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Call for Papers: The Critique of Violence from the 1920s to the 2020s

March 22 @ 8:00 am - April 15 @ 5:00 pm

Toward the Critique of Violence - cover

The Department of German, the Program in Comparative Literary Studies, and the Critical Theory Program at Northwestern University invite graduate students and early career researchers to participate in a colloquium in response to the publication of the new translation and critical edition of Walter Benjamin’s 1921 essay, “Zur Kritik der Gewalt” (Toward the Critique of Violence) recently published by Stanford University Press. The colloquium welcomes explorations on any topic related to Benjamin’s essay or the additional writings gathered in the volume—those by Benjamin and as well as those by Hermann Cohen, Kurt Hiller, Erich Unger, Georges Sorel, and Emil Lederer. In addition to giving brief accounts of how the new edition of “Toward the Critique of Violence” changes our understanding of Benjamin’s contribution to political theory, the two editors of the volume, Peter Fenves and Julia Ng, will respond to the presentations.

The colloquium will take place on May 23, 2022 at Northwestern University. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (approx. 250 words) for a 15-minute presentation to Jörg Kreienbrock (j-kreienbrock@northwestern.edu) by April 10th. All participants will receive a copy of Toward the Critique of Violence: A Critical Edition in preparation for their presentation and a modest honorarium. Participants will be responsible for their own accommodation and travel expenses. As noted above, the range of topics is entirely open; but it is expected that some of the presentations will be concerned with the political, cultural, and philosophical conditions of the 1920s in and beyond the European circumstances that come under discussion in Benjamin’s essay, while other presentations will be more concerned with present situations; still others may be directed far afield from both the 1920s and the 2020s as well as the European focus through which Benjamin explicitly frames his analysis and implicitly punctures as well. The texts collected into Toward the Critique of Violence intersect with a wide variety of humanistic and social-scientific disciplines, and the colloquium welcomes proposals that reflect the breadth of Benjamin’s essay and its associated writings.

We will aim to notify participants of their acceptance by April 15th.

Send your submissions to: j-kreienbrock@northwestern.edu

For further information, please contact: p-fenves@northwestern.edu


March 22 @ 8:00 am
April 15 @ 5:00 pm