Shoshana Adler is a PhD candidate in the department of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include the intellectual history of late medieval literature, queer theory and phenomenology, cultural histories of racialization and Jewish and Christian exegesis. Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop focuses on theories of somatic cohesion and the production of race as borders in the popular travel literature of fourteenth century England and France. This work in progress is a chapter from her dissertation, titled “Recognitions in ffleshe: Race and Phenomenology in Late Medieval France and England,” which attempts to redescribe the racializing techne at play in late medieval literature.
Antoine Athanassiadis is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy and Irish Research Council Scholar at University College Dublin, working in the philosophical tradition of 20th Century critical social theory. The doctoral project he conducts at UCD seeks to re-interpret and defend the practical philosophy of T.W. Adorno. His latest research in this direction draws on Marxian and Hegelian philosophies as well as on Object-Relations Theory in Psychoanalysis in order to re-interpret the anthropological foundations of T. W. Adorno’s and M. Horkheimer’s critique of instrumental reason. In Paris, Antoine will carry out further research on these topics with a view to deriving consequences for Adorno’s practical philosophy and for critical social theory as a whole.
Samantha Bankston is a visiting assistant professor of philosophy at Babson College in the Boston area. She specializes in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, notably the ontology of Gilles Deleuze. Samantha is the author of Deleuze and Becoming (Bloomsbury, 2017), and she is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Deleuze and Žižek(Palgrave Macmillan). She translated Anne Sauvagnargues’ book, Deleuze and Art (Bloomsbury/Continuum, 2013, 2017), as well as the work of other renowned philosophers, such as Gilles Deleuze, Frédéric Gros, and Salvo Vaccaro for the University of Minnesota Press, the University of Chicago Press, Lexington Books, among others. Her philosophical writings can be found in a variety of anthologies, including Simone de Beauvoir–A Humanist Thinker (Brill, 2015), Deleuze and the Passions (Punctum Books, 2016), as well as at the International Journal for Žižek Studies (2016). Dr. Bankston is a part of “The Seminars of Twentieth-Century French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze” translation team, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), under the direction of Purdue University Professor Daniel W. Smith, which makes available online previously unpublished, audio-recorded seminars that Deleuze gave at the University of Paris-VIII from 1979-1987.
Spencer Beswick is a history PhD student at Cornell University working on the international history of American anarchism. His research explores the development of various currents of anarchist thought and practice in the late 20th century, from anarcho-primitivism to the infoshop movement, with an emphasis on international networks and influences. He is active with Food Not Bombs and the Antidote Infoshop in Ithaca.
Erik Brownrigg is a PhD student in Social and Political Thought (SPT) at York University, Toronto. He holds an MA in SPT, where he worked with Dr. Jim Vernon on Derrida and ethics. He is also currently pursuing a graduate diploma in German and European Studies through the Politics department at York U. His research interests include German Idealism, phenomenology, contemporary French thought, aesthetics, critical theory, and surveillance studies. His undergraduate research with Dr. David Lyon at Queen’s University focused on the sociological study of surveillance, specifically, identification cards and identification practices as surveillance. More recently, Erik’s work has focused on questions on ethics, language, and subjectivity in continental philosophy. His latest research focused on: 1) becoming and subjectivity in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, 2) the affirmative ethical role of ‘ignorance’ as knowledge’s Other in Kant and Fichte, and, 3) Nature, the elemental, and willing in Schelling and Levinas. At the CTW, Erik will be working on a paper concerning ‘ways of reading’ and ‘responsibility’, where he hopes to bridge his interest in surveillance with his more recent research on continental philosophy. Specifically, by way of Derrida’s neologism the ‘trace’, he will consider how ‘human flourishing’ and ‘responsibility’ be contextualized in an era of big data, of surveillance capitalism, as an ethics of surveillance, a politics of interiority.
Luiza Duarte Caetano is a PhD student of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. She is interested in Translation Theory and French literature of the period of the French Revolution (1789-1815). Her research aims at exploring the dynamics of fragmentation and unity that happen in encounters with the foreign, in literature and language, and how the possibility for dialogue is affected by the negotiation of the meanings of otherness, especially in moments of political crises. She received her M.A. in Literary Theory, from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Brazil, in 2018. There, her work focused on the oeuvre of Germaine de Staël (1766-1817), and its intersections with Feminist Theory and German Romanticism’s writings on translation.
