CFP: “Walter Benjamin and Method: Re-thinking the Legacy of the Frankfurt School” Biennial Conference of the International Walter Benjamin Society 2017 | University of Oxford, England





Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2017

The interdisciplinary project of the Frankfurt School set out by Max Horkheimer in 1931 remains a powerful model for new work that combines insights from across traditional divisions between the humanities, the social and the natural sciences. In Horkheimer’s account, the rigorous pooling of concepts and methods from philosophy, cultural criticism, psychology, anthropology, biology, economics and sociology should be guided by normative questions about human flourishing (Horkheimer 1993). The Frankfurt School approach unites interdisciplinarity with an attention to ethics often missing in contemporary work on the borders between the humanities and the natural sciences. Looking back almost ninety years later, the power of the Frankfurt School’s approach is partially masked by the way in which, in addition to prefiguring the concerns of the twenty-first century, their arguments are shaped by the intellectual habits of the early 20th century, in particular a debt to Hegel’s concept of totality, and his brand of dialectical argument. The idea of the conference is to generate a critical discussion of Benjamin’s actual and potential contribution to methodologies across the disciplines he worked in. The focus on Benjamin’s method will enable a new perspective on the interdisciplinary project Horkheimer first set out in 1931.

The conference will be organized in six thematic strands with two convenors each. Panels in each strand will consist of three 20-minute papers.  Proposals [250 words] for 20-minute papers in either English or German should be submitted as Word documents to benjamin.conference@worc.ox.ac.uk.  The proposals should be anonymous, but please include your affiliation and a brief bio in the accompanying email, saying which strand(s) you wish to be considered for.

● Benjamin and the Study of Images and Imaging - Andrew Webber [Cambridge] / Caroline Sauter [Berlin] ● Benjamin and the Study of the Human - Ben Morgan [Oxford] / Mike Jennings [Princeton] ● Benjamin and Reading - Hindy Najman [Oxford] / Daniel Weidner [Berlin] ● Benjamin and Political Method - Yoav Rinon [Jerusalem] / Julia Ng (Goldsmith’s) ● Benjamin between Theology and Philosophy - Andrew Benjamin [Monash/Kingston] / Ilit Ferber [Tel Aviv] ● Benjamin’s Writings: Methodology, Archive, Edition – Carolin Duttlinger [Oxford] / Erdmut Wizisla [Berlin].

Event: September 25th-26th, 2017