What is the role of critical theory today and who is it for? What kind of maps can theory provide in the context of the matrix of crises weighing on the present? These are some of the questions posed by this seminar series.
In the aftermath of various mutations of twentieth-century 'critical theory' (Frankfurt School, 'French Theory', etc.), proponents of 'postcritique' have argued that critical theory has 'run out of steam'. Instead, this seminar series starts from the premise that 21st-century crisis has also generated dynamic new ways of reconsidering these questions. A critical theory of the present is necessarily a crisis theory.
In this first seminar, Alberto Toscano will discuss his forthcoming book on theories of fascism. He will speak about the utility of notions of periodisation, temporality and crisis in the contemporary analysis of reactionary politics.
Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory in the Department of Sociology and Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Visiting Faculty at the School of Communications at Simon Fraser University from January '21. Since 2004 he has been a member of the editorial board for the journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and is series editor of The Italian List for Seagull Books. He is the author of The Theatre of Production (2006), Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (2010; 2017, 2nd ed.) and Cartographies of the Absolute (with Jeff Kinkle, 2015). A translator of Antonio Negri, Alain Badiou, Franco Fortini, Furio Jesi and others, Toscano has published widely on critical theory, philosophy, politics and aesthetics.