Mara Cayarga is an undergraduate student at The University of New Mexico working on her BA in Philosophy and Political Science. She recently completed her honors thesis in philosophy, which utilized a comparative analysis of Karl Marx, Louis Althusser, and Slavoj Žižek in order to reconfigure Marx’s theory of ideology and investigate the relationship between the libidinal economy and the political economy. At the CTW/ATC, she intends to develop a materialist intersectional feminist critique of Classical Marxist theory via an analysis of their common material basis—capital and patriarchy—and to integrate a phenomenological account of racial and gendered embodiment.
Rommel A. Curaming is Assistant Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Brunei Darussalam. He completed PhD in Southeast Asian Studies at the Australian National University (ANU). His forthcoming book Power and Knowledge in Southeast Asia (Routledge 2019) examines the state-scholar relations evident in two official history writing projects in Indonesia and the Philippines to rethink the liberal assumption of the oppositional ties between scholarship and politics. For CTW, I intend to work on an introduction to a book project that seeks to extend the argument of the abovementioned book. The second book aims to demonstrate the different ways the analytical is simultaneously political. As established scholarly practices conceals such political nature, the very idea of radical or progressive scholarship has been rendered an oxymoron. To realize the truly progressive vision of radical scholarship, there is a need to expose the deeply political nature of analysis and one way to do it is push the logic of power/knowledge to its conclusion.
Katarina Elvén is an independent artist and educator based in photography. She holds a master’s degree in photography from Valand Academy of Fine Arts at Gothenburg University. Her artistic practice is concerned with the production, the dissemination – the actual system of visual representations. At the CTW she will investigate alternative ways of doing, speaking and framing a photographic practice. The purpose of the research is to reevaluate the established hierarchy between the photographer and the camera, by looking at photographic ”documentation” done by conceptual artists and re-examining the photographic exercises at the Bauhaus school, in order to find a new language and vocabulary within a photographic practice.
Pedro Ferreira is an artist, singer and composer, as well as an advanced undergraduate student in Social Sciences (Getulio Vargas’ Foundation – FGV/RJ) and Musical Composition (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ) with major studies in Artistic Movements and their roles in social/political changes. At the CTW, he will concentrate on deconstructing the Brazilian Modernist Movement through Postcolonial and Decolonial lens, understanding, mainly, the two ramifications of the movement (Nationalists and Anthropophagics).
Irene Han received her doctoral degree at UCLA in Classics and specializes in ancient political theory. Her dissertation, One Hundred and One Nights: Plato and the Metaphysical Feminine, examines the role of the female body and the feminine principle in the utopian framework in Plato’s political dialogues, the Republic, Laws, and Timaeus, and uses Deleuze’s Cinema 1 and Cinema 2 as a model with which to read the ancient texts. She has also written on Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the “The Anatomy of Woman,” which looks at the Perseus/Medusa episode through a Lacanian/Žižekian lens, forthcoming in Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica. Her current project is on Sappho’s fragments and is interested in putting ancient lyric in dialogue with the feminist thought of Wittig.
Lorenz Hegel is a Ph.D. student in the joint program of Film & Media and German Studies at Yale University, after having studied philosophy and literature in Hildesheim, Paris, and Berlin. As part of a larger project mapping possible and impossible (re)configurations of ideology critique, Lorenz is currently thinking about the interrelation of ideology with bodies and images, specifically with regard to the history of materialism, and the aesthetics and politics of early cinema movements and global counter-cinemas since their emergence in the 1960s. Against this backdrop, he seeks to address questions of the materiality and hapticality of images (Lucretius, Riegl, Eisenstein), embodied perception and spectatorship (Barthes, Deleuze, Marks) as well as the material conditions of image production as such: body, labor, technology. Works by Pasolini, Straub-Huillet, Rocha, Ghatak, Duras, Gerima or Farocki will serve as examples for committed artistic responses.
