Materialism and World Politics

Materialism and World Politics

20-22 October, 2012
LSE, London, UK

Registration is now open here for anyone who wants to attend.

Scheduled Speakers:

Keynote: The ontology of global politics
William Connolly (Johns Hopkins University)

Opening Panel: What does materialism mean for world politics today?
John Protevi (Louisiana State University)
More TBC

Closing Panel: Agency and structure in a complex world
Colin Wight (University of Sydney)
Erika Cudworth (University of East London)
Stephen Hobden (University of East London)
Diana Coole (Birkbeck, University of London)

ANT/STS Workshop keynote:
Andrew Barry (University of Oxford)

ANT/STS Workshop roundtable:
Iver Neumann (LSE)
Mats Fridlund (University of Gothenburg)
Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)
More TBC


The annual conference for volume 41 of Millennium: Journal of International Studies will take place on 20-22 October, 2012 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This includes 2 days of panels and keynotes on the weekend, and a special Monday workshop on actor-network theory (ANT), science and technology studies (STS), and alternative methodologies. Space for the latter is limited though, so let Millennium know of your interest in attending it as soon as possible.

The theme of this year’s conference is on the topic of materialism in world politics. In contrast to the dominant discourses of neorealism, neoliberalism and constructivism, the materialist position asks critical questions about rational actors, agency in a physical world, the role of affect in decision-making, the biopolitical shaping of bodies, the perils and promises of material technology, the resurgence of historical materialism, and the looming environmental catastrophe. A large number of critical writers in International Relations have been discussing these topics for some time, yet the common materialist basis to them has gone unacknowledged. The purpose of this conference will be to solidify this important shift and to push its critical edges further. Against the disembodied understanding of International Relations put forth by mainstream theories, this conference will recognize the significance of material factors for world politics.

Thinking the Absolute

Thinking the Absolute: Speculation, Philosophy and the End of Religion

June 29th – July 1st 2012

Liverpool Hope University, UK

An international conference of the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion

Registration is open, but the old link has expired with a change in the university’s website. Just go to and click on ‘Events’ for the registration form and conference poster.

Keynotes include: Ray Brassier, Levi Bryant, Iain Hamilton Grant. Unfortunately, Catherine Malabou has had to withdraw, but her place as a keynote will be taken by François Laruelle. Laruelle’s work is becoming more widely known in the English speaking world after a number of recent translations of important works of his, including Philosophies of Difference, trans. Rocco Gangle (Continuum, 2010) and Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy , trans. Anthony Paul Smith (Continuum, 2010). His practice of non-philosophy offers a rigorous, original and subversive path of thought. We are delighted and hugely honoured to be able to welcome him to Hope.

For further information contact Steven Shakespeare ( or Patrice Haynes (

CFP: Ontological Anarché: Beyond Materialism and Idealism

CFP: Ontological Anarché: Beyond Materialism and Idealism
A Special Issue of Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies

Edited by Jason Adams and Duane Rousselle

Radical theory has always been beset by the question of ontology, albeit to varying degrees and under differing conditions. In recent years, in particular, political metaphysics has returned with force: the rise of Deleuze-influenced “new materalism”, along with post-/non-Deleuzean speculative realism and object-oriented ontology, all bear testament to this. In this same period, anarchism has returned as a major influence on social movements and critical scholarship alike. What then, are some of the potential resonances between these currents, particularly given that anarchism has so often been understood/misunderstood as a fundamentally idealist philosophy?

Is it the case, as Marx famously held in The German Ideology and The Poverty of Philosophy, that anarchism fails to account for the full complexity of the ontological? Is there a lack of concern for instance, with the actual circumstances that would make social transformation possible? Is anarchism a theory for which materiality is “distorted in the imagination of the egoist”, inevitably producing a subject “for whom everything occurs in the imagination?” Should “Sancho” (Max Stirner), for instance, have “descended from the realm of speculation into the realm of reality”?

Or is the opposition of materialism and idealism itself a barrier to a higher, more powerful convergence, as recent anarchist/anarchistic thinkers from Hakim Bey to Reiner Schürmann have argued? This special issue of Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies considers these questions in dialogue with new materialism, speculative realism and object-oriented ontology, in order to seek new points of departure. We are interested in papers that open up a space for these and other questions to be pursued.

Papers need not be tied to any particular tradition of thought (i.e., post-anarchism, speculative realism, or the anarchist tradition). We welcome creative, speculative, provocative, and risky para-academic research. If your current research relates to these topics, we encourage you to submit a proposal or a paper. We also welcome multi-media contributions.

Articles may be of varying length, submitted to Jason Adams:, cc to

The deadline for final submission is October 1st, 2012.

