The participants in the CTW/ATC 2017 include students, faculty and independent researchers from approximately 12 areas of study and 15 different cultural backgrounds. Brief bios are available below.
Vilde Lid Aavitsland is a ph.d. student in philosophy at DePaul University. Her project presented for the CTW/ATC is framed in terms of her Ph.D. proposal entitled “Critical Histories: Benjamin, Arendt, and Foucault,” which explores the necessary relationship between history and critique in the works of these thinkers. For the CTW/ATC her project focuses specifically on developing the concept of critical history in the work of Michel Foucault.
Deborah Achtenberg is currently working on two book projects, one contextualizing Derrida’s thought both philosophically and in the Algerian Jewish cultural context he describes in Monolinguisme and other writings, and the other treating responses, by Levinas, Derrida, Cixous, Memmi and Lévy, to Sartre’s Réflexions sûr la question juive. She lives in Nevada where she is a professor of philosophy at the University of Nevada, Reno, and a regular participant in local activism, most recently in support of No DAPL. She is author of Essential Vulnerabilities: Plato and Levinas on Relations to the Other (Northwestern 2014).
Theodra Bane is a doctoral student in philosophy at Villanova University. Her dissertation project—tentatively titled “Exclusionary Democracy: The [Settler] Colonial Traces in Contemporary Political Thought”—frames decoloniality as a valid and necessary framework for critique within the American socio-political context. Colonial, settler colonial, and imperialist logics and ideologies demand philosophic scrutiny. Before arriving in Paris, Theodra will attend the Hic Rosa collective in Granada, Spain. Her CTW project will be exploring methodological possibilities for this project, as well as preparing for her prospectus and dissertation proposal.
Ashley J. Bohrer is an academic and activist based in Syracuse, New York. She teaches queer theory, marxism, intersectionality, and critical prison studies in the philosophy department at Hamilton College. Since receiving her PhD in philosophy from DePaul University, Ashley has been working on a book manuscript about the relationship between marxism and intersectionality. She is also a committed community activist, who works extensively with the International Women’s Strike US, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, the Global Feminist Anti-Fascist Front, and Jewish Voice for Peace.
Larry Alan Busk is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Oregon. His interests are in political theory and twentieth century Continental philosophy. In his project for the workshop, he will be developing his dissertation on Arendt, Adorno, and contemporary democratic theory, which he is writing under the supervision of Dr. Rocío Zambrana. His work has appeared in Constellations and Southwest Philosophy Review, and will appear in Philosophy Today and Rethinking Marxism.
Andrés Fabián Henao Castro is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research deals with the relationship between ancient and contemporary political theory, via the prisms of de-colonial theory and poststructuralism. His work has appeared in Theatre Survey, Contemporary Political Theory, and Hypatia, and he also publishes a bi-monthly column for the online journal of political analysis Palabras al Margen. His project for CTW 2017, “The Proletarian Nights of the Socially Dead in the Age of the Capitalocene,” constitutes the last chapter of his manuscript, Antigone in the Americas, which explores the racialized logic of value that subtends the distribution of political membership in the reception of Sophocles’ tragedy in contemporary political theory.
Denise Celentano is a PhD candidate in Political Philosophy at the University of Catania and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales of Paris (joint PhD program). Her research focuses on labor justice calling contemporary theories of justice into question, especially the paradigms of distribution and recognition. She holds a MA in Philosophy from the University of Rome «La Sapienza»; in 2016 her dissertation on the concept of class in American analytical marxism has obtained the national prize of Political Theory «Lorella Cedroni». At the Critical Theory Workshop she will focus on the link between status and appropriation of resources engaging in a critical dialogue with different proposals from various contemporary thinkers.
Jane Connell is a psychiatrist in clinical practice in psychoanalysis and holds a PhD in Social Theory. Her project for the Atelier—part of a study of the operations between the imaginary (a propos Sartre not Lacan) of Western philosophy and the wider cultural imaginary—addresses the theoretical instability of Freud’s trope the compulsion to repeat and parallel inconsistencies in its clinical application. Attention to Freud’s gendered praxis and his borrowings from Nietzsche demystifies these tensions and informs a reading of the trope’s subsequent influence—inclusive of Derrida’s designation of the compulsion to repeat as carrying “the most decisive and difficult stakes between . . . ‘psychoanalysis’ and ‘deconstruction.’”