Gustavo Hessmann Dalaqua is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of São Paulo (USP) and a fellow of São Paulo Research Foundation. In 2016 and 2017, he was awarded a Fapesp grant to study as a visiting scholar, under the supervision of Prof. Nadia Urbinati, in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University and in 2018 was approved to work, under the supervision of Prof. Alberto de Barros, as a PAE teaching assistant in the Department of Philosophy at USP. Dalaqua holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degreesin Philosophy from the Federal University of Paraná. In addition to book chapters, he has published one book and articles in scholarly journals such as Brazilian Political Science Review, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Constellations, Critical Review, and others. Through a critical engagement with the political theories of Augusto Boal, Amílcar Cabral, and Paulo Freire, Dalaqua’s project for the CTW seeks (i) to advance the concept of aesthetic injustice; (ii) to underscore the mutual influence between aesthetic injustice, epistemic injustice, and colonial mentality; (iii) to explain how aesthetic and epistemic injustice curtails democratic freedom.
Travis Holloway is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Farmingdale, and a poet with an M.F.A. from New York University. His CTW project and current book manuscript studies recent attempts to perform democracy in public space as a response to the depoliticization and financialization of everyday life. His research shows that this performative and aesthetic dimension of democracy was key to the development of concrete egalitarian practices in fifth-century Athenian theater. Meanwhile, philosophers like Plato and Aristotle responded to these practices with theories of hierarchy and exclusion and a curious hatred of certain kinds of theater. Instead of prescribing “norms” for contemporary political life, this project uses a genealogical or historical method to identify early performative tactics or procedures that were later labeled “democratic.” These procedures redistributed wealth to the masses, prevented a government of experts, and discouraged the notion of a pure civic identity.
Hamza Muhammad Iqbal is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) with interests in Urdu Poetics, Aesthetics, Critical Theory, and World Literature. He holds MA degrees from University of St. Andrews and UT Austin and has also studied at Sciences Po, The New School, and the University of Tokyo. During the summer of 2019, he’ll be working on his dissertation prospectus which will be on the art and reception of the contemporary South Asian Marxist poet Jaun Elia.
Lin Juntao is currently a first-year Ph.D. student in modern and contemporary Chinese literature, with an emphasis on critical theory at Peking University, China. His academic interests include socialist culture, Marxist aesthetics, critical cosmopolitanism, post-colonialism and Sinophone cinemas. His current project engages in the relation between the intellectual discourse of “world” and cultural politics in the post-Mao era. The project attempts to rethink the fundamental problem of the imagination of sovereignty and world order engaging with globalization, postcolonialism, democracy, and human rights in the reforming era by studying some significant cases of literary works, films, and political discourses. He is working on an article analyzing the theoretical representation of space and time in a film by Jia Zhangke.
Hannah LeClair is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a B.A. from Bard College. Her work on literature in French and English focuses on genre and reception, with particular attention to prose poetry, autobiography, writer’s notebooks, and other examples of generic hybridity. This summer, Hannah’s project centers around the notebooks of poet Philippe Jaccottet. Her research on twentieth-century French poetry and the quotidian engages Henri Lefebvre’s Marxist critique of everyday life alongside writings by Jaccottet and his contemporaries in order to investigate the political stakes of a poetics that situates its pursuit of the lyrical firmly within the realm of the ordinary.
Dana Liljegren is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her specializations and topics of interest include West African art, global contemporary art, postcolonial theory, environmentalism, and film studies. Her dissertation examines the repurposing of trash in contemporary Senegalese art and pays special attention to materiality and the circulation of objects under conditions of postcolonialism. She holds degrees in art history from Brown University, Columbia University, and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is a 2019 researcher-in-residence at RAW Material Company: Center for Art, Knowledge and Society in Dakar.
Ziyuan Lin is an undergraduate student at Villanova University working on his BA in Philosophy and Asian Studies. He studies Logic and Critical thinking and focuses on analyzing the power of social media and advertisements. At the CTW, he will explore the influence of the Beat Generation in Asia, especially China and Japan. The research will emphasizes how people’s thoughts reflected in songs, books, and other arts in that period. Moreover, the research is supposed to analyze the historical factors, political issues, and the influence of culture.
Usdin L. Martínez is a political theorist and PhD student in the Political Science department at Northwestern University. His research focuses in conceptualizations of radical democracy in French philosophy and contemporary Latin American political thought. Other interests include biopolitics and global south critical theory. This summer he’ll be writing an article concerning temporality and the concept of the people, which entails a critique of liberal democratic theory and provides another framework for understanding popular mobilization and practices of institutionalization. Before joining Northwestern, Usdin received a Maîtrise degree in Political Philosophy from Paris-Diderot University and a B.A in Political Science and Economics from Los Andes University.
