notre Dame is inaugurating an annual graduate theology conference this year, with a theme of “The Mission of Academics in the Context of Suffering.” The topic is inspired in part by the 1982 Rio Negro massacre in Guatemala, and a survivor of that event will be presenting in addition to the academic papers. Further information is available here.

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2014 Karl Barth Conference “Karl Barth, The Jews, and Judaism”: CFP and Registration

Friend of the blog and curator of the Barth Collection, Kait Dugan, has alerted us to a CFP for the upcoming Karl Barth Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary.

What: 2014 Karl Barth Conference — “Karl Barth, the Jews, and Judaism”
When: June 15-18th, 2014
Where: Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
The conference is having their first-ever call for papers and all submissions are due by March 1st. They are also are implementing an early-bird special rate this year which ends on March 1st. For more details head to the conference website or follow them on twitter @thebarthcenter.
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Progressive Youth Ministry Conference: March, 2014, in Chicago

Two summers ago, at the Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity conference in Washington, DC, our U of Chicago Div school delegation–Thomas Bowen, John Vest, and myself–gathered for barbeque after Tony Campolo’s entirely disappointing presentation, asking, what if practitioners and scholars really gathered to talk about religious education that didn’t pander to evangelicals and their publishing sponsors, and was blatantly unapologetically progressive in their approach to teaching Christianity in the 21st century? Read the rest of this entry »

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Conference Announcement and CFP: The Limits of the Thinkable: Religious Experience and the Apophatic Impulse Between Antiquity and Modernity

The Limits of the Thinkable: Religious Experience and the Apophatic Impulse Between Antiquity and Modernity (with a keynote address by Dr. Catherine Keller)
2014 Fordham Graduate Theology Conference: Call for Papers

“The concept of limit-situation is a familiar one in the existentialist philosophy and theology of the very recent past. Fundamentally, the concept refers to those human situations wherein a human being ineluctably finds manifest a certain ultimate limit or horizon to his or her existence… either those ‘boundary’ situations of guilt, anxiety, sickness, and the recognition of death as one’s own destiny, or those situations called ‘ecstatic experiences’- intense joy, love, reassurance, creation… Such experiences… seem to demand reflection upon the existential boundaries of our present everyday experience.”
—David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

“For any ‘modernity’ to be worthy of one day taking its place as ‘antiquity,’ it is necessary for the mysterious beauty which human life accidentally puts into it to be distilled from it… By modernity, I mean the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, which makes up one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immutable.”
—Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life

For contemporary scholars of religion, David Tracy’s description of limit-situations as the “stuff” of theological reflection provides a helpful lens through which to consider religious experience. And yet, while one might easily suppose that such “ecstatic” and “boundary” experiences name timeless or perennial aspects of human life, Tracy himself is quick to note that the limit situation is itself a distinctively “modern” discursive phenomenon, having its roots in existentialist philosophy, and entering the mainstream of theological discourse only in the last several generations.

Today both historians of religion as well as constructive theologians are faced with the task of deciding how far religious experiences and limit situations can be meaningfully discussed as separate from their contextual origins in time, language, and culture. As Baudelaire suggests, such a disentangling of what is “eternal and immutable” from the “accidents” of the present-day constitutes a daunting task. And indeed, as each successive generation’s “modernity” seeks to distinguish itself even further from the “pre-modern” preceding it, entanglements between limit-experiences and the new discourses that attend to them can only grow in complexity.
The 3rd Annual Fordham Graduate Theology Conference seeks to examine the relationship between such limit- experiences and their historical and discursive contexts. The Theology Graduate Association warmly invites submissions from graduate students in the disciplines comprising religious studies and theology (and cognate fields). Students whose research is primarily textual/biblical, sociological, historical, philosophical, ethical, or constructive are all invited to submit and attend. Submissions are especially welcomed which: explore the relationship between “religious experience” and “religious history”; situate apophatic and negative theological texts/traditions within their broader historical, social, and discursive contexts (including proposals dealing with modern and contemporary constructive apophatic/negative theologies); explore the ways in which religious communities make use of shared “limit-situation” religious experiences, e.g., as in mystical traditions, Pietism, Pentecostalism, etc.; consider diachrony and synchrony in the construction of theological concepts such as history, memory, affect, and identity; and address the “limits” of religious language generally. Papers addressing related themes beyond these suggestions are welcomed as well.

Abstracts (of roughly 300 words) proposing 20 minute presentations should be sent via email to fordhamtgsa@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is Friday, January 17th, 2014. Notifications regarding submissions will be given by Monday, January 27th.
The conference will be held on Saturday, February 8th at Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus. A keynote address by Dr. Catherine Keller (Professor of Constructive Theology in the Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University) will consider the curiously “modern” logic of the infinite in Nicolas of Cusa. Complete conference schedule and program to follow. Limited New York City lodging for graduate student presenters is available. Please direct any questions to fordhamtgsa@gmail.com.

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