October 23-24, 2020

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Difficult times reveal the foundational instability of political systems. The global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus Covid-19 has sent seismic tremors through the world system and brought its toxic relationship to race to the forefront of our collective consciousness–while also manifestly bringing into crisis the idea that “we” (abstract, unmarked, unremarked) share or can share such a collective consciousness: that “we” share the experience of illness, of daily violence, of representation or representability. Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon endeavors to meet this moment by convening this conference imperfectly titled “Racial Justice in the Time of Plague.” We are seeking to take on the critical element of PC’s editorial statement: a Critical Lexicon for a time of plague, for thinking racial justice, will seek to “resituate a particular aspect of political meaning, thereby opening pathways for another future—one that is not already determined and ill-fated. The term “critical” in our title is also meant quite literally: Political Concepts is a forum for conversation and constructive debate rather than the construction of an encyclopedic ideal.” Scholars engaged here will redefine the terms and conditions of this exhortation to thoughtful action that our moment demands and reveal at the conference’s close, perhaps, an epilogical title for this thinking.

All times are Eastern Standard Time

12:00 pm – 12:15 pm Opening Remarks

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm Panel 1
Kathryn Sophia Belle (Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University) – Care
Michael C. Dawson (Political Science, University of Chicago) – Racial Capitalism
Chair: Jay Bernstein (Philosophy, New School for Social Research)

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm Panel 2
Barrymore Anthony Bogues (Africana Studies, Brown University) – Abolition
Andrés F. Henao Castro (Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston) – Necropolitics
Chair: Ann Stoler (Anthropology and History, New School for Social Research)

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm Panel 3
Joy James (Humanities, Williams College) – Captive Maternal
Tommy Curry (School of Philosophy and Language Studies, University of Edinburgh) – Black Men
Chair: Emily Apter (French and Comparative Literature, New York University)

5:00 pm – 5:15 pm Closing

All times are Eastern Standard Time

12:00 pm – 12:15 pm Opening Remarks

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm Panel 4
R.A. Judy (Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Pittsburgh) – Riot
Selamawit Terrefe (English, Tulane University) – Psycho-politics
Chair: Achille Mbembe (Philosophy, University of Witswaterand/Duke University)

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm Panel 5
Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (English, University of Southern California) – Body
Michael E. Sawyer (Race, Ethnicity and Migration Studies, and English, Colorado College) – Gravity
Chair: Jacques Lezra (Hispanic Studies, University of California, Riverside)

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm Panel 6
Barnor Hesse (African-American Studies, Northwestern University) – Racism
Janine Jones (Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Greensboro) – Dreadlocked Logics of Impossibility
Chair: Akeel Bilgrami (Philosophy, Columbia University)

5:00 pm – 6: 00 pm Closing Discussion

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The webinar is hosted by Colorado College.


Winter 2018, Brown University, Cogut Institute for the Humanities
December 7 & 8
Conference Website


Day 1


PANEL I 9:00 AM – 11:20 AM
Anne Fausto Sterling • Truth
Stephanie Dick • Database
Dan Hirschman • Stylized Facts
Moderator: Amanda Anderson

PANEL II 11:40 AM – 1:30 PM
Rebecca Nedostup • Practice/Praxis
Barbara Herrnstein Smith • Scientism
Moderator: Sharon Krause

PANEL III 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM
Alex Csiszar • Peer Review
Kaushik Sunder Rajan • Value
Moderator: Adi Ophir

PANEL IV 5:10 PM – 7:00 PM
Raphael Sassower • Scientific Progress
Tamara Chin • Homo Geoeconomicus
Moderator: Etienne Balibar

Day 2

PANEL V 9:10 AM – 11:00 AM
Etienne Benson • Environment
Joanna Radin • Future
Moderator: Tim Bewes

PANEL VI 11:20 AM – 1:10 PM
Mara Mills • Impairment
Iris Montero • Scala Naturae
Moderator: Leela Gandhi

PANEL VII 2:40 PM – 4:30 PM
Banu Subramaniam • Diaspora/e
Suman Seth • Race
Moderator: Lukas Rieppel

PANEL VIII 4:50 PM – 6:40 PM
Yarden Katz • Entrepreneurial Science
Peter Galison and Noah Feldman • Corporatized Knowledge
Moderator: Jacques Lezra

Spring 2018, The Graduate Center, CUNY,
March 15 & 16/ Conference Website


Day 1
Opening Remarks > 3:00pm
Susan Buck-Morss & Ann Stoler, political concepts board members

Panel I > 3:30–5:30pm
Erotic Transformation/ Drucilla Cornell, Rutgers University
Bios/ Brooke Holmes, Princeton University

Panel II > 6:00–8:00pm
Unmixing/ Sadia Abbas, Rutgers University
Universal History/ Antonio Y. Vázquez-Arroyo, Rutgers University

FRIDAY // ROOM 9205/9206
Opening Remarks > 10:45am
Gary Wilder, Director of the committee on Globalization and Social Change

Panel III > 11:00AM–1:00pm
Lex Animata/ Jesús R. Velasco, Columbia University
Dictatorship/ Andreas Kalyvas, The New School

Panel IV > 2:30–4:30pm
Occult/ Banu Bargu, University of California, Santa Cruz
Decolonization/ Seloua Luste Boulbina, Denis Diderot University

Panel V > 5:00–7:00pm
仁“The one” and “the many”/ Lydia Liu, Columbia University
Diaspora/ Ato Quayson, New York University

