Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CFP: Immanence and Materialism


Date: 23 June 2009
Venue: Queen Mary, University of London
Call for papers deadline: 22 May 2009
All papers and enquiries to: s.j.choat@qmul.ac.uk

Keynote speakers:
Professor James Williams (University of Dundee) Dr Ray Brassier (American University of Beirut) Dr Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The concepts of immanence and materialism are becoming increasingly important in political philosophy. This conference seeks to analyse the connections between these two concepts and to examine the consequences for political thought. It is possible, as Giorgio Agamben has done, to make a distinction within modern philosophy between a line of transcendence (Kant, Husserl, Levinas, Derrida) and a line of immanence (Spinoza, Nietzsche, Deleuze, Foucault). If we follow this distinction, then the "line of immanence" might include Spinozist interpretations of Marx, Althusser's aleatory materialism, and Deleuze's superior empiricism. But what is the value of this work and is it useful to distinguish it from "transcendent" philosophies? Distinctions between materialism and idealism are equally complex: Derrida, for example, might as easily be classed a materialist as an idealist. And where can we place more recent work like the critiques of Deleuze by Badiou and Zizek, or Meillassoux's speculative materialism?

Papers may wish to consider the following questions:
  • What is materialist philosophy? How can it be distinguished from idealist philosophy, and is it useful to do so? Are all philosophies of immanence necessarily materialist?
  • Is it legitimate or useful to make a clear distinction between philosophies of immanence and philosophies of transcendence?
  • How have the concepts of immanence and materialism traditionally been conceived within political philosophy?
  • What, if any, are the political consequences of pursuing a philosophy of immanence?
Paper titles and a 300-word abstract should be sent by Friday 22 May 2009 to Simon Choat at s.j.choat@qmul.ac.uk, Department of Politics, Queen Mary.

Graduate papers welcome.

ME: What are people thinking when they announce conferences on such short notice?