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This reading group aims to explore a selection of seminal, and some lesser-known, works within 20th-century literary and cultural theory, focusing on those that have a bearing on questions of politics and culture which continue to resonate, often with increasing urgency, today.

Detail Summary
Date 20 September 2018
Time 16:00 - 18:00

The group will take its initial direction from the Frankfurt School of critical theorists, beginning by reassessing the account of politics and culture offered in Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) and the debates collected in Aesthetics and Politics (1977). Suggested future themes, which build on the concerns of the Frankfurt School and their contemporaries, include ‘violence’ (Schmitt, Benjamin, Arendt, Derrida, Agamben) and ‘truth’ (Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Debord). The group initially plans to meet once a month on Thursday afternoons for around two hours. The format will be open and informal. All staff and graduate students are welcome.

The first meeting will take place at 16.00-18.00 on Thursday 20 September in Vondelzaal, UB and will discuss the 1944 preface to Dialectic of Enlightenment as well as Chapter 1, ‘The Concept of Enlightenment’. Please contact Dr Ben Moore ( and Marc Farrant ( if you plan to attend, and to obtain a pdf copy of the reading.