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05.09.2020 09:58 Alter: 51 days

Adorno and Identity

Call for Papers

Theme: Adorno and Identity
Type: Virtual Workshop and Special Issue
Institution: Department of History, Princeton University
  Adorno Studies
Location: Online
Date: December/January 2020/21
Deadline: 12.10.2020

A virtual workshop on “Adorno and Identity,” with papers intended for
publication in a special issue of the journal Adorno Studies, is now
accepting abstracts from potential contributors.

Negative dialectics, Theodor Adorno wrote, “is suspicious of all
identity.” Nevertheless, identity is one of the central concepts
linking together Adorno’s wide-ranging corpus. This issue pursues a
timely and interdisciplinary revisitation of the notions of identity,
the nonidentical, and negative identity in Adorno, prompted by
several recent studies: Eric Oberle’s “Theodor Adorno and the Century
of Negative Identity,” Fumi Okiji’s “Jazz As Critique: Adorno and
Black Expression Revisited,” and Oshrat Silberbusch’s “Adorno’s
Philosophy of the Nonidentical: Thinking as Resistance.” These works
serve as a common point of departure for revisiting Adorno’s thought
at a moment in which identity has become a central and hotly debated
concept. The goal of this issue is twofold: to use Adorno’s work to
develop more conceptually robust and nuanced notions of identity and
nonidentity, and to advance critical theory by connecting Adorno’s
work to broader conversations about identity in adjacent fields.

Contributors will revisit Adorno’s writings on race, fascism,
antisemitism, gender, and sexuality alongside his conception of
subjectivity as a dialectic of identity and non-identity in his works
of philosophy and writings on art, literature, and music. In
particular, this issue offers an opportunity to restage missed
encounters between Adorno and Black thought and music. Noting that
“what [Adorno] fails to realize is that jazz emerges from a subject
constituted by the holding of contradictory positions” — a subject
that is not self-identical — Okiji’s work considers jazz as a form of
critical self-reflection within Black life that “creates an unstable,
ever constellating gathering of difference” and thereby approaches
the “union of differentiation” and “difference without fear” that
Adorno called for. Oberle’s study of “negative identity” highlights
the contact Adorno made in exile with American sociology and racial
violence and explores resonances with the rich legacy of W. E. B. Du
Bois and his theorization of race as a “wound in the fabric of
universality.” Silberbusch’s philosophical study recenters the
nonidentical as a powerful tool for making visible and resisting
social suffering. Contributors are invited to engage with these
projects and expand upon Adorno’s conception of dialectics as
“nonidentity through identity,” broadly and imaginatively conceived,
and especially to consider underexplored connections between Adorno’s
work and ethnic, gender, and sexuality studies.

The editors of Adorno Studies have expressed their enthusiasm for
this special issue, and the journal’s electronic format will allow
the inclusion of audio-visual material such as music.

Planned contributors, expanding on a previous workshop that took
place at the German Studies Association annual conference in 2019
include: Asaf Angermann, Jonathon Catlin, Eric Oberle, Fumi Okiji,
Oshrat Silberbusch, Martin Shuster, Sebastian Truskolaski, and Moira

Submission guidelines:

Please submit abstracts of approximately 500 words and a short
biographical note to Jonathon Catlin at by
Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

A virtual workshop for participants to exchange drafts and a virtual
public roundtable event for broader discussion on the topic are
planned for December 2020 or January 2021 at a date suitable for all
invited participants.


Jonathon Catlin, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of History, Princeton University