Timothy Deane-Freeman is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. His work focusses on Gilles Deleuze’s two books on film: Cinema I – L’Image-Mouvement, and Cinema II – L’Image Temps, identifying therein a form of ‘cinematic’ or ‘non-human’ thought. His PhD thesis, ‘A Non-Human Eye,’ explores the implications of this cinematic thought in the context of the 21st century, and the dramatic proliferation of networked screen cultures it has seen. His project at the Critical Theory Workshop will be a chapter of this thesis dedicated to the early films of Roberto Rossellini. These films, he argues, traditionally understood as concerned with questions of ethical conduct, human dignity and political power, can now be read, in the context of the 21st century, as fundamentally inhuman meditations on defaced or damaged ecologies, milieu which merely feature or include the human figure.
Mathieu Debic is a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Southern Methodist University and teaches high school English at a private school for students with learning and attention disorders in Dallas. His project for CTW ’17 is a thesis on sociologies and ecologies of attention formation, both in the classroom and out. He hopes to contribute to critical education studies by broadening the scope of the critique of education systems and insisting that pathologies seen in the classroom have broader bases in social, economic, and psychological realities than in atomistic personal weaknesses or deficiencies. Based on the work of Bernard Stiegler, the project’s preliminary title is Attending to Attention.
Carly Dyer is studying for her doctorate in philosophy at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Her project is a critical exploration of routine antenatal care focused on the interplay between informal education, conscientization and the exercise of personal agency in health care settings. Her research sits at the interface between sociology, education, medicine, and public health, and the theoretical framework she is developing for her thesis constitutes a bricolage of key concepts drawn from the Frankfurt School tradition and from the critical education theories of Freire and Giroux. She is looking forward to extending and refining this theoretical lens while attending the Atelier.
Jeanne Etelain is a Ph.D Candidate in French at NYU. She holds a B.A in Humanities and a M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Nanterre. She specializes in French theory, aesthetics, and media studies. At the intersection of philosophy, literature and cinema, her research focuses on the concept of « zone », which she aims to theorize as a new way of perceiving, apprehending, and understanding space. At the Critical Theory Workshop, she will work on a comprehensive reading list in preparation for her dissertation proposal.
Philipa Friedman is a PhD student at Loyola University Chicago. Her main interests lie at the intersection of hermeneutics and both Eastern and Western phenomenology. Her current project is a critique of Habermas’ discourse ethic using Kyoto School thinkers and their contemporaries to demonstrate that meaningful discourse is only relevant and therefore can only take place in a context of difference or inequality.
Stephan Gruber is a master student of philosophy at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. His project is a critical revision of Jacques Ranciére’s “philosophical solution” to the relation of art and politics through the concept of the “aesthetical regime”. He focuses in the shortcomings of that “solution” in understanding the politicity of artistic manifestations such as political propaganda or state sponsored cultural transformation in their own terms. As a second step, the objective is to produce a positive framework of analysis that builds up on Ranciére’s identified faults and makes it possible to think a political dimension of artistic practice that goes beyond the aesthetic regime and reflects the challenges of the present.
Evgenia Ilieva is an assistant professor of politics at Ithaca College. Her main research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of political theory, hermeneutics, continental philosophy, and cross-cultural political thought. Her project for CTW 2017, “Michel Foucault and the Genealogy of Critique,” explores the task of philosophical critique in Foucault’s late lectures on parrhesia and the “care of the self.” The project brings the French thinker into conversation with the work of Jan Patočka, Amy Allen, Nikolas Kompridis, and Robyn Marasco among others.
Eneida Jacobsen holds a doctorate in theology from the school of theology Faculdades EST in São Leopoldo, Brazil. She is a doctoral student and graduate assistant in philosophy at Villanova University, in the United States. Her current areas of study are political philosophy and animal studies. During the workshop, Eneida will be working on an Althusserian Marxist approach to describing honeybees’ modes of honey production as they find themselves inscribed within human modes of economic exchange.
Amanda Kaplan is a PhD student in Sociology at Rutgers University and holds an MA in Humanities and Social Thought (NYU) and a BA in Sociology and Mathematics (Vassar College). At the CTW, Kaplan hopes to make ready for publication the first of two qualifying papers, “Speculative Optics,” a semiological and socio-logical study of “the effaced vulva.” The paper reflects broader interests in the sociology of ideas (specifically, hegemonic social orders, grammars of thinking, and their social implications) and decolonial theory.
Jonathan Liebembuk is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from UPenn. His project for the CTW/ATC is to develop a chapter on the representations of the corpse in contemporary Mexican narcoliterature, for a larger project that tracks the wide array of connections of discursive formulations of sovereign power and the literary/artistic forms that archive and reimagine them.
