HS2015: Drucilla Cornell, Master Class "The Spirit of Revolution"

Instructors: Prof. Drucilla Cornell and Stephen D. Seely, Rutgers University

Time: November 3-5, 10am to 5pm

Place: Kanonengasse 27, Seminarraum EG

Registration: For further informations and the material that has to be prepared please contact the coordinator of the Graduate program in Gender Studies: Andrea Zimmermann.





In recent years, feminist and queer theory have effectively disavowed both the human and revolutionary politics. In the face of massive geopolitical crisis, posthumanists have called for us to fundamentally reconsider the superiority and centrality of mankind and the human, and question how Man can presume to change the world by revolutionary action, particularly when Marx’s dreams seem to have been swept into the dustbin of history.

„The Spirit of Revolution“ by Drucilla Cornell and Stephen Seely reaffirms what is most basic in feminism - the attack on the universality and sovereignty of Man - but contends that the only way this can mean anything other than pessimistic rhetoric is to embrace human agency and the struggle against colonialism and capitalism. In a series of creolized readings - Foucault with Ali Shari ati, Lacan with Fanon, and Spinoza with Sylvia Wynter - the authors of this provocative book demonstrate what is at stake in the ongoing debate between humanism and posthumanism, putting this debate in the context of contemporary global crises and the possibilities of revolution.

In its defense of political spirituality, this book pushes for a new trajectory in response to the gross inequalities of today, one that offers us a very different view of revolution and its present-day potential.

During the Master Class Drucilla Cornell and Stephen Seeley will not only introduce their new book „The Spirit of Revolution“ but will also focus on other questions central to Cornell’s work like the substantive revolution in South Africa and her project uBuntu. Participants are also invited to present their own projects that relate to Cornell’s work and/ or the questions raised by „The Spirit of Revolution“.


About the Instructor:

Drucilla is Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Women's & Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.

Prior to beginning her life as an academic, Cornell was a union organizer for a number of years. She worked for the UAW, the UE, and the IUE in California, New Jersey, and New York. She played a key role in organizing the conference on deconstruction and justice at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1989, 1990, and 1993-a conference at which Jacques Derrida is thought by many to have made his definitive philosophical turn toward the ethical. In addition, she has worked to coordinate Law and Humanities Speakers Series with the Jacob Burns Institute for Advanced Legal Studies and the Committee on Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research. Professor Cornell was professor at the Cardozo School of Law from 1989 to 1994. From 1994-2001, she was professor of law at Rutgers-Newark Law School. Her other academic appointments include visiting distinguished professor of philosophy at Warwick University, UK; visiting professor of philosophy at SUNY Stonybrook; professor at the National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute. She has been a senior fellow at A.D. Whitehouse, Cornell University, and a Mellon fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Professor Cornell earned her B.A. in philosophy and mathematics from Antioch College in 1978, and her J.D. from UCLA Law School in 1981.