Tuomo Alhojärvi is a PhD researcher and educator working at the Geography Research Unit at University of Oulu, Finland. He is also member of the Finnish Solidarity Economy Network and an active contributor in Commons.fi activities. Situated within feminist economic geography and critical spatial theory, Tuomo’s research explores postcapitalism as an index for economic and spatial activism, epistemic queering, and inherited troubles. At the CTW, he’ll concentrate on the problematic of ‘capitalocentrism’ unleashed by feminist economic geographers J.K. Gibson-Graham. Starting from Gibson-Graham’s deconstructive reading of Jacques Derrida’s ‘capitalism’, this work selectively reaffirms Derrida’s spirit in order to trouble, to thicken, and to reclaim the post/capitalist moment. This exploration seeks to enrich and diversify the continuous and situated ethical-political task of postscripting capitalism.
Yara Damaj has recently graduated with a Master of Art in Public Policy and International Affairs from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her thesis aimed at theorizing the Islamic State by conducting a discursive analysis of some of the militant group’s primary sources. Yara has completed her undergraduate studies at AUB as well, studying both, Psychology, and Political Studies. She also minored in Human Rights and Transitional Justice. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she completed exchange program at Sciences Po Paris, the University of Turin, and the George Washington University. Yara has extensive experience working in academic institutions, mainly in research where she was part of research groups studying geopolitics, conflict, and political psychology. Her research interests are mostly rooted in understanding world events through the lenses of critical theory, intellectual history and political economy. Yara recently worked as a research consultant on a project pertaining to health and conflict in the Syrian context. This coming fall, she will be joining the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania as a PhD student in Political Science specializing in Theory and Comparative Politics.
Leandro Martinez Depietri is a MA Candidate in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He works primarily as a writer and curator focusing on the multiple crossings between arts and politics in South American contemporary cultural production. Together with Florencia Battiti, he recently curated in 2017 the exhibition A trail on earth. Echoes of institutional violence in Latin America for BIENALSUR, the International Contemporary Art Biennial of South America. For the Critical Theory Workshop, he will be developing a book project on performing the absurd as a form of resistance and offensive against surveillance technologies in maximum security society. Departing from 2001 exhibition Ctrl + [space]: Rhetorics of Surveillance: From Bentham to BigBrother, held at ZKM, and 2015 exhibition at MoMA, Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, the book dives into those curatorial narratives and expands on them to conceive of the different artistic strategies present in these exhibitions as a basis for imagining a playful modality of citizenship which could defy the quotidian pervasiveness of surveillance.
Andrew Fleshman is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. Within the department of Comparative Literature, he is also pursuing a certificate from the UCLA Experimental Critical Theory Program. He holds an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, where he studied contemporary European and Anglo-American philosophy, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. His project for the CTW blends Gilles Deleuze’s problematic of the actual and the virtual with G.W.F. Hegel’s understanding of recognitive relations in social life to formulate a theory of the dynamic hermeneutics of judicial interpretation in American constitutional law.
John Harfouch is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. His first book, Another Mind-Body Problem, studies the historical development of various racisms by developing a counter-history of the mind-body problem. The book claims the mind-body problem has been poorly understood as a problem that develops along the lines of sex and race in the 17th and 18th centuries, and as a result the problem of racism has gone overlooked in one of philosophy’s “core areas”. He is a co-editor of the Cambridge Foucault Lexicon and has published articles on racism in the philosophical canon as well as anti-Arab racism specifically. Harfouch is also the founder of the Society for Middle Eastern and North African Philosophers, which will hold its inaugural meeting in 2019 in Alabama.
Nathalie Jaques is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand working on the political economy of logistics and insurrectionary thought and practice. She also works as a researcher and the editorial facilitator for the radical left think tank, Economic and Social Research Aotearoa (ESRA). Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop 2018 considers the revolutionary potential and insurrectionary strategy in logistical and circulatory contexts. In particular, the project engages with the concrete challenges of social reproduction in a logistical world and the political and economic tensions in planning any infrastructure of communism that could balance reproductive needs with collective self-determination.
Timour Kamran is a graduate student in the Philosophy Department at Villanova University. His primary research interests are in the history of social and political philosophy; contemporary political theory; historical materialism, especially in the context of studies imperialism and colonialism; and questions around political education and agitation. Timour is also a community organizer for social and economic justice at the Philadelphia Liberation Center/Centro Comunitario Pueblo Libre, where he coordinates a regular political education group and a free homework and standardized test tutoring program for local high school students. During the Critical Theory Workshop, Timour will be writing an article about the future of the anti-war movement.