Laruelle in London

François Laruelle Public Lecture May 9th, 2012, London

Professor François Laruelle will give a public lecture entitled, ‘Towards a Philosophy Deemed “Contemporary”‘, on May 9th 2012.

This will take place as an evening lecture 6-8pm, on May 9th in Swedenborg Hall, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH. The event is open to members of the public (no reservation required, but do come early to get a seat).

Professor Laruelle has taught at both the University of Paris X and the Collège international de philosophie, and is a Visiting Professor at the London Graduate School, Kingston University, London. He is the author of over twenty books, including Les philosophies de la différence (1986), Principes de la non-philosophie (1996), Le Christ futur (2002), and, most recently, Le Concept de non-photographie and Anti-Badiou (both 2011) – all of which have either just appeared or will soon appear in English translation. A number of essay collections on Laruelle will also appear this year.

This talk is part of the ‘Laruelle in London’ series of workshops and lectures organised each semester by the London Graduate School, Kingston University. The purpose of this series is both to cover the conceptual background to Non-Standard Philosophy and to explore its consequences throughout the arts, sciences, and humanities.

For further information email Professor John Mullarkey:

Matter Matters: The Social Sciences Beyond the Linguistic Turn

Excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at this symposium on 15-16 October, 2012. Also a reminder that the Millennium conference’s call for papers is over in a week. Be sure to submit an abstract soon if you’d like to participate.


Invitation to a Symposium,
Faculty of the Social Sciences, Lund University, October 15-16, 2012

Matter Matters: The Social Sciences Beyond the Linguistic Turn

Keynote speakers
Diana Coole, University of London
Samantha Frost, University of Illinois
Graham Harman, American University in Cairo
Hans Ruin, Södertörn University College
Nick Srnicek, London School of Economics

According to the main mantra of the linguistic turn, sociopolitical reality is linguistically constituted. For all their differences, theoretical orientations such as constructivism, deconstruction, discourse analysis, and conceptual history share the underlying assumption that the study of linguistic entities holds the key to knowledge of the sociopolitical world. Yet there is a growing concern that the linguistic turn has unduly limited the domain of inquiry, and now has exhausted most of its potential. In the ensuing efforts to escape the prison of language, many scholars have been tempted to speak of an ongoing material turn or new materialism within the social sciences, inspired by a similar reorientation within continental philosophy. Yet exactly what is at stake in this reorientation, and what this will imply for the social sciences in more general terms remains unclear. Hence this symposium aims at critically assessing the material turn and its implications for the social sciences, by addressing the following questions:

  • Is it possible to speak of a material turn or new materialism within the social sciences, and to what extent is such a turn cohesive, ontologically as well as epistemologically?
  • What are the main objects of inquiry identified, and how do they differ from those of older forms of materialism?
  • What are the main theoretical challenges posed by the material turn for the social sciences, and how do these affect their relationship to the natural sciences?

The symposium will take place at Lund University and involve leading scholars from the social sciences and humanities. Please contact Jens Bartelson (jens.bartelson[at] for further information.

Registration for ‘Thinking the Absolute’

Registration is now live for the ‘Thinking the Absolute: Philosophy, Speculation and the End of Religion’ conference, June 29 – 1 July, Liverpool Hope University, UK.


Iain Hamilton Grant

Catherine Malabou

Ray Brassier

Levi Bryant

The call for papers remains open until the end of February. For registration form and CFP, visit:

CFP: The Relevance of the Human in Politics

Following on the success of the past Dundee conferences, this year’s looks to be another terrific one.

The Relevance of the Human in Politics, April 27-28, 2012. University of Dundee

Keynote Speakers: Todd May (other keynote to be announced soon)

The Post Graduate philosophy conferences at the University of Dundee have, over the last four years, explored the resurgence of interest in continental metaphysics. This year’s conference will continue to build on this theme, but in an explicitly political direction and explore the role of the human in the contemporary philosophy of politics. With the renewed interest in humanisms of all sorts, we are seeking to address the problematic of the human in politics: are humanistic political philosophies part of a bygone era? What is the potential place for the human, or a robust humanism, in both the academy and the popular sphere? Are the criticisms of post-phenomenological thinkers still relevant in light of recent philosophical interests and world events? To what extent can ‘post-humanist’ philosophies contribute to political desires?

This year, we will take an explicitly political turn by seeking to explore the importance, or unimportance, of the human in politics. Through an examination of the human, the conference will examine one of the overlooked aspects of the subject and subjectivity, a key concern of previous conferences at Dundee, as well as occurring under the unique historical conditions that have seen political uprisings emerge around the globe across various cultural, political, and religious spectrums.

We invite abstracts of up to 500 words for 20 minute presentations on topics generally related to the contemporary importance (or unimportance) of the human in politics.