Michelle-Mi Medrado is a Social Scientist and PhD student in Luso-Brazilian Cultural Studiesat 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, it is her second time attending the Atelier de Théorie Critique. Medrado research interests are related to Brazilian Media and Fashion industry in Angola. She was the editor-in-chief of the Párrafo: Art Culture and Literature magazine, whose last issue OnScreen(featured some Critical Theory Workshop 2017 edition’s attendees). Michelle is a founder member of Collective for Democracy in Brazil-Los Angeles composed by Brazilian academics, artists, activists and allies concerned about the state of democracy in Brazil. At the Critical Theory Workshop she will be working on the ethnographic multi-sided data collected in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Luanda (Angola) conducted in 2018. While in Paris, she will also be doing an archival research on Michel Gillet and taking French classes.
Nojan Komeyli started a BA degree in philosophy at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran, which was later continued at Eugene Lang College The New School of Liberal Arts in New York, USA. Nojan’s current research project is concerned with the philosophical origins of the recurrent gap between theory and practice, which in the case of anti-capitalist currents of thought and forms of life should be taken as the moments of praxial failure. Nojan’s desired project for CTW 2019 is in continuation to their BA dissertation, entitled “Friendship as Collective Subjectivity”, which aims at the reconstruction of the practice of “perfect friendship”, in light of Aristotle’s and Montaigne’s doctrinal contribution to the issue, as the shaping of a collective subjectivity, hinging upon the friends’ mutual desire for equalisation through the practical sharing of their selves, as opposed to the exchange-based conception of equality that essentially involves a dividing individuation. In Paris, they intend to argue for a political economy of friendship as such and its dialectical antagonism with capitalist mode of production par the essential supersession of commodifying extraction of exchange-value therein. Other academic research interests of Nojan’s include the development of Aristotelian physics and metaphysics through the peripatetic strand of so-called Islamic Philosophy, with a concentration on the concept of “prime mover”, as well as the reception of modern and then contemporaneous European thought in the 19th and early-20th centuries Iran.
Katherine Payne is a PhD student in comparative literature at CUNY Graduate Center. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from Columbia University. She is the co-translator of Power of Gentleness: Meditations on the Risk of Living by Anne Dufourmantelle. In addition to teaching writing and literature in New York City colleges, Katherine also leads free creative writing workshops. She will be studying documentary poetry and the documentary influence within contemporary writing.
Rocío Pichon-Rivière is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside. She holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and Culture from New York University and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires. Her book manuscript “The Skin of Politics: Latin American Phenomenologies on the Production of Difference” historicizes a genealogy of contemporary trans and non-trans women thinkers from Latin America who shared an interest in the skin as a metaphor to ground a theory of political subjectivity in the intimacy of social practices. Her audio-visual research on the intellectual scene of contemporary trans thinkers and artists in Argentina evolved into a documentary that is now in post-production. Her current interests include transnational queer theory, graphic novels and narratives, digital archives of oral history, feminist queer movements in the Global South, and creative writing pedagogy. At the 2019 CTW/ATC, she will write a book proposal on the intellectual work of Bolivian union leader and oral thinker Domitila Barrios as a precursor of contemporary Bolivian feminismo descolonial.
Michael Portal is a PhD student at Texas A&M University (USA). He completed his MA at the American College of the Mediterranean (FRA) and his BA at Rice University (USA). He is an assistant editor for Arendt Studies: A Journal for Research on the Life, Work, and Legacy of Hannah Arendt. He primarily studies post-Kantian continental philosophy and Jewish philosophy, with particular emphasis placed on phenomenology and hermeneutics. His research concerns the intersection of memory, history, and the transmission of meaning over time. His project for the Critical Theory Workshop will center on Jacques Derrida’s study of monolingualism and the possibility of post- or anti-colonial meaning. This issue is central to Derrida’s work, particularly in his realization that, “I have only one language; it is not mine.” Continuing contemporary work on Derrida’s recently uncovered Geschlecht III, Michael’s project aims to repurpose this realization for an alternative question: “Do I only have one history that is not my own?”