Katie Bellamy Mitchell is a PhD student pursuing a joint-degree in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of English Literature at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include queer and feminist approaches to phenomenology, concepts of self and world, self-explanation, world change and collapse, and 20thand 21stCentury poetry and poetics. Her poetry and essays have appeared in SixByEight Press, Gulf Coast, and Prodigal. Her project at the Critical Theory workshop centers on the poetics of apology. She is interested in apologies both as affectively high stakes rituals of interaction and as they serve as tools of legal repression, political manipulation, and narrative control both for the singular or collective apologizing and the individuals netted in by these past- and future-oriented “accounts” of self and world.
Muhib Nabulsi graduated last year with an Honours degree in French Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Queensland, Australia. His Honours thesis investigated the contestation of the Pied Noir cultural memory of colonial Algeria in Morvandiau’s graphic novel, D’Algérie. Since graduating he has worked as an English teaching assistant in a French high school and freelance translator. His project for the Critical Theory Workshop is a paper titled “Graphic Narrative and the Aesthetics of Complicity.” Building on his Honours research, this work aims to investigate the inextricability of politics and aesthetics in works that explore complicity.
Audrey Nicolaides is a social and political theorist committed to public facing scholarship and nonprofit education work. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University and an Organizing Fellow at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Her research focuses on nationalism and supranationalism in France, Germany, and the European Union. Other interests include critical theory, history, geography, and aesthetics. As part of the 2018 CTW, she intends to write an article addressing the role critical theory can and should play within the contemporary debate on global governance. She received her MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago and her BFA in visual and critical studies from the School of Visual Arts.
Allonzo Perez (also known as the artist, DJ Kirsten Angel Dust) is a BFA student from Hampshire College. He is currently writing his senior thesis on extinction and the end of the world in contemporary philosophy and cinema. His next project will be featured in Poetry at the End of the World, forthcoming from Moria Books.
Brendan Rome is an MA student at the University of New Mexico. His project for CTW/ATC is “Theoretical Practice and the Politics of the Visible in Althusser, Debord, and Badiou.” For this project he will examine the role of theoretical practice in French Marxism as both a positive and negative epistemic process that not only dispels the false appearances of ideology, but also maps potential creative and revolutionary possibilities in society.
Pierre Schwarzer is currently a graduate student at the New School for Social Research. After obtaining his MA, he worked as a curator in Berlin, artistically researching modalities of medial distribution and their cultural impact with his collective. The latest project (http://warehouse.industries) dove into an ethnography of the digital via contemporary art and theory, intersecting closely with his thesis project of theorising subjectivity in a digital age, via analyses of art and popular culture infused by phenomenology, psychoanalysis and various philosophical theories of the subject, working genealogically towards an exploration of the tensions, variations and challenges of an ever more interconnected digital subjectivation, limiting and creating at once, the potential of a new politics.
Rovel Sequeira is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also pursuing a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. His research interests include Queer theory and the Medical Humanities, Critical Race theory, the histories of Modernism and Modernization, Postcolonial Literatures, and Global Anglophone Studies. He is currently completing his dissertation on the relationship between the history of colonization and the trajectories of sexual modernity in India. For the CTW he is working on a project thinking together the inter-connections between activist self-fashioning, communitarian belonging, and generic forms like the autobiography and the bildungsroman.
Anh-Dao Tran is a post-doc fellow at the Educational Research Institute at the University of Iceland. Her present research project is Icelandic-born students of immigrant background: Success and challenges in social and academic attainment (2016-2018) has the overarching aim of gaining knowledge about Icelandic-born immigrant students’ academic and social success and challenges. During the CT Workshop 2018, she and Brynja E. Halldórsdóttir will work to critically explorethe ways Icelandic as a language has been usedas a tool to exert social, cultural and economic power in education for immigrant students. The discourse around Icelandic constructs a barrier between “us,” the people who speak the language as a heritage language, and “them,” those who do not speak the language perfectly. Thiseffectively encapsulates the “nationals” and excludes the “foreigners.”
Shannon Walsh is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Auckland and research facilitator for the radical left think tank Economic and Social Research Aotearoa. His research focuses on critical theory and political economy. His current research engages in a critical analysis of the concept of ‘innovation’ in economics, organisation, politics and art and considers what it means to create something new today. In particular the project stages a confrontation between contemporary theories of innovation where perpetual newness figures as a banal fact of life under late capitalism, and philosophical theories of novelty and rupture, where innovation is rare and radically disruptive to the status quo.
Yue Jennifer Wang is a PhD student in the philosophy department at Villanova University. She studies the phenomenology of art, especially music, and psychoanalysis, with an emphasis on the Kleinian and Lacanian traditions. She is also interested in Patristic theology and medieval Christian mysticism. Jennifer is currently working on interrogating pre-subjective conditions of experience.