Sean McMorrow is writing a doctoral dissertation at Monash University. The dissertation addresses the work of Cornelius Castoriadis’s, illustrating an implicit political anthropology that underlies his philosophy of imaginary institution. It proposes that Castoriadis’s work offers a unique perspective on depoliticisation in contemporary societies. The project that will be undertaken at the Critical Theory Workshop will focus on developing a chapter that examines Castoriadis’s conception of technique as an historically instituted mode of anthropogenesis.The project will look at technique as a dimension of social institution that embodies the potential of political power. It will be proposed that depoliticisation is an explicit consequence of techniques that are pursued on the basis of contentious aspirations toward a ‘rational-mastery’ over nature (including our own).
Michelle Medrado is a Social Scientist and PhD student in Brazilian Culture at the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a BA in Social Science from Escola de Sociologia e Política de São Paulo, a specialization in Fashion and Creativity from Faculdade Santa Marcelina and a certificate in Fashion Law from Fordham University. Her research interests are related to Media Ethnography, Brazilian telenovelas, Costume and Fashion Consumption. She is Editor in Chief of Párrafo: Art Culture and Literature magazine, and also design accessories made with technological textile. At the Critical Theory Workshop she will be working on the design and development of the a theoretical framework for her dissertation prospectus, which focuses on “Brazilian telenovelas and African traditional clothing.”
Iaan Reynolds is a PhD student at Villanova University, where his research has concerned early modern philosophy, the philosophy of science, and the relationship between phenomenology and psychoanalysis. Lately, he is interested in thinking about the epistemological foundations of scientific fields, particularly notions of individuation and objectivity in political science. At the workshop, he plans to work on French Marxist readings of Spinoza’s philosophy.
Leonardo Sias is a PhD student in Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton. His work focuses on nihilism, critical theory, and contemporary activist practices, particularly those engaging with advertising and the production of desires in consumer culture. During the workshop, he will start dealing with the various receptions of Nietzsche’s philosophy by the Frankfurt School first and second generation, in view of the elaboration of a critical theory grounded on the concept of nihilism.
Agatha Slupek is a doctoral student in Political Science at the University of Chicago. She works at the intersection of political economy, feminist theory, and social and political thought. Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop, “Le Genre de la Rencontre: Marxism, Feminism, and Contingency”, will be a chapter of her larger dissertation project on second-wave feminism and contemporary political economy. This chapter in particular will focus on the role of contingency in the political thinking of Louis Althusser and Cornelius Castoriadis, considering how these thinkers philosophical frameworks might be fruitfully put into conversation with the critical imaginaries of the feminist second-wave.
Rebecca Starr is an AHRC doctoral candidate in History of Art at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. For the CTW/ATC workshop, she will be developing the first chapter of her thesis which will contextualise Nicolas Bourriaud’s writing on the ‘interstice’ within recent French thought, paying particular attention to Louis Althusser’s writing on ‘lacunae’. This forms part of her wider research which seeks to analyse the social, economic and political contexts of artists working in France in the 1990s.
Fanny Tsang is a PhD student in aesthetic at Paris Nanterre University. Her thesis focus on the collaborative artistic practices in the work of Thomas Hirschhorn. Her doctoral thesis draws on field surveys and theoretical research for insights on forces at play from the conceptual elaboration of such work of art to its reception in the general public and scholars. For the Critical Theory Workshop, she will work on one of Hirschhorn’s most controversial piece, the Gramsci Monument, within the context of the postcolonial studies in North America. The research for this project will form an article and a fragment of her dissertation.
Gregory Wilpert is a German-American sociologist (Ph.D., Brandeis University) and freelance journalist, currently living in Quito, Ecuador. He is the author of Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chávez Government (Verso Books, 2007) and taught political science at the Graduate Center for Worker Education of Brooklyn College for many years. His project for CTW ’17 is to work on his book project, Consciousness for the Commons, which he developed out of his efforts to “radicalize” Habermas and his observation of Venezuela’s problematic efforts to create a socialist alternative.
Jessica Wong is pursuing her study in France in Political Sciences, particularly in the research on terrorism. She holds a master’s degree in International Relations in Australia and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. After obtaining a Master’s degree, she then went back to Hong Kong to participate in the multicultural activities and seminars on refugee issues. The Umbrella movement also serves as an important political event for the thoughts on identity politics, in which that is involving mainland Chinese, Hong Kong citizens including Chinese descent and racial minorities. These activities contribute to her reflection on human rights, identity politics, and the understanding of secularism and multiculturalism. Her research project thus concerns the relationship between religious terrorism, identity politics and multiculturalism, in which she seeks to analyse the homegrown terrorism in France.