︎ Intensive Study Courses Spring 2022 - Official Call for Enrolment
Update: Application deadline extended until March 22.
You can also access the full brochure by clicking the image below
The School of Materialist Research (SMR)
is proud to announce its official call for enrolment for its Spring Semester of
online Intensive Study Courses (ISC) offered by the following illustrious faculty:
Thomas Nail, Giuseppe Longo, Cary Wolfe, AbdouMaliq Simone and Paul Cockshott
(alongside guest lecturer Keti Chukhrov). As always, our faculty will focus on
their own research, and will cover such topics as: Marxist Theory, Computation,
Mathematics, Ecology, Urbanism and much, much more.
Registration for all courses is now
officially open and all interested applicants can find the link to apply at the
end of this page. The courses themselves will begin in April, and last
throughout June, 2022. The deadline for applying is now March 22, 2022, and all
applicants will be informed of their status by March 30, 2022.
that if you are interested in applying for
scholarships/financial assistance that there is a distinct section in the application form specifically for this. Please be sure to fill out this section if
you need aid, or, unfortunately, you will not be eligible for assistance.
Please also note that scholarships are only available to those from the Global
South. Exceptions can be made for those outside of the official region if they find themselves in a situation of other global geo-political disparities
details below). To see if your country qualifies as Global South check here. The deadline for applying for scholarships is the same as the
general application (see more details below).
Below, you will also be able to find
important information on the ISC, including general requirements, information
on fees, discounts, and scholarships, and the type of certificates we offer.
SMR’s Intensive Study Courses are sponsored by the
Center for Philosophical Technologies at Arizona State University and the
Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje.
on Courses and Speakers
of Course: Materialism and Lucretius
Date of Classes:
May 31, June 7, June 14, June 21.
This course will be based on Thomas Nail's latest engagement with Lucretius Carus as part of his ongoing project of creating the epistemic possibilities for what he calls kinetic materialism. A key influence for this project lies in Nail's reading of Marx’s doctoral dissertation on the atomists and Epicurus/Lucretius in particular as the centerpiece of Marx's entire oeuvre. These are the topics covered in Lucretius III, constituting most of the syllabus of this course: "The Birth of Death," "Making History," "Evolutionary Materialism," "A Brief History of Language," "Eros and Civilization," "A Hymn to Ruin," "Unmaking History," to name a few.
Bio: Thomas Nail is Professor of Philosophy at the
University of Denver and author of numerous books, including The Figure of the
Migrant, Theory of the Border, Marx in Motion, Theory of the Image, Theory of
the Object, Theory of the Earth, Lucretius I, II, III, Returning to Revolution,
and Being and Motion. His research focuses on the philosophy of movement and
can be read online here.
of Course: The Radical Materiality of Life
Date of Classe: April 19, April 26, May 03, May 10.
Description of Course: For about 70 years, the spectre of bits and
bytes have been haunting the world, enriching and modifying interactions, and invading
matter and our knowledge about it. Derived from a debate in logic and
mathematics, the “potential mechanisability” of deduction has become a paradigm
for intelligence and life. Well separated from matter, the myth of
“(re-)programming evolution” is obscuring knowledge and the radical materiality
of life. We need to reinvent a dialectics of knowledge and of matter. This
course will be broken down into four distinct lectures covering the following
topics:1) The foundations of mathematics and the resistible rise of the
“information” and “programming” metaphors or the software/hardware split in
machines and in biology. 2) Randomness vs noise, from physics to biology. 3)
The technofix: science vs techno/pseudo-science in the pandemic, and 4)
Dialectical systems and beyond.
Giuseppe Longo. Information at
the Threshold of Interpretation, Science as Human Construction of Sense.In Bertolaso, M., Sterpetti, F.
(Eds.) A Critical Reflection on
Automated Science – Will Science Remain Human? pp. 67-100, Springer,
Giuseppe Longo. Programming
Evolution: a Crack in Science. A
Review of the book by Jennifer A. Doudna (Nobel Award 2020) and Samuel H.
Sternberg "A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to
Control Evolution", in Organisms.
Journal of Biological Sciences, 5, 1, 2021.
Giuseppe Longo, Caroline Petit, The Pandemic and the Technofix, To appear in Organisms, Journal of Biological Sciences.
