June 04, 2013
To launch this new set, Verso is proud to present ‘An Introduction to Radical Thinkers’: a fortnightly series of events held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London. They are designed to take theory outside of the academy to create a public forum for the discussion of sophisticated ideas.
Led by engaging speakers to steer the potential of such debate far away from the safe confines of ‘philosophy-as-self-help’ to more provocative and radical horizons, the events aim to interrogate our existing understandings of all areas of life, including: sexuality, economics, faith, politics and the individual.
These events are designed to introduce the works of five key thinkers in a space outside of the academy, creating a public forum in which to bring to life the debates around their ideas.
‘An Introduction to Radical Thinkers’ complements the upcoming exhibition Bernadette Corporation: 2000 Wasted Years - the first retrospective in the UK of Bernadette Corporation. One of the most significant art collectives working today, Bernadette Corporation present a conceptual alternative for making art, drawing upon theory in their idiosyncratic critique of consumer culture and capitalism.
Preliminary reading on the authors and their work can be read here.
Full information for all events, including how to book, can be found here.
6.45pm – 8.00pm
London, SW1Y 5AH United Kingdom
020 7930 3647
1. Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism
The second chapter in The Sprit of Terrorism began as a contribution to a debate on the events of September 11th organized jointly by the New York University and France Culture in Washington Square, Manhattan. In an interview with the New York Times regarding French theory in American universities, Baudrillard remarked:
“The French gave Americans a language they did not need. It was like the Statue of Liberty. Nobody needs French theory.”
Which other widely known French theorist spoke at this event?
2. Max Horkheimer, Critique of Instrumental Reason
“At the end of the Nazi period (I thought at the time) a new day, the beginning of an authentically human history, would dawn in the developed countries as the result of reforms or revolution. Along with the other founders of Scientific Socialism, I thought that the cultural gains of the bourgeois era – the free development of human powers, a spiritual productivity – but stripped now of all elements of force and exploitation, would surely become widespread throughout the world.”
In a groundbreaking book written by Horkheimer and his life long colleague and collaborator the first chapter states that the Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating men from what?
3. Karl Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy
One of the most famous works produced by the European revolutionary movement, Marxism and Philosophy is the first attempt by a Marxist to apply Marx’s critical and materialist method to the history of Marxism itself.
Towards the end of the Second World War, which student of Karl Korsch enthusiastically put to verse The Communist Manifesto?
4. Ludwig Feuerbach, The Fiery Brook: Selected Writings
A great amount of the young Marx must remain unintelligible without reference to certain basic Feuerbachian texts. These selections, most of them previously translated, establish the thought of Feuerbach in an independent role.
Which essay by Feuerbach, part of which is included in this collection, influenced Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and caused Engels to remark, “One must himself have experienced the liberating effect of this book to get an idea of it. Enthusiasm was general; we all became at once Feuerbachians”?
5. Fredric Jameson, A Singular Modernity
A major interpretation of the concepts of modernism and modernity.
In his introduction to this book Jameson refers to a postmodern philosopher and his comments on two other well-known philosopher’s facial hair. Name these three men and their preference or not for beards.
6. Maurice Godelier, Rationality and Irrationality in Economics
An analysis of social and economic systems and why they appear and disappear throughout history.
As of 2001 Maurice Godelier owns what object, which was also possessed by Pierre Bourdieu and Claude Levi-Strauss?
7. Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of commitment, Politics of Resistance
"Philosophy begins in disappointment.” Simon Critchley writes in the introduction to this work. “Nihilism is the breakdown of the order of meaning, where all that we previously imagined as a divine, transcendent basis for moral valuation has become meaningless. […]For some, this is the defining experience of youth – witness the deaths of numerous young romantics, whether Keats, Shelley, Sid Vicious or Kurt Cobain.”
Which of four these dead romantics died youngest?
8. Wilhelm Reich, Sex-Pol: Essays, 1929-1934
Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to psychoanalytic theory. His controversial views on sexual and class oppression resulted in his expulsion from the International Communist Party of Germany in 1933 and from the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1934.
Reich was subject to libricide by both the United States and the Nazi Party. Name another physician also interested in sexual repression who was subject to same fate under the Nazis.
9. Alain Badiou Ethics: An Essay On The Understanding of Evil
In this book Alain Badiou shows how our prevailing ethical principles serve ultimately to reinforce an ideology of the status quo and fail to provide a framework for an effective understanding of the concept of evil.
Name a major influence on Badiou’s Ethics who famously said “Ne pas céder sur son désir.”
- first entries from each territory with the correct answers to all 12 questions takes all! Good luck!
10. Slavoj Žižek Welcome to the Desert of the Real
“The fact that September 11 attacks were the stuff of popular fantasies long before they actually took place provides yet another case of the twisted logic of dreams: it is easy to account for the fact that poor people around the world dream about becoming Americans – so what do the well-to-do Americans, immobilized in their well-being dream about? About a global catastrophe that would shatter their lives – why?”
Prior to this quote Žižek mentions a film in the top fifty highest grossing films of all time staring an actor also known as ‘The Fresh Prince’. Name this film.
11. André Gorz Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology
Against the background of recent technological developments, Gorz's major new book explores the political agendas facing both right and left in the midst of the transformations of the nature of work and the structure of the workforce.
What is the connection between Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times and André Gorz’s journalistic career?
12. V.N. Voloshinov Freudianism: A Marxist Critique
An early critique of Freud from a Marxist and linguistic perspective.
Voloshninov was a member of a group of philosophers whose thought on language and art addressed the social and cultural issues posed by the Russian Revolution and its degeneration into the Stalin dictatorship.
Name the philosopher by which this group took its title.
Those in North America email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the rest of the world, including the UK, email email@example.com.
Please put RADICAL THINKERS COMPETITION in the subject line or your entry may not be counted.
Winners will be announced on Monday.