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Announcing the SOF Spring 2024 Thursday Lecture Series Theme: Alternatives/Concessions

Announcements, Fellows, SOF Fellows

January 20, 2024

The Society of Fellows has selected Alternatives/Concessions as the theme for the spring 2023 edition of the Thursday Lecture Series.


Spring 2024 Thursday Lecture Series: Alternatives/Concessions
Comment from the Fellows:

The Spring 2024 theme for the Society of Fellows Thursday Lecture Series is “Alternatives/Concessions.” In framing something as an alternative, the theorist presupposes a normative point of departure and seeks to transcend it. An alternative exists only relationally as an ‘alternative to.’ The social, political, and economic crises of our time demand urgent critiques of our normative orders that go hand-in-hand with radical alternative horizons. "Concessions" is here conceived as a site where foundational antagonism between norm and alternative unfolds. It brings to the fore the long history of mediations and compromise that the radicality of the alternative often occults.

Exploring alternatives does not necessarily mean engaging in an imaginative, future-oriented endeavor. It can point to the study of new impossibilities, missed opportunities, and historical foreclosures. In the past tense, the distance between a norm and its alternatives frequently registers as forms of violence – physical, political, epistemic. To consider historical alternatives, then, is to disabuse ourselves of our universalisms and fatalistic notions of inevitability, to recast modernity as a contingent epistemological order, and to restore to the past the full spectrum of its possible futures.

With this lecture series, we invite our speakers to engage alternative histories, theories, and futures, and examine the multiple concessions that accompany the construction of such alternatives.

Full Spring TLS Lineup
All events take place in the Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room and online via Zoom. More information and registration at the links below.

February 22
Who Can Be Defended
Speaker: Jodi Dean, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
SOF Fellow: Ege Yumusak

February 29
Gaza as Epicentre: An Alternative Reading
Speaker: Tareq Baconi
SOF Fellows: Youssef Ben Ismail and Ege Yumuşak

March 7
Exploring the Politics of Dignity in the Spaces of Death
Speaker: Randa M. Wahbe
SOF Fellow: nyle fort

March 21
Palestine and the Origins of Afro-Asian Thought
Speaker: Esmat Elhalaby, University of Toronto
SOF Fellow: Youssef Ben Ismail

March 28
Literary Marronnage in the Colonial Indian Ocean: Slavery’s Alternate Futures
Speaker: Pratima Prasad, University of Massachusetts Boston
SOF Fellow: A. Véronique Charles

April 4
Mapping as Decolonial Praxis: From Algeria to Palestine and Hawaii
Speaker: Nour Joudah, University of California, Los Angeles
SOF Fellow: Iheb Guemazi

April 11
Sketching the Underground: Paradoxes of Becoming Modern in Imperial Russia’s Natural Resource Frontiers
Speaker: Colleen McQuillen, University of Southern California
SOF Fellow: Valeriia Mutc

April 25
The Smartness Mandate: Neo-liberalism, Artificial Intelligence, and Politics
Speaker: Orit Halpern, Technische Universität Dresden
SOF Fellow: Irina Kalinka