Suggested topics include (but are by no means constrained to):

  • Humanism and/or anti-humanism in Continental thought: particularly in relation to Badiou, Agamben, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Henry, Hardt/Negri, Zizek, Heidegger, de Beauvoir, Malabou, etc.
  • 21st Century Humanism
  • Humanism and its critics in German Idealism
  • Post-human political theory
  • Resurgence of interest in Sartre and existentialism
  • The role of advanced media in political theory
  • Politics and/or economics after ‘The Arab Spring’
  • Political theory and the ‘Occupy’ Movements
  • Speculative Realism, Object-Oriented-Ontology, and the critique of anthropocentrism
  • The conditions of group action
  • Neuroscience and political philosophy
  • Ontology and Politics
  • Feminism and human identity

Abstracts due by 15 February, 2011. Email to Austin Smidt at or


CFP: Thinking the Absolute

Call for Papers: International Conference of the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion

Thinking the Absolute:

Speculation, Philosophy and the End of Religion


June 29th July 1st 2012 Liverpool Hope University, UK


Keynote Speakers:

Catherine Malabou, Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant and Levi Bryant


‘The contemporary end of metaphysics is an end which, being sceptical, could only be a religious end of metaphysics.’

Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude. An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency (London: Continuum, 2008).


Meillassoux identifies the ‘turn to religion’ in contemporary continental philosophy with a failure of thinking. The Kantian refusal to think the absolute leads to scepticism about reality in itself. Ironically, this lends itself to ‘fideism’, the decision to project religious meaning on to the unknowable beyond. According to Meillassoux, a philosophy obsessed with mystery becomes the accomplice of irrational faith. The solution is to find ways of once more thinking the absolute in its reality, severed from its dependence upon a knowing subject, or upon language and social norms. At the same time, new possibilities for thinking religion (exemplified by Meillassoux’s own Divine Inexistence) are emerging.

This conference invites proposals which critically consider this speculative turn in philosophy and its implications for thinking about religion. To what ‘end’ is speculation leading? Does it simply announce the closure of religion and its subordination to a philosophy of the absolute, nature or the ‘All’? Can it open new lines for a philosophy of religion which is not wedded to the Kantian horizon? Is speculation itself open to Kierkegaardian critique as yet another move to position and reduce ethical and religious claims, sacrificing the future on the altar of abstract possibility? Does renewed attention to the canon of speculative idealism offer a way beyond the impasse between relativism and dogmatism?

The organisers welcome proposals which examine the roots and extensity of recent speculative thinking, and which critically consider its impact – direct and indirect – on philosophy of religion. Relevant thinkers and themes might include Quentin Meillassoux on God and the absolute, Alain Badiou’s ontology, Catherine Malabou on Hegel and plasticity, Francois Laruelle’s ‘future Christ’, Iain Hamilton Grant on Schelling’s Naturphilosophie and the thinking of the All, Ray Brassier’s nihilism, the impact of object-oriented ontologies on theology and metaphysics. However, we are particularly looking for contributions which creatively use or depart from the speculative turn to offer original insights into the nature and content of the field.

Abstracts of 300 words for 20 minute papers to or by end of February 2012.

Submissions for panels are also welcome. The standard format would be a 90 minute session comprising three 20 minute papers, but alternative formats can be discussed. We would require an overall rationale for the panel in addition to individual paper abstracts. You may propose your own moderator, or allow us to assign one.

CFP: The London Conference in Critical Thought

The London Conference in Critical Thought

In collaboration with the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the London Conference in Critical Thought (LCCT) is designed to create a space for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas for scholars who work with “critical” traditions and concerns. We welcome work from the humanities and social sciences, including but not limited to papers drawing upon continental philosophy, critical legal theory, critical geography and the Frankfurt School. The LCCT aims to provide an opportunity for those who frequently find themselves at the margins of their department or discipline to engage with other scholars who share theoretical approaches and interests. Interdisciplinary and inter-institutional, the conference hopes to foster emergent critical thought and provide new avenues for critically orientated scholarship and collaboration.

Scholars working in philosophy, literature, geography, law, art, and politics departments have already proposed panels and/or streams for the conference. These address issues as diverse as animality, sovereignty, human rights, cosmopolitanism, the city, and the relationship between text and space. Through these streams participants are encouraged to engage with a variety of thinkers including Kant, Deleuze, Marx, Lacan, Foucault, Spinoza and Derrida, to name a few.

If you would like to present a paper as part of an existing stream/panel, propose a new stream/panel or contribute to the general stream please see our website for details. The deadline for stream proposals is the 15th of January, 2012, and the deadline for paper proposals is the 19th of February, 2012. The conference will be open for registration as of April 2012 and is free for participants.

The London Conference in Critical Thought, is co-hosted by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities for the inaugural year of 2012.