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CfP: ‘Critique of Violence’ 100 years later— On the actuality of Walter Benjamin’s violence essay

5 05-02:00 junho 05-02:00 2020

2021 will mark the centenary of Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence.” Contexto Internacional seeks short contributions on Benjamin in relation to the fast and slow violences of our present moment. Kristina Hinz (Free University of Berlin), Ludmila Franca-Lipke (Free University of Berlin), and Fatima Gabriela Soares de Azevedo (Rio de Janeiro State University) serve as guest editors of the forum. Full call for papers below.

‘Critique of Violence’ 100 years later—
On the actuality of Walter Benjamin’s violence essay

In 1921, Walter Benjamin published, at the age of only 28, his controversial essay ‘Critique of Violence’, representing an account on the republican model of governance in the light of the First World War. Identifying an intrinsic relationship between law and coercion, ‘Critique of Violence’ has become a highly influential text for the discussion on the role of violence in politics.

One hundred years after its original publication, the text has only gained in popularity. Contemporary scholars such as Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek and Judith Butler continue to engage with the violence essay, and have put forward their own, highly contrasting interpretations of ‘divine violence’ and ‘bare life.’

While the world has seen profound changes since the original publication of ‘Critique of Violence’, both the years 1921 and 2021 share the emergence of authoritarian forces in many countries, coupled with profound social and cultural changes, and economic depression. However, many of today’s most urgent questions and challenges, such as environmental conflicts and the climate crisis, forced migration and displacement, racialized conflicts and state violence, and, last but not least, the marginalization of LGBTIQ+ individuals and the rollback of women’s rights, call into question the actuality of Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’ and its concepts.

We seek to organize a forum of short critical reflections on Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’ 100 years after its original publication. We invite selected scholars in international relations, political theory, philosophy, law and other fields to contribute with pieces of approximately 3,000 words, for possible publication in Contexto Internacional in May of 2021.

We aim to stimulate new conversation on Benjamin’s ’Critique of Violence’ along the following lines, though we are open to other critical themes:
● Gendered and queer perspectives on legal violence: rollback of women’s and LGBTQI+ rights, organization and resistance (for example, the women’s strike).
● ‘Bare life’ in current world politics: refugees, displaced persons and legally marginalized groups.
● Postcolonial and intersectional perspectives on the ‘history of the oppressed’.
● (Racialized) law enforcement violence, resistance and insurgent movements (for example, Mães de Maio, Black Lives Matter)
● ‘Divine violence’ and reflections on ecological crises (for example, climate change, COVID-19 pandemic).
● State and global neoliberalism: urbanism, punitivism and access to essential goods.
● Law and critique of law: limits of the human rights regime and the democratic institutions amid the rise of authoritarian forces.

In order to foster the critical appreciation of this canonical European author, we are particularly interested in approaches that propose perspectives and discuss cases from the Global South.

Given the intention to publish the Forum in 2021, the deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 July 2020. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and must be made through the Scholar One system: https://mc04.manuscriptcentral.com/cint-scielo

Please identify your abstract as ‘Critique of Violence centenary forum.’

Upon acceptance, the deadline for the submission of the complete article is 15 October 2020.

Guest Editors for this forum:
Kristina Hinz (Free University of Berlin)
Ludmila Franca-Lipke (Free University of Berlin)
Fatima Gabriela Soares de Azevedo (Rio de Janeiro State University)

Editors of Contexto Internacional:
Jimmy Casas Klausen (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)
Paula Sandrin (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

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