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(en) USA, NYC, Aug 19-21 Seminar on Anarchism and Philosophy

Date Tue, 28 Jun 2005 20:57:36 +0300

Free Society Collective’s Seminar with Todd May and Peter Staudenmaier
Cosponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies and Black Sheep Books
French theorist Jacques Ranciere has promoted an idea of politics
as acting from the presumption of radical equality -- a
presumption most societies deny in their actions if not in
their words. His ideas intersect with both anarchist theory
and with the thought of recent theorists like Michel Foucault.
We will discuss how Ranciere’s ideas might help us think
through political organization and political action.

Each of the three sessions will consider one chapter from
Ranciere’s 100-page "On the Shores of Politics" (it is
highly recommended that participants read chapters 2-4
in advance of this seminar).

Todd May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson
University. He has written on recent French thought,
including the intersection of anarchism and
poststructuralism, and is author of several books,
including "The Political Philosophy of
Poststructuralist Anarchism." Todd has also been
active in a variety of politics movements, in
particular the resistance to Israel's occupation of

Presenter: Peter Staudenmaier

Dialectical thinking has played a crucial role in the
analyses of modern society put forward by a range of
radical critics of capitalism and the state.
Anarchism's theoretical and practical profile can be
enriched by engaging with the formidable, but
rewarding tradition of dialectical thought. This study
seminar will focus squarely on a single text, the
notoriously challenging preface to Hegel's
"Phenomenology of Spirit" (in "Hegel: Texts and
Commentary," by Walter Kaufmann, University of Notre
Dame Press; participants are encouraged to read the
preface ahead of time). We will read the text together
and attempt to draw out the dialectical structure of
the argument it presents, while relating its insights
to our own experience. No prior knowledge of Hegel is
required, but a willingness to engage with
often-difficult philosophical writing is necessary.

Peter Staudenmaier has been in involved in anarchist
politics since the 1980s. He is currently a graduate
student at Cornell University, focusing on modern
European intellectual history. His perspective on
dialectical philosophy is strongly influenced by the
Frankfurt school and social ecology.


The seminar is a three-day study program, which takes
place over the course of a long weekend, and
attendance will be capped at 20-25 people so that
participants have the opportunity to fully engage in
the program. Todd’s three-session course will run
Friday evening, Saturday day, and Sunday morning;
Peter’s three-session course will run Friday
afternoon, Saturday day, and Sunday early afternoon.
Each presenter will give a lecture or formal
presentation, followed by plenty of time for
discussion, in and outside the sessions themselves. In
short, the weekend seminar functions as both an
intensive course and an ongoing conversation. The
presenters have suggested short readings prior to
and/or during the weekend in order to further focus
and ground the discussion (see their course
descriptions). We will not be providing these
readings, so please buy the two books and bring them
with you to the seminar.


This seminar series is self-financing; the FSC has no
outside funding, or a funding source of its own. Thus,
the overall seminar costs will simply be divided by
the number of participants, with the goal of making
each weekend series as affordable as possible. The
cost for a weekend seminar will not exceed $75 per
person for the course; some meals will also be
included. Floor space will be available for sleeping
(bring your own gear); we’ll do our best to arrange
more comfy accommodations in someone’s home, if
needed). The seminars will take place in the historic
socialist and anarchist Old Labor Hall in Barre,


For more information or to discuss registration,
contact both Rob Augman (rob@riseup.net) and Cindy
Milstein (cbmilstein@yahoo.com). Seminar space is
limited, so get in touch with us soon if you’re
interested in attending. Please note: once you’ve
registered, you’ll need to send us $50 in advance to
reserve your spot (if the seminar costs more than $50,
participants can pay the additional $10 to $25 when
they arrive).


If you have an idea for seminar topics and/or
presenters in the future (including yourself), please
don’t hesitant to e-mail us with suggestions.


The Free Society Collective’s (FSC) seminar series
aims to provide an independent space for ongoing
inquiries into social, political, cultural, economic,
historical, and other fields of study from an
anti-authoritarian left perspective. The seminar
series draws on a variety of radical traditions,
revolutionary histories, contemporary social
movements, and social and political analyses,
including anarchism, Western and autonomous marxisms,
and other libertarian left tendencies. By exploring
the past as well as the present, these weekend-long
seminars are meant to deepen our understanding of
dynamic social phenomena such as capitalism,
statecraft, racism, gender, and the devastation of the
natural world, to name a few. The seminars are also a
way of reclaiming our own education and scholarship --
by mentoring, learning from, and challenging each
other in a highly participatory setting. And over
time, it is the FSC’s hope that this seminar series
will contribute to the development of public
intellectuals, theoretical insights, and sophisticated
forms of praxis as well as social organization in our
struggle for a nonhierarchical, egalitarian society.


FSC is a small, radical Left tendency based in central
Vermont. We seek the abolition of capitalism, the
state, and all other social relations built on
coercion, hierarchy, and oppression. To that end, we
engage in a politics of resistance that simultaneously
highlights a reconstructive vision. In critical
solidarity with anti-authoritarian social movements
around the globe, we work toward a free and ecological
society premised on mutual aid, confederated direct
democracy, and a liberatory culture. For more info,
see http://www.freesocietycollective.org.


The IAS, a nonprofit foundation established in 1996 to
support the development of anarchism, is a
grant-giving organization for radical writers and
translators around the world. The IAS also supports
the Latin American Archives Project, sponsors the
Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, and
publishes a biannual magazine, Perspectives on
Anarchist Theory, to cultivate community among those
interested in the development of anarchism. The IAS is
part of a larger movement to radically transform
society as well. It is internally democratic and works
in solidarity with people around the globe who share
its values. For more information, see


Black Sheep Books is an all-volunteer workers’
collective specializing in radical and scholarly used
books. Areas of particular note include anarchism and
socialism/marxism, queer and gender studies, social
theory and political philosophy, labor studies,
history, media and film studies, literature, current
events and activism, plus much more. Also, Black Sheep
regularly hosts various educational, political, and
activist events from talks and discussions to films
and performances, and attempts to build an open and
accessible community space. Black Sheep Books is
located at 4 Langdon Street (inside and above the
Langdon Street Collective Café), Montpelier, Vermont.
For more information, see

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