Sep 15

Autumn 2015 Schedule

STW Fall 15 poster

Aug 15

Call for Papers — Social Theory Workshop 2015-16

The Social Theory Workshop is pleased to announce its 2015-16 Call for Papers

Funded by the Council on Advanced Studies at the University of Chicago, the Social Theory Workshop provides a forum primarily for MA and PhD students (although post-docs and faculty are also regular participants) to present their works-in-progress and to engage with others also interested in social theory in a collegial yet intellectually rigorous casual setting. Our workshop is interdisciplinary with past participants coming from the humanities, anthropology, history, sociology, and political science, and their work represents a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods.

We are currently accepting workshop paper proposals for 2015-16 with a priority for those interested in presenting during Autumn Quarter (October through December) although those interested in presenting during the Winter and Spring will also be considered. Please send a short abstract or brief description along with a tentative title of your paper to Arzuaga {at) uchicago {period) edu by Friday September 4. If your proposal is accepted, your paper will be due one week prior to your specific workshop date. We ask that papers take the form of unfinished and/or unpublished works-in-progress. Forms of typical workshop papers include dissertation chapters, drafts of journal articles or book chapters, MA theses, and dissertation proposals.

In past years, our conversations at the workshop have addressed topics that include:

— the relation between social and cultural transformations;
— the politics of work and time;
— feminism and contemporary capitalism;
— the changing nature of global finance and financial crisis;
— mass unemployment and the automation of production;
— varieties of historical and contemporary religious, nationalist, and socialist political and social movements;
— contemporary trends in global immigration;
— social theories of race and ethnicity;
— the relation between colonialism and the global expansion of capital,
— and, conceptual issues posed by neoliberalism.

The workshop will be scheduled from 6-8pm on alternate Thursdays at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) (Wilder House, 5811 S Kenwood Ave) with light food and refreshments. Papers are distributed in advance via our mailing list. To subscribe, visit https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/social-theory-workshop

Mar 15

Spring 2015 Schedule

May 7:

Originating the Derivative
Ed LiPuma
Professor of Anthropology, University of Miami

May 21:

“Individuality as domination and emancipation in Marx’s mature critical theory”
Fabian Arzuaga
PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science,
University of Chicago

May 14:

“Proto-Colonialism and the Great Divergence: Culture, Markets and Coercion”
Ralph A. Austen
Professor Emeritus of African History
University of Chicago

May 25 (Annual BBQ, 4pm):

 “Charles Dickens, Between Literature and Social Criticism”
Ben Schacht
PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature
Northwestern University

June 4:   

“Integration or Exception? The Ethics of Immigration During Times of Crisis”
Lisa M. Simeone
PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
University of Chicago

Mar 15

Next workshop, March 12

Please join us for our last Social Theory Workshop of the winter quarter this Thursday March 12 at 7pm at Wilder House (please note the later time)

“Implosion/Explosion in Early 20th Century Germany
Industrial Location Theory, Geopolitics and the Spatial Dynamics of Capitalism”

Parker D. Everett
Ph.D., Department of History 2012
The University of Chicago
All papers are distributed in advance of the workshops via the Social Theory Workshop list serv. To join this list serv go to: lists.uchicago.edu and search for “Social Theory”

Feb 15

Next workshop March 5

Please join us Thursday, March 5 at 6pm at Wilder House (5811 S. Kenwood Ave.) for the following paper and discussion at the Social Theory Workshop:

“Production and Dehumanization: Günther Anders and the Critique of Industrialization”

Jason Dawsey
Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern History
University of Southern Mississippi

All papers will be distributed in advance of the workshops via the Social Theory Workshop list serv. To join this list serv go to: lists.uchicago.edu and search for “Social Theory”

Feb 15

Next Workshop, Feb 19

Please join us Thursday, Feb 19 at 6pm at Wilder House (5811 S. Kenwood Ave.) for the following paper and discussion at the Social Theory Workshop:

“The Fetishism of Securities and the Capitalist Mode of Prediction”
Ivan Ascher (Political Science, UW-Milwaukee)

All papers will be distributed in advance of the workshops via the Social Theory Workshop list serv. To join this list serv go to: lists.uchicago.edu and search for “Social Theory

Jan 15

CFP, Critique of Work conference

Never Work  – Cardiff University Conference –July 10th  – Call for Papers

“A corpse rules society – the corpse of labour.” – Manifesto Against Work, Krisis-Group

