Speculative Midievalisms

I caught this on Stuart Elden’s blog, and it should be of some interest to those who read this blog. At the least, given the speakers, you know it’s not going to be boring (not that midievalism could ever be such).

What the Speculative Medievalisms project desires, then, is fruitful dialogue and creative, mutual cross-contamination between medieval ideas ofspeculatio, the cultural-historical position of the medieval as site of humanistic speculation, and the speculative realists’ “opening up” of “weird worlds” heretofore believed impenetrable by philosophy—as Graham Harman has written, “the specific psychic reality of earthworms, dust, armies, chalk, and stone.”[13] The BABEL Working Group is especially keen to serve as a launch site of this dialogue because of its broad investment in co-affective (even co-poetic) forms of scholarship, that is, shared intellectual work that takes seriously the medley of personal and political desires that inform research and structure its academic and para-academic communities.[14] Speculative realist work, as the term would suggest, is broadly characterized by the self-contradictory intensity of a desire for thought that can think beyond itself. Yet it pursues this desire (as exemplified in the work of speculative realist auctoresRay BrassierIain Hamilton GrantGraham Harman, and Quentin Meillassoux) in thoroughly rationalist terms. At the same time, speculative realist work is gaining appeal and influence outside of the specifically philosophical academic community, among artists and literary scholars. This is due primarily to the palpable (albeit under-acknowledged) ethical, aesthetic, and even sensuous lineaments of speculative realist writings, which have the heroic-quixotic charm of works that, as the editors of the forthcoming volume The Speculative Turn (re.press) put it, “depart from the text-centered hermeneutic models of the past and engage in daring speculations about the nature of reality itself.”