June 29, 2012 by Peter Gratton
Before putting the announcement, let me note the link has recordings of other great talks from this seminar series…
The Writing & Society Research Centre and the Philosophy Research Initiative at University of Western Sydney, Australia presents following seminar on Wednesday July 4:
SPEAKER: Peter Gratton (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
TITLE: Spinoza and the Biopolitical Roots of Modernity
TIME: July 4, 3-5pm
PLACE: UWS Bankstown Campus, 3.G.55
Much has been written about bio-political sovereignty in the wake of Giorgio Agamben’s work, which relies, at least in the first volume of Homo Sacer, on Carl Schmitt’s transcendental account of sovereignty. I will argue, however, that Foucault and Arendt rightly identify what Derrida once called the “changing shape and place of sovereignty” in modernity, which for them is horizontal and disseminated within a presupposed nation. For this reason, we will look to the source of modern philosophical immanentism, Spinoza, to show that he is not extrinsic to this modern bio-politics, and demonstrates how the sovereign exception and its nationalized version work hand-in-glove in the era of which he was a part. In this way, we argue that it is Spinoza’s political theology, not Schmitt’s, that is the better pass-key to what Foucault and Arendt identify as biopolitical. By doing so, I put in tension two trends in recent Continental philosophy–philosophical vitalism and the critique of biopolitics–while raising questions about the use of political, if not ontological, forms of immanence.
For the entire 2012 program of the Philosophy seminar series at UWS see this page.