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of Direct Action

June 10-17, 2020


Can Poeti,
Les Planes d'Hostoles


Photo Credit: Tony Sprackett



Julia Fierman Columbia University, City University of New York; Valeria Korablyova Charles University; Elena Rodina Northwestern University; Matyáš Křížkovský Charles University; Juho Korhonen, Boğaziçi University; Aaron Jacobs Brown University; Pablo Ouziel University of Victoria




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Organized by:

The participants of the workshop listed above with the support of:

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“Our house is on fire.” Climate change has produced catastrophic visions of a global crisis unfolding before our eyes whose consequences will be as unforgivable as they will be irreversible. Even as the reality of climate change bears down upon us with increasing speed, it could also be taken as a metaphor for another contemporary crisis of perhaps comparable severity and scope. As the waters rise, the far right has seized upon this moment to move to the center of the global political stage. Their means of taking power have varied from place to place. Some have achieved newfound prominence through dramatic electoral victories, while elsewhere extraparliamentary procedures have served to elevate their status. Whether via the practice of regular representative politics, or with the aid of systematic voter suppression, election rigging, the quashing of dissent, the imprisonment of dissidents, or even coups d’etat, their tactics have differed but their collective ascent is unmistakable. From the Global North to the Global South, both in the former Communist East and the capitalist West, they threaten the shallowest of democratic traditions as well as the deepest.

Such a moment calls for addressing the convergent political aspirations of those seeking to resist and subvert efforts to dismantle democratic institutions from within, locally as well as globally. Study and debate alone are far from sufficient responses, but they may prove indispensable nonetheless. Coming from diverse intellectual and personal backgrounds our working group shares a commitment to comparative analysis as a means toward illuminating the specificities of local conditions as well as historical conjunctures on scales that approach the global. Counting among ourselves sociologists, political theorists, political scientists, historians, anthropologists, scholars in journalism and media studies, our intention is oriented more toward generating moments of contact or even collision than it is defining a concrete research agenda that fully harmonizes our intellectual labor. We plan to gather together next summer around a shared topic of our choosing: namely, the phenomenology of direct action.

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