Apr. 9-19, 2009: The Common and the Forms of the Commune – Alternative Social Imaginaries Symposium

The Common and the Forms of the Commune – Alternative Social Imaginaries Symposium
At Duke University, Durham, NC

The motivation of this symposium is to facilitate a conversation between two vibrant veins of work within Marxian tradition. In naming these veins as Autonomist Marxism and Althusserian Marxism, our intent is not to treat them as mutually exclusive and unified schools of thought. On the contrary, we recognize the cross disseminations as well as the internal diversity in the development of these traditions. At the same time, we hope that this workshop becomes a productive platform to elucidate some of the significant questions and tendencies with respect to which these theoretical movements converge and digress.

We want to structure this particular conversation around the specific theme of the common and communism. There has been a strong revival of interest in rethinking the common and communism at the level of both theoretical and political practice. In these discussions “common” often alludes to a new potential for, also actualization of, social cooperation and production, which is unleashed with the paradigmatic shift to new forms of labor (e.g., affective labor, production of knowledge and communication, and so on) in contemporary capitalism.  Similarly, “communism” names a transformative form of being-in-common, whether in the figure of non-exploitative forms of organizing surplus labor, and/or an ethical and subjective commitment to an axiom of equality.   On the one hand, the common and communism are mobilized to formulate a subjectivity that is opposed to neoliberal individualism. On the other hand, these ideas are reclaimed to think about a particular social bond, distinguished not only from the variants of state capitalism, not only from the ideals of community that demand allegiance to a common being, but also, from the insular political visions of certain social movements. The aim of the workshop is to probe into the nature of subjectivity and social relation that is associated with the ideas of the common and communism.


Thursday, April 9, 2009 Nasher Museum Auditorium

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

On the Common, Universality and Communism: A Conversation between Étienne Balibar and Antonio Negri

Session 1, 3:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The Common and Its Production

The Common in Communism

Michael Hardt Duke University

The Institutions of the Common

Gigi Roggero Università Di Bologna

Discussant Pedro Lasch Duke University

Discussant Aras Özgün New School

Friday, April 10, 2009 East Duke Parlor, Women’s Studies

Session 1, 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Commodity Fetishism and the Common

Socialism, Community, and Democracy: A Postmodern Marxist Vision of (Post-) Capitalism

David Ruccio and Antonio Callari Notre Dame University and Franklin and Marshall College

The Common without Copies, the International without Cosmopolitanism:  Marx Against the Romanticism of Likeness

Deborah Jenson Duke University

Discussant Federico Luisetti University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Session 2, 1:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“Modes” of Community

Engendering Feudalism: Modes of Production Revisited

S. Charusheela University of Nevada Las Vegas

On Producing Solidarity

Ken Surin Duke University

Discussant Kathi Weeks Duke University

Session 3, 3:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Difference in Common

Translating Difference and the Common

Anna Curcio Duke University

Forms of the Commune and the Question of Subjectivity

Yahya Madra and Ceren Özselçuk Gettysburg College and Duke University

Discussant Alvaro Reyes Duke University