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Risk, Violence, and Collective Agency

22 may 2019 10:00 - 18:00
Institut d'études avancées de Paris
17 quai d'Anjou
Hôtel de Lauzun
75004 Paris

Colloquium organized by Michael Jonik, 2018-2019 Paris IAS fellow


Many humanities and social science scholars have focused on the concept of risk to better understand the vicissitudes of our current volatile economic, ecological, social or political situations. At the same time, from another perspective, many scholars have also not only decentered the rational human subject as the key agent of historical or political change, but have further articulated non-anthropocentric materialist philosophies of distributed or collective agency. Together, these have called into question individual volition and acknowledged the precarious interdependence of human subjects with nonhuman actants.

Nonetheless, there has been comparatively little work to bring theories of risk and collective agency to bear on the question of violence, despite its historical and contemporary importance. This colloquium, then, will assemble a multidisciplinary group of literary scholars, philosophers, sociologists and historians to explore the interrelation of concepts of risk, violence, and collective agency. Participants will do so in a number of literary, historical and geographical contexts, such as Rimbaud’s or Zola’s Paris, Dostoevsky’s or Mandelstam’s Russia, or the 16th century French religious wars and the Armenian genocide. Conversations will engage the critical and philosophical work of Hobbes, Goethe, Arendt, Berlin, Derrida or Balibar. What is at stake is how theories of risk and collective agency might reveal new ways of understanding not only acts of violence or massacre, nihilism and collective political affect, collective will and democracy, or totalitarianism and genocide, but also the complexities of their aesthetic, literary, historiographical or sociological representations.



10:00   Welcoming speech and introductory remarks
Michael Jonik (University of Sussex / Paris IAS)

10:15 - 11:00   "De l'esprit critique : un défi pour la démocratie"
Marc Crépon (École normale supérieure)

11:00 - 11:30   Break

11:30 - 12:15   “‘Tinged with Blood’: Some Meanings of Violence in Poetry of the Russian Revolution”
Andrew Kahn (University of Oxford / Paris IAS)

12:15 - 13:00   “Agency and Fatalism”
Kei Hiruta (University of Oxford / Paris IAS)

13:00 - 14:15   Lunch Break

14:15 - 15:00   Occasion: Crisis, Collective Violence, and Price-setting in Zola and Rimbaud, 1871”
Geoff Gilbert (The American University of Paris)

15:00 - 15:45   “Demonology: Violence and Political Agency in Dostoevsky and Conrad”
Michael Jonik (University of Sussex / Paris IAS)

15:45 - 16:15   Break

16:15 - 17:00   “Violence and Genocidal Risk”
Hakan Seckinelgin (London School of Economics / Paris IAS)

17:00 - 18:00   Roundtable Discussion: Joachim Savelsberg (University of Minnesota / Paris IAS), Penny Roberts (University of Warwick / Paris IAS), Andrew Kahn (University of Oxford / Paris IAS), Kei Hiruta (University of Oxford / Paris IAS), Michael Jonik (University of Sussex / Paris IAS) 


Événement complet
Berlin's Bête Noire: Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin on Freedom, Politics and Humanity
01 September 2018 - 30 June 2019
Clandestine Confessional Networks during the French Religious Wars
01 February 2019 - 30 June 2019
Anarchists, Scientists, Lovers, and Con-Men: Risk and the Nineteenth-Century Novel
01 October 2018 - 30 June 2019
Light in Russia: Studies in Enlightenment Thought
01 September 2018 - 30 June 2019
Memories that Forget: The Conceptual Grammar of Forgetting the Armenian Genocide in Turkey and Its Implications for Social Relations
01 February 2019 - 30 June 2019
Acknowledgment, denial and collective memories of mass atrocities: comparative perspectives
01 February 2019 - 30 June 2019
22 May 2019 18:00
Andrew Kahn,Hakan Seckinelgin,Joachim J. Savelsberg,Kei Hiruta,Michael Jonik,Penny Roberts
Conferences and workshops
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region
History, philosophy and sociology of science