The lecture of Dimitris Vardoulakis "Stasis and Agonistic Democracy" will take place in the European University in Saint-Petersburg on June, 2 at 3.30 p.m.

Description of the lecture:

Aristotle’s Athenian Constitution (8.5) mentions a strange law devised by Solon according to which whoever does not participate in stasis (discord) is to lose his citizenship and to be expelled from the city. This statement is surprising – even paradoxical – given that Solon was chosen by the Athenians precisely in order to put an end to the stasis (civil strife) that was ravaging the city. In the present paper, I will discuss the relevance of this Solonian law. I will argue that it provides the model for an alternative conception of agonistic democracy, which is not commensurable with liberalism. In fact, it is an agonism which is closer to radical democracy. In particular, by drawing a distinction between different types of stasis, it is possible to adumbrate a democratic agonism which consists in the imbrication of the political, the ontological and ethical. In this sense, the Solonian law of stasis is a precursor to Spinozan politics.

Dimitris Vardoulakis is the chair of the Philosophy Research Initiative at the University of Western Sydney. He is the director of the lecture series “Thinking out Loud: The Sydney Lectures in Philosophy and Society” (which is also published by Fordham University Press), and the co-editor of the book series “Incitements” (Edinburgh University Press). His books include, the monographs: The Doppelgänger: Literature’s Philosophy (Fordham UP, 2010) and Sovereignty and its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence (Fordham UP, 2013) and the edited collections Spinoza Now (U of Minnesota P, 2011), The Politics of Nothing: on Sovereignty (Routledge, 2013) and “Sparks will fly”: Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger (SUNY, 2014). His book Stasis: On Agonistic Democracy is forthcoming by Fordham University Press in 2015.

The issue is dedicated to the concept of negativity which is currently in the center of philosophical discussion. The articles take different positions on the role and value on negation in thought, but they all agree on the undeniable importance of denying. From the study of idyosincratic declinations and tropes, philosophy returns to simpler and at the same time more dramatic logical concerns. How to deal with the unwanted past, how to carve a space of subjectivity in the sea of information, and where to derive the negative force to do it? The authors search negativity in different loci, such as theatre, literature, animal nature; some criticize it, some praise, some see it as a critical, others, as an attacking violent power. All of this taken together gives a great introduction to contemporary thinking.