Jacob G. Ring is pursuing dual BA degrees at the University of New Mexico in Philosophy, English Literature, and Psychology with a designation in Interdisciplinary Studies. He intends to write his philosophy senior thesis on the relationship between Lacanian Psychoanalytic theory and German Idealism and his English senior thesis on Samuel Beckett’s prose. His project for the CTW/ATC is titled “The Psycho-Political Aporia of Democratic Liberalism: The Crisis of Humanitarian Responses to Global Immigration Crises.” Specifically, he will investigate, through a refined Psychoanalytic-Marxist scope, how policy focused, humanitarian solutions not only fail to address current immigration crises but often covet their own downfall.
Wayne Wapeemukwa Robinson is a Métis-Canadian filmmaker and philosopher from Vancouver, Canada (un-ceded Coast-Salish Territories). He is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University. His interests include: Indigenous challenges to Critical Theory, Marxism, and Psychoanalysis. His award winning short films have screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Portland International Film Festival, and Smithsonian Museum for the American Indian, amongst many others. His debut feature film, Luk’Luk’I, world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2017 to provocative acclaim and was honoured with the prestigious Best Canadian First Feature Prize and the Directors Guild of Canada Discovery Prize for Best New Director. Wayne is currently in development on his sophomore feature, Transit of Venus.
Ralph Shain teaches philosophy at Missouri State University in the United States. His research covers many topics, including Philosophy of Time, Derrida, Wittgenstein, Western Philosophy and Native America, Heidegger, and Social Theory. His published papers in the latter area are “Benjamin and Collecting” (Rethinking History, 2016), “Is Recognition a Zero-Sum Game?” Telos, 2008), and “High/Low and Discourse of ‘Anti'” (Telos, 2005). This summer he’ll be working on a paper concerning the lessons for the critique of the institution of academic philosophy which should be drawn from the rejection of Benjamin’s Habilitation.
Claryn Spies is an artist, activist, and academic whose research interests fall broadly under the umbrellas of post-structuralism, aesthetics, and politics. Claryn holds a B.A. in Political Studies and Philosophy from Bard College and an M.A. from Binghamton University’s Program in Social, Political, Ethical and Legal Philosophy, and is currently a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at Villanova University in Philadelphia. Claryn’s recent work explores the potential for radical social movements and their tactics to be aesthetico-politically transformative, inviting new ways of imagining and participating in politics.
Alejo Stark is currently a PhD student in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. He also finished his PhD at the University of Michigan in astronomy and astrophysics with a dissertation titled: Galaxies, Cosmology, and Gravitation: On Escaping Galaxy Clusters in Accelerating Universes. In general, he is interested in thinking the relation between physics, philosophy and politics. During the 2019 Critical Theory Workshop he will be experimenting with a project that investigates the relation between the Einstein-Bergson debate on the nature of time and the revolutionary politics and conception of historical time of Latin American marxist José Carlos Mariátegui. He is also the graduate student coordinator of the marxisms collective at the University of Michigan.
Inni Youh is a PhD student studying political theory in the Government Department at Cornell University. My research focuses on a dimension of politics often neglected in the study of protests. While there is a rich literature on the aesthetics of “performativity” and “staging,” underexplored are questions of receptivity and audience. In my dissertation, I look at how receptivity is not a passive condition, but rather an important activity of democratic citizenship that has ramifications beyond the moment of rupture. During the Workshop this summer, I will be working on a chapter that thinks with and against Rancière to theorize the common that emerges out of showing and seeing anew. Building on Rancière’s own account of spectatorship, emancipation, and distance, I provide an account of the common that is not reducible to consensus.
Shimin Zhang is an MPhil candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests revolve around the popular culture of China in its reform and opening period. For the critical theory workshop, she will develop her MPhil degree research which examines how the narrative of “reform era” impacts the representation of Shenzhen, the powerhouse of China’s economic boom, before the reform era and ahead of the reform era. A constructed past and imagined future sandwich the present state of “reform era” as a “state of exception.” With a close reading of several literary works, she will discuss how the working class in Shenzhen rebuilds the conception of time upon physical sensation and the possibility of reconstructing a cultural or even political subjectivity in the reforming China.
Baxolele Zono is a PhD candidate at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa. His research project critically looks at the political imagination of a township after apartheid focusing in particular on Delft South township which is located in Cape Town. For his research, he is very much interested on recent studies on anthropology of infrastructure in reading the post-apartheid township, questions of infrastructural violence, relationship between postapartheid and postcolonialism, including questions on political imagination, governmentality and everyday life. He is also interested in Decolonial and Global South Critical Theory, world literature and studies on jazz.