Conversations 2 CFP: Cavell and History


Whatever one makes of Cavell’s writings, one can hardly say they are historical. We are told, for example, America’s military entanglement weighs in on his thoughts in Disowning Knowledge, but what exactly has King Lear to do with Vietnam? Does the essay require, or deserve, proper historicizing? Would such an exercise be to the benefit of Cavellian study, or to its detriment?

Moreover, Cavell himself explicitly, if still somewhat coyly, historicizes his skeptical argument in the introduction to his collection of essays on Shakespeare. Coy, because Cavell is hardly interested in employing a “professional” historical methodology. When he discusses the “advent of skepticism,” as, historically speaking, marking the appearance of Shakespeare, Descartes, and the New Science, he notes also that, fictionally speaking, the Roman world of Shakespeare, as depicted in Antony and Cleopatra, is “haunted by the event of Christianity.” Do competing threads of Romanization, Christianization, the advent of skepticism, the New Science, and, say, Renaissance theatre require sorting out?

Lastly, in discussing the appearance of what he coins the seven comedies of remarriage in Pursuits of Happiness, he expressly denies a cause-and-effect relationship leading to the appearance of this new genre:

My thought is that the genre emerges full-blown, in a particular instance first (or a set of them if they are simultaneous), and then works out its internal consequences in further instances. So that, as I would like to put it, it has no history, only a birth and a logic (or a biology). (27-28)

Once again, we accept submissions from all theoretical perspectives and disciplines and encourage attempts to assimilate seemingly disparate disciplinary areas of Cavell’s thinking. For the second issue of Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies, the editors welcome papers that engage with Cavell’s different, perhaps undecided or indecisive, views on history and historicization. Possible paper topics include:

• historicizing Cavell
• the use of Cavell in broader philosophical discourse
• philosophizing history
• historicizing philosophy
• the authority of history versus the authority of self
• the influence of Marx on Cavell’s thought
• the influence of Heidegger on Cavell’s thought
• the influence of Hegel on Cavell’s thought.

Papers should be no more than 6000 words, including footnotes, and must follow the notes and bibliography citation system described in The Chicago Manual of Style. We also welcome shorter, more intimate pieces addressing specific questions (800-1200 words). Complete articles should be sent to Sérgio Dias Branco (University of Coimbra) and Amir Khan (University of Ottawa) no later than 31 July 2014.

A História de Arte como Ciência Excêntrica


A Revolução Tem de Estar Perto (Parte 1)


“A Crise da Europa” de Abel Salazar (1942...)


II.º Congresso Internacional Marx em Maio


Pájaro, flor, violín


Un pájaro vivía en mí.
Una flor viajaba en mi sangre.
Mi corazón era un violín.

Quise o no quise. Pero a veces
me quisieron. También a mí
me alegraban: la primavera,
las manos juntas, lo feliz.

¡Digo que el hombre debe serlo!

Aquí yace un pájaro.
Una flor.
Un violín.

JUAN GELMAN, “Epitafio”

Destroying “Art”


One-millionth part of the inventiveness which every man shows in his daily work in the factory, the work, in the field, that already contains an element of what people single out as so-called “art.”

The very term “art” is counter-revolutionary in essence, since it shelters a whole caste of privileged people, who imagine themselves to be not people but the miracle workers of this same “art.” Inspiration, or rather an enthusiasm for your work, is not the prerogative of these “Magi,” but also of every worker on the Volkhov Hydro-Electric Plant, every driver in his train, every turner at his lathe.

Destroying once and for all the term “art,” we should not, of course, bring it back in another form, let’s say under the sauce of “artistic labor.” It is essential that we establish definitively that there is no border between artistic and non-artistic labor.

DZIGA VERTOV, “An Answer to Five Questions”

A Beleza do Novo


De tudo o que é novo nasce um novo prazer,
mas eu sei que não é boa a jovem morte.

Ela fere pelas costas, e não é doce como o açúcar,
nem é como o vinho, nem como o sumo das uvas.

AL-HOUTAY’A, “Tudo o que é Novo é Belo”, in O Bebedor Nocturno: Poemas Mudados para Português por Herberto Helder

International Colloquium of Phenomenology and Cinema


Conversations 1


The inaugural issue of Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies, which I co-edit with Amir Khan, has now been published. We are grateful to the University of Ottawa for supporting this project. The contents may be downloaded here or, alternatively, here:

“Genesis: Editorial Comment”, Sérgio Dias Branco and Amir Khan


“Me, Myself and Us: Autobiography and Method in the Writing of Stanley Cavell”, Timothy Gould (Metropolitan State University Denver)

“A Scarred Tympanum”, Chiara Alfano (University of Sussex)

“Medium and the “End of the Myths”: Transformation of the Imagination in The World Viewed”, Daniel Wack (Knox College)

“Stanley’s Taste: On the Inseparability of Art, Life, and Criticism”, Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira (University of Lisbon)

“Seeing Souls: Wittgenstein and Cavell on the ‘Problem of Other Minds’”, Jônadas Techio (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)

“Un Poète Maudit: Stanley Cavell and the Environmental Debate”, Tomaž Grušovnik (University of Primorska)