Philosophy and the Event? May ’68 and the Prague Spring

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Philosophy and the Event? May ’68 and of the Prague Spring

virtual panel discussion and book presentation

Recorded: April 6th, 2021 12 – 2 pm EST


Speakers: Étienne Balibar (Columbia University, Paris X-Nanterre), Ivan Landa (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences), Jana Ndiaye Berankova (Columbia University), Michael Hauser (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences), Joe Grim Feinberg (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences)

Respondents: Nick Nesbitt (Princeton University), Vincent Jacques (Collège International de Philosophie), Jan Mervart (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences).

Philosophy and the Event? May ’68 and of the Prague Spring

This online discussion on the philosophical heritage of the events of 1968 in France and in Czechoslovakia will be organized on the occasion of the publication of the collective volume Revolutions for the Future: May ’68 and the Prague Spring (ed. Jana Ndiaye Berankova, Michael Hauser, Nick Nesbitt). It will present a generation of scholars exploring the long-forgotten legacy of Czechoslovak Marxist thinking as well as the first-hand account of the “events of May” by the philosopher Étienne Balibar.

The essays in the volume Revolutions for the Future: May ’68 and the Prague Spring assemble a generation of French and Central European philosophers in order to work through the philosophical heritage of 1968. On the French side of the chiasmus May ’68/the Prague Spring, the book includes essays by Jacques Rancière, Étienne Balibar, Vincent Jacques, Jana Ndiaye Berankova, Reza Naderi, and Nick Nesbitt. On the Czechoslovak side of this chiasmus, the book presents seminal research on Czechoslovak left-wing thought of the 1960s by a generation of contemporary scholars affiliated to the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences. It includes essays by Michael Hauser, Ivan Landa, Petr Kužel, Jan Mervart, Katarzyna Bielińska, Jan Kober, and Joe Grim Feinberg. The title of this book, “Revolutions for the Future,” implies that sometimes, we can discover future orientations by looking into the forgotten possibilities of historical events. The key to the future might as well be buried under the obliterated paths of the past. And while it is true that the “events of 1968” became a paradigmatic moment for an entire generation of philosophers and that a whole new series of philosophical concepts can be traced back to this moment, by studying them attentively, we might be able to understand our present crisis.

Revolutions for the Future: May ’68 and the Prague Spring

(ed. by Jana Ndiaye Berankova, Michael Hauser, and Nick Nesbitt)

Lyon: Suture Press, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-9569056-1-5

For more information about the book and the publishing house:

Logo: Suture Press

Event sponsor: ICLS, Columbia University.

Event co-sponsors:  Department of French and Italian, Princeton University, Princeton University, Institute of Philosophy of Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague; Collège International de Philosophie, Paris; Suture Press, Lyon

Étienne Balibar is a professor emeritus at University Paris X – Nanterre and the University of California, Irvine. His works include Lire le Capital (with Louis Althusser, Pierre Macherey, Jacques Rancière, and Roger Establet) (1965), The Philosophy of Marx (1995), Citizen Subject. Foundations for Philosophical Anthropology (2017), and Secularism and Cosmopolitanism (2018).

Jana Ndiaye Berankova is a PhD candidate at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and a former student of École Normale Supérieure in Paris and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Her research interests include the links between continental philosophy and architecture theory, social movements of 1968, and Central European architecture. She is the founder of the publishing house Suture Press.

Joe Grim Feinberg is a research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences and is an editor of Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought. His current research involves the history of critical social thought in East-Central Europe, the problem of citizenship and non-citizens, and the notion of internationalism. He is the author of The Paradox of Authenticity: Folklore Performance in Post-Communist Slovakia (2018).

Michael Hauser is a researcher at the Philosophical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and professor at the Faculty of Pedagogy of Charles University. He is the author of Cesty z Postmodernismu (2012), Prolegomena k filosofii současnosti (2008), and Adorno: modernita a negativita (2005). He has also published a book of interviews with Slavoj Žižek, Humanismus nestačí (2008).

Vincent Jacques is an associate professor of philosophy at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, program director at Collège International de Philosophie, and researcher at the HAR EA 4414 laboratory, Université de Paris X – Nanterre. He is the author of Deleuze (2014) and Chris Marker, les médias et le xxe siècle. Le revers de l’histoire contemporaine (2018). He is currently conducting a research program on Harun Farocki and his relationship to history and technology, at the MSH Paris Nord.

Ivan Landa is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where he heads the Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy. His research focuses on Czechoslovak and East-Central European Marxism and dissident thought, as well as on the history of Hegelianism. 

Jan Mervart is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences focusing on modern Czech and Slovak intellectual and cultural history. He has published two monographs on the role of the Writer’s Union in the Czechoslovak reform process and on the normalization of the cultural sphere in Czechoslovakia after 1968, as well as several studies on Czechoslovak Marxism and Marxist intellectuals. His latest book, written together with Jiří Růžička, focuses on the intellectual history of Czechoslovak post-Stalinism (2020). 

Nick Nesbitt is a professor of French Literature at Princeton University and senior researcher in philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Most recently, he is the editor of The Concept in Crisis: Reading Capital Today (2017), and the author of Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant (2013). He is currently completing a book entitled Slavery, Capitalism, and Social Form: From Marx to Caribbean Critique.