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					May 68: Toward the Naming of the Event
A one-day seminar at the University of Salford (Manchester)
Supported by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence ( and the European Studies Research Institute (

Friday 31st October 2008, 9:30-5:30pm, Crescent House 103

Seminar Programme
Aptly referred to at the time as „la brèche‟ (breach, rupture) and „éclatement‟ (explosion, outburst), yet forty years later the “May „68 events” have still to be named. Indeed today we are still waiting for the political nomination of these opaque events to be completed. But we are not merely waiting; we are eager to come to grips with this excess and therefore to pursue the related tasks of politically unfolding its consequences and philosophically operating its contemporary articulation with ruptures produced elsewhere and thinking the re-emergence of new possibles and thus the very possibility of a true politics. In keeping with these Badiousian premises it seems appropriate that this seminar on May 68 address political subjectivities and recurrent fidelities and be in particular focused on the extremely precarious and feeble character of the political subjectivities which sustained the May 68 events and on the intertwined links between previous and future events and fidelities. Did such precariousness announce the astonishing weakness of present political subjectivities? This subjective lack is of course no different in essence from the inherent weakness of any loyal political subjectivity; yet contemporary fidelities would seem to be more easily corrupted in our times of nearly absolute rule of the servile and greedy human animal, why? Why is it seemingly so difficult nowadays to uphold the emancipatory injunction „persevere, remain faithful, do not give up in your desire‟? Why faithful, dedicated and proud devotions to a vocation, e.g. in education or in health, have been subjugated and ruined with such an apparent calm and easy? But these are only one set of questions. After all the recently proclaimed wish to liquidate the heritage of May 68 proves not only that the trace of May 68 remains, but more tellingly that such obliteration is necessitated to construct the full, unified body of a morally cum economically rearmed France, which would thereby regain its status at the head of Europe, but this time, as the current EU policies on immigration show, of a retrograde Europe, morally rearmed through fear and economics. Even more important in the current circumstances are therefore the questions to do with identifying the actual positivities, the subjective productions, and thus the possibilities for opening a new sequence of emancipatory politics which can rely neither on the trodden forms of organized mass politics nor on the loosely knit, if wishfully proclaimed, movement of the multitudes. What are the actual possibilities for developing new political subjectivities, for kindling new political desires able to make a present out of the possible? What are the implications of previous events and fidelities and how may they be brought to or re-emerge renewed in our presentless present?

Programme 10 Registration

10:30–10:45 Introduction to the seminar: Is commemoration a sufficient relation to an event? (Dr Carlos Frade and Dr Peter Bratsis, University of Salford) 10:45–11:45 ‘Historical Conjunctures and Political Possibilities: May ‘68 through Lefebvre and Castoriadis’ (Dr Peter Bratsis, University of Salford), presentation followed by debate (Chair: Anna M. Kowalczyk, University of Salford) 11:45–12 12–01 Coffee break ‘Against Sociology? - '68 and the Modalities of Politics”’ (Dr. Alberto Toscano, Goldsmiths College, University of London), presentation followed by debate (Chair: Richard Ganis, University of Salford) Lunch ‘Sartre in ’68: on the Critique of Dialectical Reason as a precursor of '68 themes, and on Sartre's place in the '68 movement’ (Dr Nina Power, Roehampton University, London), presentation followed by debate (Chair: Will Jackson, University of Salford) Coffee break ‘Action and Education in May '68’ (Dr Oliver Feltham, American University of Paris), presentation followed by debate (Chair: Isabelle Darmon, University of Manchester) ‘May ’68 precocious subjects, the Weberian faithful ‘Wissenschaftler’ and the upsetting fate of the Academia’ (Dr Carlos Frade, University of Salford), presentation followed by debate (Chair: Nicolas Kang-Riou, University of Salford)
For further information please contact: Dr Peter Bratsis (Tel: 0161 295 6555 or Email:, Dr Carlos Frade (Tel: 0161 295 6552; e-mail: or Debbie Hughes (Tel: 0161 295 5614; e-mail:

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