Friday, March 14, 2008

Critical Theory and Metaphysics: A Symposium

My supervisor Andrew Feenberg will be speaking at this event-- If you're in the area, I encourage you to check it out!

SFU, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Vancouver. Room 2270
Thursday, March 27, 2008 - Friday, March 28, 2008

Hosted by the Modernity and Citizenship working group of the Institute for the Humanities at SFU.
Please note that while this event is free and open to the public, reserved seating is requested, as space is limited. Please call 778-782-5100 or e-mail to reserve. Note: if you wish to reserve a seat for just a portion of the symposium, please specify this when making your reservation. For further information about the program e-mail or

Critical Theory and Metaphysics: the focus of the symposium:
Today science and technology have never exercised more power over virtually every aspect of human and extra-human nature, including and especially their capacity to remake the very fabric of life itself in their own image. Yet, at the same time, there is an increasing shift towards seemingly irrational cultural forms, from the mass hysteria that attends the culture industry, the increasing fetishization of Eastern mysticism to the dangerous, destabilizing fundamentalist turn in the great world religions. Perhaps, as the power of science and technology becomes increasingly totalizing and therefore irrational,seemingly irrational forms harbour a subterranean rationality insofar as they re-assert the very interpretations of the "Good life" that are in the process of disappearing from within the disenchanted precincts of a techno-science? In other words, what is the relation between reason and faith? What place, if any, is there for metaphysics, not just in a Critical Theory of Society but, indeed, in its project of social transformation?

Symposium Programme
Thursday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m.

9:15 a.m.
Welcome: Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon, Director, Institute for the Humanities, SFU.
Introductory remarks: Samir Gandesha, Humanities, SFU. "The Contemporaneity of Critical Theory."

Panel I

Jerry Zaslove, Humanities/West Coast Line, SFU. "Walter Benjamin's Critique of Violence -- Intertwining Myth, Revolution, Force, Nemesis."
Ian Wallace,Vancouver-based Artist. "Art as the Objectification of Consciousness"
Chair: Samir Gandesha

12:30- 1:30
Panel II

Brook Pearson, Humanities, SFU. "The Odyssey of Enlightenment: Adorno/Horkheimer and Ancient Allegory"
Shane Gunster, Communication, SFU. "Fear and the Unknown: Nature, Culture and the Limits of Reason"
Chair: Ian Angus, Humanities/Centre for Canadian Studies, SFU.
Friday 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Panel III
Andrew Feenberg. Communication, SFU. "Between Reason and Experience: Heidegger and Marcuse on Technology"
Ian Angus."The Critique of Instrumental Reason and the Aims of Philosophy"
Chair: John Abromeit (Social Sciences, University of Chicago).

Panel IV

Samir Gandesha, "Solidarity with Metaphysics at the Time of its Downfall"
John Abromeit, "Metaphysics before and after Auschwitz: The Transformations of a Key Concept in the Critical Theory of Horkheimer and Adorno"
Stefano Giacchetti, John Cabot University, Rome. "Beyond Domination: Adorno and Political Praxis"

Chair: Andrew Feenberg
4:00 - 5:30: Concluding discussion: the eclipse of universalism and the future of cultural criticism.
Moderator: Ian Angus

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