[OPE-L] CFP: Grad Political Theory Conference - Thinking the Present, 27-8 May 2005

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 22 2004 - 15:48:41 EST


I write on behalf of an interdisciplinary graduate student committee
at UC Berkeley. We will be hosting a conference in May (see CFP
pasted below, and attached as PDF for easy printing and posting), and
would very much appreciate your assistance in disseminating the CFP
to your students or others that might be interested. We feel that
this conference presents a unique opportunity to bring together a
strong group of graduate students working in the field of political
theory. Moreover, we hope to provide airfare for participants, as an
added incentive to bolster the strength of the conference.

We appreciate your assistance,
George Ciccariello Maher

Please circulate widely. Apologies for cross-postings.

Call For Papers
A Graduate Student Conference in Political Theory
27-28 May 2005
University of California, Berkeley

Note: to facilitate participation, the conference will provide
accommodation and, funding permitting, up to $300 towards
transportation costs for invited participants.

Thinking the Present:The Beginnings and Ends of Political Theory

Keynote speaker: Bonnie Honig, Professor of Political Science at
Northwestern University and Senior Research Fellow at the American
Bar Foundation, Chicago, will be speaking on the topic: The Time of
Rights: Emergent Thoughts in an Emergency Setting.

Closing remarks will take the form of a roundtable discussion,
featuring the keynote speaker and several distinguished panelists
from UC Berkeley.

Our present can be characterized as a time of new and old forms of
political and military domination and dramatic re-organizations of
power. We face a widespread redefinition of rights, liberties, and
constitutions, alongside and intertwined with patterns of
segregation, exclusion, and occupation; a global network of
interrogation and torture camps, a perpetual war, sustained
invocations of emergency powers, bulldozed and bombed homes and
cities. But what is the status of this present, this particular
historical era? How does (or should) this present define, condition,
or circumscribe the activity of theorizing? What erasures of the past
are performed in theorizing the present?

In confronting the present, the political theorist also confronts the
beginnings of political theory itself. What are the conditions,
grounds, and triggers from which theorizing proceeds? What histories
and genealogies impel and inform political theory, and how does the
location of this beginning limit the horizons of political theory,
either in its specific iterations or in its status as a historical
discourse and as a vocation?

What is the relationship between political theory's beginnings and
its ends? Is theory instrumental, pursuing specific ends? If so, how
should we articulate these ends? Can political theory one day achieve
its ends, thereby exhausting itself? Or, conversely, can theory
irrevocably fail to achieve its ends, proving itself inadequate to
the demands of the present? Can we perhaps theorize without end(s)?
What would a non-instrumental, unending political theory look like,
especially in relation to the present? Is there a moment in politics
when theory becomes improper?

In asking these questions, we mean to direct attention to the role of
the present in the practice of political theory. How do ideas about
the present as a teleological end, or an interruption of history, or
a return of history partially constitute the very act of theorizing
about politics?

Potential topics might include:

* Representations of Newness and Nowness
* Thinking the Event: Theorizing Continuity and Discontinuity
* Historical Iterations and the Politics of Déjà Vu
* Nationalism, Natality, and Narration
* Constitutional Fictions
* The Function of Crisis in Theory and Theorizing
* The Violence of Beginnings: Genocides, Colonization, Insurrections
* The Violence of Ends: Foreclosures, Horizons, Solutions
* Theorizing Body Counts and (Neo-)colonial Warfare
* Contemporary Despotism: the Politics of Emergency Powers
* Situating, Contextualizing, and Provincializing Political Theory

The Conference invites paper submissions from all graduate students
working on topics in political theory. Please send proposed paper
abstracts of 750 words to critsens@socrates.berkeley.edu by 31
January 2005.

Proposals should include:
* a proposal title and summary
* name, departmental affiliation, address, telephone number and
e-mail address of the applicant

For further enquiries, please contact theoryconference@lists.berkeley.edu

Organizing Committee:
George Ciccariello Maher, Political Science
Tucker Culbertson, Jurisprudence and Social Policy/Boalt Hall
Jack Jackson, Political Science
Sharon Stanley, Political Science
Yves Winter, Rhetoric

George J. Ciccariello Maher IV
Department of Political Science
210 Barrows Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1950

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