What is the role of critical theory today and who is it for? What kind of maps can theory provide in the context of entrenched capitalist crisis? These are some of the questions posed by this seminar series.
In the aftermath of various mutations of twentieth-century 'critical theory' (Frankfurt School, 'French Theory', etc.), proponents of 'postcritique' have argued that critical theory has 'run out of steam'. Instead, this seminar series starts from the premise that 21st-century crisis has also generated dynamic new ways of reconsidering these questions. A critical theory of the present is necessarily a crisis theory.
In this session, Benjamin Noys will give a talk entitled “The Crisis of the Future”:
In the face of what Franco 'Bifo' Berardi and Mark Fisher have called 'the slow cancellation of the future' contemporary theory has often responded by stressing the utopian possibilities of 'inventing the future' or turning to a fundamental past ontological rift or wounding. The crisis of the future, I wish to suggest, is in fact a crisis of the imagination of the present. In contrast to the invention of the future, or the turn to the past, I argue we need to de-invent the future and return to the present as a fraught and fragmentary site of struggle.
Benjamin Noys is Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Chichester. Among other works, Noys is the author of The Persistence of the Negative (2010), a critical assessment of contemporary Continental thought, and Malign Velocities (2014), a historical reconstruction and critique of accelerationism. Noys's next work is The Matter of Language: Abstraction and Poetry, forthcoming with Seagull Books (2022).