New York, NY 10026 United States
Join Verso Books at Columbia University for a special seminar with the critically acclaimed author and political theorist, Tariq Ali.
“In politics,” Reinhart Koselleck writes at the end of his essay on the modern concept of revolution, “words and their usage are more important than any other weapon.” Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Perhaps the words, in the end, merely catch up with the things. Regardless, a central question arises: In an age that may be considered post-revolutionary (but that too is a question), how should we understand and theorize collective action and individual political engagement? This seminar seeks to answer that question through a sustained, critical examination of different contemporary forms of political uprisings.
The purpose of this seminar series, then, is to explore various modalities of disobedience, inservitude, revolt, social movement, or other forms of political contestation. Instead of including them all under the name of “revolution”—a term that has become conceptually and historically fraught—we are interested in considering how specific experiences and discourses articulate new forms of uprising or reformulate well-known ones. By focusing on this conceptual, historical and political problematic, we intend to shine a light on experiences and manifestations that take place at the local and at the global level, as well as at the subjective and the collective level. The idea is to articulate how critical political practice is expressed and understood today. Each session will focus on one form of uprising in relation to historical events, from modern revolutionary movements to the Arab Spring and the Dakota Access Pipeline. We will be addressing the questions on the basis of a range of archival and theoretical sources, and other media.