Since the 1970s modern societies have been increasingly faced with social issues caused by a reliance on a form of life that technological development is making redundant: work. Competition drives companies to eject human beings from the labour process even while it relies on those people as consumers and producers of value. Equally, more human beings than ever before depend upon the capitalist production process for their survival, yet at this historical juncture it appears no longer to have need of them. It is this contradiction that some contemporary social critics have diagnosed as the basis of a crisis of civilisation through which we are currently living. The symptoms of this crisis are manifold and, one can argue, affect every aspect of society: privatisation, financialisation and economic crises, mass unemployment, the casualisation of labour and austerity programmes, regional conflict, the rise of political extremism, growing wealth inequality, individualisation, school shootings and the ever-growing number of people suffering from narcissistic personality disorders, to name but a few. Despite the sheer scale of problems that society currently faces, the dominant social discourse has rarely considered that a crisis of the very categories of capitalist society could be the source of the problem. Work, in particular, is central to modern notions of individual and collective identity, of morality and even of human nature. It is the means through which individuals are expected to realise themselves and to gain access to social wealth. It is perhaps for this reason that, while work is often seen as central to resolving the current crisis – either through calls for higher wages and the right to work or through attacks on immigrants and the unemployed – it is rarely seen as the problem in itself. The aim of this conference is therefore to ask what might a critique of work usefully offer us in addressing contemporary social issues and, if one will allow it, the possibility of a greater crisis of modern civilisation.

Contributors might consider:

  • What kinds of critique of work are necessary, on the basis of what criteria and in the name of what alternatives?
  • What hampers such a critique and how can we remove, go around or through these barriers?
  • What critical theories can usefully contribute to a contemporary critique of work?
  • How can contemporary social movements benefit from a critique of work?
  • How might a theoretical critique of work manifest itself practically and how might critiques of work in practice inform theoretical critiques?
  • What lessons can we learn from historical and contemporary social movements against work?
  • What might a critique of work tell us about the political, economic and psychological forms and changes that society is currently experiencing?
  • What are particularly unexamined aspects of the critique of work that need addressing?
  • How widespread and persistent are critiques of work in contemporary social movements and what kinds of critique of work have they developed?
  • What useful relationship might the critique of work have with critiques of the state, patriarchy, politics and other social forms?
  • What alternatives to work still exist, have existed and might exist?

Confirmed keynote speakers will be: Anselm Jappe (author of Guy Debord, Les Aventures de la marchandise, Crédit à mort) and Ernst Lohoff / Nortbert Trenkle (author of Die Große Entwurtung, Dead Men Working).

Abstracts of 350 words, with a small bio, should be sent to Dr Alastair Hemmens (hemmensa@cardiff.ac.uk) by 30 January 2015.

This conference is funded as part of the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship: “‘Ne travaillez jamais’: The Critique of Work in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century French Thought, from Charles Fourier to Guy Debord.” Dr Alastair Hemmens.


Jan 15

Winter 2015 workshop schedule

STW Winter 15 schedule REVISED

Jan 15

Critical Historical Studies Launch reception

Champaign Cocktail Reception
– Jan 21 @ 6pm –
Seminary Coop Bookstore / 5751 S. Woodlawn

Issue 2 of Critical Historical Studies is hot off the presses and we’d like to celebrate!!

Please join us for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and hear what our guest speakers have to say about the editorial vision of CHS, what critical theory has to offer historical studies, and why print journals remain crucial in this digital era.

Speakers include:
Moishe Postone (3CT)
Bill Sewell (3CT)
Michael Magoulias (UCP)

This event is free and open to the public.  If you need assistance to attend, please contact jhanchar [at] uchicago.edu

For more info, visit the Facebook event page

Co-sponsored by Seminary Coop Bookstores, and the University of Chicago Press, Journals division.

Nov 14

Last workshop of the quarter, Dec 5!

Please join us Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6pm at Wilder House (5811 S. Kenwood Ave.) for the following paper and discussion at the Social Theory Workshop:

“Transitional Political-Economic Justice: The Israeli Bankers’ Trial and the Role of Law in the Unfolding of Neoliberalism”
Yaniv Ron-El
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
University of Chicago

All papers will be distributed in advance of the workshops via the Social Theory Workshop list serv. To join this list serv go to: lists.uchicago.edu and search for “Social Theory”