Thursday, January 22, 2015

Catherine Malabou: Plasticity Versus Inscription


Catherine Malabou at the Royal Institute of Art Stockholm: “Plasticity versus Inscription"
A. Mesnel, Land Salamander, 19th century. From C. Baenitz’s Textbook of Zoology in popular representation. 2nd edition (Berlin, Germany), 1877. pg 165.

The Domain of the Great Bear:
“Plasticity versus Inscription:
A Change of Paradigm”

Royal Institute of Art - Kungl. Konsthögskolan (KKH)A lecture by Catherine Malabou
Monday, 26 January 2015, 16h

Royal Institute of Art/Kungl. Konsthögskolan
Flaggmansvägen 1
111 49 Stockholm
About the lecture
The notions of trace, writing and inscription have been predominant in both philosophy and art since the turn of the 1970s. Claiming that all presence always consists in its own erasure, Jacques Derrida has shown that the movement of difference, or “différance,” is what always already displaces the metaphysical understanding of subjectivity, stability, and totality. However, the most recent discoveries in cellular biology, genetics, epigenetics, and neurobiology are challenging the hermeneutical importance of this paradigm of inscription. Neural networks, stem cells, genomes, are said to operate plastically, without leaving a trace but creating a form. A new vocabulary is thus emerging: firing, assemblies, populations. In her presentation, Catherine Malabou will evaluate the impact of such discoveries on the philosophical and artistic fields. Starting with Hegel, moving through Derrida, and ending with contemporary biology, Malabou will analyze three structures—totality, dissemination and regeneration—and will discuss them using three figures: that of the phoenix, the spider, and the salamander. Each time, images and concepts will be put into dialogue.
About the speaker
Catherine Malabou is a French philosopher. She is currently professor in the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston University and joins the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in autumn 2015 as International Visiting Chair in “Philosophy in the Context of Art” (a position alternated with Peter Osborne). Malabou graduated from the École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines (Fontenay-Saint-Cloud) and her doctorate was obtained under the supervision of Jacques Derrida from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales.
Malabou’s contention that plasticity has become a major category in philosophy, arts, psychology, neurobiology and cell biology has opened up new perspectives on the way in which subjectivity and materiality, mind and body, are interrelated, along with new relationships between philosophy, arts and biology. In different ways, Malabou has studied how these interrelated significations are determining a vision of the form that would no longer be related to presence but to temporality (The Future of Hegel),historical metamorphoses (The Heidegger Change), and a change of paradigm from the trace to neural connectivity (What Should We Do With Our Brain? and Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing).

About The Domain of the Great Bear
“Plasticity versus Inscription: A Change of Paradigm” continues in the Royal Institute of Art’s series The Domain of the Great Bear and launches the Institute’s annual Research Week (26–30 January, 2015). The Domain of the Great Bear is the research platform of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm—a series of public lectures, workshops and events focusing on art and production and the changing nature of the conditions for that production to address the challenges and aspirations for anyone claiming the category of artist. The Domain of the Great Bear serves as the Royal Institute of Art’s will as an institution to plant within the public domain a set of attitudes about art, architecture, knowledge and culture that extend from historicity forwards, and vice versa—forwards, backwards—to serve as a larger conversation piece about anything that claims itself as or beyond the art world. The Domain of the Great Bear continues throughout 2015.

About the Royal Institute of Art 
The Royal Institute of Art is a leading art institution of higher education located in Stockholm that offers both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Fine Arts and Architecture.

Catherine Malabou at the Royal Institute of Art Stockholm: “Plasticity versus Inscription"

The Future of Continental Philosophy (Video)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Collège International de Philosophie (2 Feb)

Collège International de Philosophie
Séminaire de Théorie des catégories et ontologie plate (II)
Lundi 2 février 2015 : Catherine Malabou (Kingston University, Londres) Du temps épigénétique. Université de Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris, 13 rue de Santeuil, 75005 Paris. La salle sera précisée ultérieurement.
Dans quelle mesure les avancées de l'épigénétique aujourd'hui permettent-elles, en contribuant à la constitution d'une histoire postgénomique, à porter un nouveau regard philosophique sur le temps, qui ne différencierait plus le temps ontologique du temps naturel?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

CFP: Workshop on Transcendental Materialism

Workshop on Transcendental Materialism
April 24-24, 2015
Loyola University Maryland
‘Transcendental Materialism: Anthropology, Nature, and the Political’
Keynote Speaker: Adrian Johnston, University of New Mexico
Since the publication of 2008’s Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity, the work of Adrian Johnston has aimed at the development of a contemporary materialist ontology which accounts for the emergence of a more-than-material form of subjectivity from a wholly material grounds. Utilizing the intellectual resources of German idealist philosophy, Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis, Marxist political theory, and the natural sciences, Johnston’s transcendental materialism aims at the development of an atheist, naturalist, and materialist ontology and theory of subjectivity that rivals the work of figures such as Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek.
This event, the first associated with the Working Group on Contemporary Materialism, will be the first focused on Johnston’s work in particular, and transcendental materialism more generally. To this end, we invite paper and panel proposals that both constructively and critically engage with Johnston’s recent published work, transcendental materialist accounts of subjectivity, the notion of a weak nature, critical engagements with transcendental materialism (especially those coming from the natural sciences, philosophy of mind, religion, and political theory), discussions of Johnston’s work in relation to other contemporary figures, the relationship between naturalism and materialism, and the place of atheism in transcendental materialism.
Other topics include, but are not limited to:
-Psychoanalysis and materialism
-The natural sciences and contemporary European philosophy
-Materialist accounts of gender and race
-Materialist accounts of life
-The role of materialist analysis in contemporary political theory
-Materialism and religion
-Psychoanalysis and the cognitive sciences (in particular, accounts of emergence)
-Critiques of new materialism and vitalism
-Materialist readings of modern philosophy and German idealism
-Material accounts of notions such as the will, affect, desire, anxiety, etc.
-Materiality in contemporary artistic and literary practice
-Marx and Marxism
-The work of Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, and Catherine Malabou
-Relational ontologies and theories of transindividuality
We welcome advanced graduate students and all rank of faculty to submit any of the following to be considered for this workshop: papers of approximately 2,500 words, paper abstracts of up to 300 words, and panel proposals of up to three papers. We especially encourage submissions for under-represented groups in the humanities.
Please send submissions (including author’s name and affiliation) to by March 1st, 2015.
This event is sponsored by The Center for the Humanities and Department of Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland.
For more information on the Working Group on Contemporary Materialism visit: and