Event May 11

Abstract Apr 01

Actuality and the Idea

Event: 05/11/2012 - 05/13/2012
Abstract: 04/01/2012
Location: Princeton University
Organization: The Theory Reading Group

Keynote Speaker: Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths)

Actuality [die Wirklichkeit] and thought [der Gedanke] – more precisely the Idea – are usually opposed to one another in a trivial way…On the one hand, in all talk of this kind, thought is assumed to be synonymous with subjective representation [subjektiver Vorstellung], planning, intention, and so on; and, on the other hand, actuality is assumed to be synonymous with external, sensible existence [sinnlichen Existenz]. - G. W. F. Hegel § 142 Addition, The Encyclopedia Logic


A renewed interest in communism has turned contemporary thought increasinglytowards theorizing, problematizing, and reconfiguring the fraught relationship between actuality and the idea. Opening the space to connect these two categories also opens the possibility of considering how philosophy, aesthetics, and history are interrelated. Whereas disciplines such as architecture and theater spatialize the conflict, movements like Occupy Wall Street and the events of the Arab Spring carry the tension into the sphere of politics, modifying the underlying framework of democratic processes.

This conference seeks to debate the often-conflicting definitions of actuality and the idea, in their broadest sense. We are particularly interested in thinking about these terms beyond the strict dichotomy between sensible existence and subjective representation. We would also like to consider how historical events shed light on the processes by which ideas are actualized, how an abstract assertion transitions into an action, and how terminologies are mobilized to justify claims about authenticity.

Paper topics might address the issues listed below. We welcome additional thoughts, or papers that fall outside these divisions.

Communities, Politics, and the Political
- Projected communities (Agamben, Derrida, Esposito, Nancy)
- Sovereignty and political theologies (Bodin, Hobbes, Spinoza, Schmitt)
- The Idea and the Event: French Revolution, Haitian Revolution, Russian Revolution, Chinese Cultural Revolution, Cuban Revolution, May 68
- Idea/actuality/inactuality of communism
- Marx and Marxism
- Fanaticism
- Prefigurative politics: autonomy, horizontality, direct democracy

Scripting, Mapping, Imprinting
- Spatializing the idea: architecture, Kantian architectonics, public space
- Performing the idea: theater, musical composition, ekphrasis, representation
- Inscribing the idea: scripting as prototyping, ekphrasis, photography and film
- Mapping the idea: utopias, dystopias, atopias, cartography, topography

Fiction and Reality
- Documentary film, journalism, and testimonio
- Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic compulsions: talking cure, construction, trauma, memoire involuntaire, the trace
- Surveillance: statistics, legal exhibits, eyewitness accounts

Original and Copy
- The virtual
- Simulacra, simulation and spectacle
- Translation

We encourage a range of proposals:

Individual Paper Proposals:
Abstracts for a twenty-minute presentation should be no more than 250 words.

Panel Proposals:
Traditional Panel – A traditional panel should include three to four panelists for an eighty-minute session with twenty minutes dedicated to audience participation. An abstract of no more than 250 words should be submitted, detailing the topic of the panel along with the title of each presentation.
Roundtable – A roundtable panel may consist of up to eight short presentations for an eighty-minute session. An abstract of no more than 250 words detailing the topic of the roundtable should be submitted along with the titles of each presentation.
Workshop – A workshop panel should consist of a participatory discussion led by one or two facilitators for an eighty-minute session. Workshops can also include three to four participants in addition to the facilitators. An abstract of no more than 250 words describing the theme of the workshop should be submitted.

Special Events:
Creative presentations that relate to the theme of the conference, such as poetry readings, films, or performances, are strongly encouraged. An abstract of no more than 250 words should be submitted. Please indicate the estimated duration of the event, as allotted time may vary depending on the proposed project.

The deadline for all submissions is April 1st. Please include your name, email address and phone number. Abstracts should be emailed to actualityandtheidea@gmail.com

We will notify submitters no later than April 11th

Any questions please contact Gavin Arnall at garnall@princeton.edu.

For more information about our theory reading group please visit our website: http://www.princeton.edu/ihum/reading-groups/theory/

Contact Email: actualityandtheidea@gmail.com

Website: http://www.princeton.edu/ihum/reading-groups/theory/