The Liberal Subject: Decay, Demise, and Deliverance, UNM Graduate Conference
University of New Mexico
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The Liberal Subject: Decay, Demise, and Deliverance:
Keynote Speaker: Bruno Bosteels (Columbia University)
History has yet to conclusively decide whether the autonomous and unified liberal subject has finally come to gasp its very last breaths. What is, nevertheless, abundantly clear is that cracks and fissures are beginning to appear within the ideological edifice of its corresponding image, the free individual with inviolable rights, which is internally exhausted and now eroding from within. In undermining the wider framework that intertwines liberal subjectivity with its associated modes of truth, nature, governance, and economy, there is a subtle irony to be registered in the way that a regressive shift in political affairs has come closer to realizing what both philosophy and critical theory have, for over a century, been attempting to prefigure in thought.
With the resurgence of the far right, we seem to be witnessing the eclipse of the modern worldview that liberalism had once embodied and the dislodging of its hegemonic narratives by so-called “post-truth” discourse. It would be nothing short of grotesque to mourn the loss of a dominant paradigm that has consistently mobilized a set of values in order to justify the forceful imposition of norms into bodies, mask exploitation behind paltry civic notions of equality, and render invisible the most predatory forms of colonial and imperial violence. Instead, the present moment offers the previously unforeseen opportunity to appraise the emancipatory possibilities that had been formerly obfuscated by the apparent permanence of a static liberalism without a history and without alternatives.
The outmoding of the liberal subject into historical extinction grants us with the prospect of thinking new and revolutionary forms of life and potentialities. Thus, the key project of this conference is to examine the crisis and collapse of liberalism in reference to contemporary problems in both theory and concrete practice, while bringing to light the renewed promises that are only beginning to emerge in its wake.
We welcome any papers that contend with the current crisis of the liberal subject. Potential topics may include: postcolonial theory, critical theory, structuralism & poststructuralism, philosophy of language, psychoanalysis, Marxism & Postmarxisms, non-Western theories of the subject, environmental philosophy, systems theory, and more. Abstracts should be up to 500 words and papers should be up to 3500 words or 20 minutes reading time. Please send submissions prepared for blind review to [email protected]
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