The Anarchist Turn, NYC, May 5-6, 2011


The Anarchist Turn
May 5th-6th, 2011

Philosophy Department, The New School for Social Research
The Hannah Arendt and Reiner Schürmann Symposium in Political Philosophy
Theresa Lang Center | 55 W. 13th St. | Mezzanine Level

For a long time, the word “anarchist” has been used as an insult. This is because, at least since Thomas Hobbes, the concept of anarchy has been extended from its etymological meaning (absence of centralized government) to that of pure disorder - the idea being that, without a sovereign state, the life of individuals can only be brutish, miserable, and chaotic. This move was certainly functional to the ideological justification of modern sovereign states, but not to an understanding of what anarchy might be.

In the last decade, this caricature of anarchy has begun to crack. Globalization and the social movements it spawned seem to have proved what anarchists have long been advocating: an anarchical order is not just desirable, but also feasible. This has led to a revitalized interest in the subterranean anarchist tradition and its understanding of anarchy as collective self-organization without centralized authority. But the ban on “anarchism” has not yet been lifted.

The aim of this conference is to argue for an “anarchist turn” in political philosophy. We want to discuss the anarchist hypothesis with specific reference to the philosophical tradition in its many historical and geographical variants, but also in relation to other disciplines like politics, anthropology, economics, history and sociology. By bringing together academics and activists, past and present, this conference will assess the nature and effectiveness of anarchist politics in our times.

Speakers: Miguel Abensour (Paris VII), Cinzia Arruzza (New School), Banu Bargu (New School), Chiara Bottici (New School), Judith Butler (UC Berkeley), Laura Corradi (Calabria), Stephen Duncombe (NYU), Todd May (Clemson), Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths), Mitchell Verter (New School), Stephanie Wakefield (CUNY), as well as writers such as Andrej Grubačić , Cindy Milstein, Ben Morea from Black Mask and the alleged authors of The Coming Insurrection.

Thursday, May 5th:

11:15am-11:30am Opening remarks by Simon Critchley

11:30am-1:00pm Black and Red: The Freedom of Equals, Chiara Bottici

1:15pm-3:00pm Anarchism and Feminism, Mitchell Verter, Cinzia Arruzza, Laura Corradi

4:00pm-5:30pm The Politics of Commensality, Banu Bargu

5:45pm-7:15pm Queer Anarchism and Anarchists Against the Wall, Judith Butler

8:00pm-9:30pm A conversation with Ben Morea of Black Mask

Friday, May 6th:

10:00am-11:30am Friendship as Resistance, Todd May

11:45am-1:15pm The Anarchist Moment, Andrej Grubačić, Cindy Milstein

2:15pm-4:00pm Geographies of Anarchy, Stephanie Wakefield, Steven Duncombe, Alberto Toscano

4:15pm-5:45pm Spinoza on Voluntary Servitude¸ Miguel Abensour

6:15pm-8:00pm Spread Anarchy, Live Communism, The Alleged Authors of The Coming Insurrection