Winter 2016, Brown University / Conference Website

Day 1

[Video] Panel I: Lezra, Rooney, Anderson (Chair)
[Video] Panel II: Bernstein, Fassin, Krause (Chair)
[Video] Panel III: Apter, Ophir, Stewart-Steinberg (Chair)
[Video] Panel IV: Mills, Wilder, Robbins, Buck-Morss (Chair)

Day 2

[Video]Panel V: Butler, Maniglier, David-Ménard, McLaughlin (Chair)
[Video] Panel VI: Stoler, Gourgouris, Rieppel (Chair)
[Video] Panel VIII: Feher, Harcourt, Bewes (Chair)
[Video] Panel VIII: Osborne, Balibar, Honig (Chair)


Winter 2015, Brown University / Conference Website

[Video] Panel I: Agency, Sharon Krause, Publicity, James Schmidt
[Video] Panel II: Strike, Alex Gourevitch / Formation, Thomas A. Lewis
[Video] Panel III: Disappearance, Joan Cocks / Desert, Branka Arsic
[Video] Panel IV: Shibboleth, Marc Redfield / Minority, Vazira Zamindar
[Video]Panel V: Possession, Joanna Howard / Property, William Keach
[Video] Panel VI: Nature, Lukas Rieppel / Indeterminacy, Anna Bialek
[Video] Panel VIII: Abiura, Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg / Gesture, Rebecca Schneider
[Video] Panel VIII: Sovereignty, Ariella Azoulay / Bondage, James Kuzner

Spring 2015, Columbia University / Conference Website

[Video] Panel I: Exodus, Lydia Goehr / Resistance, Rebecca Comay
[Video] Panel II: Legitimacy, Andrew Arato / Crisis, Nadia Urbinati
[Video] Panel III: Normal, Hagar Kotef / Innocence, Miriam Ticktin
[Video] Panel IV: Singularity, Samuel Weber / Interference, Emily Apter
[Video] Panel V: Amnesty, Maxim Pensky / Infrapolitics, Alberto Moreiras
[Video] Panel VI: Free Indirect, Timothy Bewes / Grandeur, Jason Frank
[Video] Panel VII: Whiteness, Linda Martín Alcoff / Comedy, Dmitri Nikulin

Spring 2015, Brown University / Conference Website

[Video] Panel I: Reality, Elizabeth Weed / Missing, Thangam Ravindranathan
[Video] Panel II: Region, Beshara Doumani / Organization, Lukas Rieppel
[Video] Panel III: Synaesthesia, Susan Bernstein / Cinematic, Philip Rosen
[Video] Panel IV: Reclamation, Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg / Inheritance, Gerhard Richter
[Video] Panel V: Triumph, Jacques Khalip / Katechon, Peter Szendy
[Video] Panel VI: Ecstasy, Stephen Bush / Sacrifice, Michael Sawyer
[Video] Panel VII: Free Indirect, Timothy Bewes / Character, Amanda Anderson
[Video] Panel VIII: Blood, David Wills / Occupation, Jacques Rancière

Spring 2014, The New School for Social Research / Conference Website

Panel I: [Video] Development, Gayatari Spivak / New Democracy, Haiping Yan
Panel II: [Video] Sophistic, Barbara Cassin / Love, Paul Kottman
Panel III: [Video] Rule of Law, Jay Bernstein / Freedom of Religion, Jean Cohen
Panel IV: [Video] Islam, Aamir Mufti / [Video] Europe, Michael Steinberg
Panel V: [Video] Memory, Jean Comaroff / [Video] Moral, Steven Lukes
Panel VI: [Video] Hope, Bruce Robbins / [Video] The Past, Alia Al-Saji
Panel VII: [Video] Pornography, April Alliston / Alienation, Akeel Bilgrami
Panel VIII: [Video] Myth, Chiara Bottici / Humanity, Talal Asad

Fall 2013, Brown University / Conference Website

[Video] Panel I: Exploitation, Étienne Balibar / Statelessness, Andreas Kalyvas
Panel II: Reading, Ellen Rooney / Map, Linda Quiquivix
[Video] Panel III: Horror, A. Kiarina Kordela / Demonization, Nathaniel Berman
[Video] Panel IV: Raison d’État, Kevin McLaughlin / Concept (ii), Adi Ophir
[Video] Panel V: Vernacular, Elias Muhanna / Like, Jacques Lezra
[Video] Panel VI: Trees, Eduardo Cadava / Resilience. Bonnie Honig
[Video] Panel VII: Human Rights, Ariella Azoulay / Populism, Federico Finchelstein
[Video] Panel VIII: Roundtable with Jay Bernstein, Akeel Bilgrami, Stathis Gourgouris, and Adi Ophir

Spring 2013, New York University / Conference Website

Panel I: Consent, Avital Ronell / Consent, James Miller
Panel II: Liberal Democracy, Antonio Vazquez-Arroyo / Violence, Richard Bernstein
Panel III: Siege, Yves Winter / Sovereignty, Banu Bargu
Panel IV: Human/Animal, Stathis Gourgouris / Sexual Difference, Joan Copjec
Panel V: Enough, Jacques Lezra / Alienation, Roy Wagner
Panel VI: Repression, Ben Kafka / Impolitic, Emily Apter
Panel VII: Interest, Juan Obarrio / Biometrics, Nitzan Lebovic
Panel VIII: Contemporary, Nilufer Gole / Time, Souleymane Bachir Diagne

Winter 2012, Columbia University / Conference Website