More in: https://www.di.ens.fr/users/longo/download.html
Bio: Giuseppe Longo is DRE CNRS, at the Cavaillès,
République des Savoirs, interdisciplinary center of Ecole Normale Supérieure,
Paris and a former Professor of Mathematical Logic and of Computer Science,
University of Pisa. He spent three years in the USA (Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie
Mellon) as researcher and Visiting Professor. GL is co-author of about 140
papers. Founder and director (1990-2015) of Mathematical
Structures in Computer Science, a Cambridge U.P. journal, he co-authored
the book with A. Asperti, on Categories,
Types and Structures (M.I.T.
Press, 1991). He then extended his research interests to Theoretical Biology
and Epistemology, see the books with F. Bailly, Mathematics and the natural sciences: The Physical Singularity of Life(Hermann, Paris, 2006; Imperial College Press, London, 2011) and with M.
Montévil, Perspectives on Organisms:
Biological Time, Symmetries and Singularities (Springer, Berlin, 2014). GL
edited with A. Soto and D. Noble (and co-authored six papers of) a special
issue of Prog Biophys Mol Biol, From the century of the genome to the
century of the organism: New theoretical approaches, 2016. He recently
published ‘‘Matematica e senso. Per non
divenir macchine’’ (Mimesis,
2021). GL is currently focusing on historical correlations and on alternatives
to the new alliance between computational formalisms and the governance of man
and nature by algorithms and by supposedly objective "optimality"
methods. Web page:
of Course: Ecological Poetics: Creative/Critical Practices
in Art and Philosophy
Date of Classes: April 11-15.
of Course: These seminars will
be built around two distinct but related art projects that channel ecological
philosophy, and ecological questioning, through creative practice. The first
project began as a companion essay/artist’s statement for a photographic
triptych based on a small, primitive hut on a clear-cut site in the mountains
of Colorado, and evolved into a companion book entitled Ecology/Echography: Heidegger’s Hut—Three Displacements, which will
be published by Routledge next year. It uses Heidegger’s iconic hutte in the Black Forest (itself a
technology, a means of “enframing,” as he put it in “The Question Concerning
Technology”) as our jumping off point, and explores the relationship between
philosophy, ecology, and violence through three displacements. The first displacement concerns a famous visit to the hutte by the poet Paul Celan (whose
Jewish parents were killed in the camps during World War II) and the poem he
wrote about it. The second displacement expands the terrain into the broader
iconicity of huts in the history of philosophy and ecology, focusing on a suite
of projects by artist and experimental film-maker James Benning. In particular,
we’ll focus on his project Two Cabins, which
brings into conversation the cabin of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond (but
also his interest in civil disobedience and his support of John Brown’s
anti-slavery uprising) and the primitive dwelling of Theodore Kaczynski (also
known as “the Unabomber”) in Montana, whose serial bombings are motivated by
principles laid out in a lengthy treatise on “technological society” that is
not unrelated to Heidegger’s writings on technology, ecology, and modernity.
Benning forces us to ask, how different is Thoreau’s support of violence in the
battle against abolitionism and Kaczynski’s use of violence to protect the
earth from becoming what Heidegger called bestand, or “standing reserve”? The last displacement returns to the clear-cut in
Colorado to explore the relationship between representationalism, landscape,
violence, and ecology, revisiting and revising Heidegger’s notion of “dwelling”
as an environmental concept and material practice.
second project, “Experimental Forest,” is based in the high alpine zone of the
Vasquez Range in Colorado, near the headwaters of the Colorado River, at the
Fraser Experimental Forest, a 23,000 acre site that is part of the Rocky
Mountain Research Station’s Experimental Forest and Range System, founded in
1908. “Experimental Forest” is in part a loving portrait of this particular
place in the tradition of landscape photography stretching from Ansel Adams to
Edward Burtynsky, and in part a forensic documentation of the weird and often
low-tech aesthetics of scientific practice of the sort we find in the
biopolitical forensic projects of Taryn Simon. In any case, it is an inquiry
into the changing meanings of the concept of “eco-system” as those are
materialized, visibly and invisibly, on the site. The project centers on how
the strange and uncanny experience of stumbling upon the symbolic and material
network of scientific monitoring, tagging and cataloging devices in the middle
of a seemingly primeval forest—like stumbling upon the lost symbolic system of
another civilization for which one does not have the key—is a kind of visual
equivalent for the contrasting, asynchronous communications and monitoring
networks that we have before us: one visible above ground (a network of
monitoring stations scattered throughout the forest, devoted to air quality,
hydrology, forest management, and snowpack--the latter in partnership with NASA
satellite monitoring systems); and one invisible and beneath the soil, what has
recently been labeled the “Wood Wide Web”: a vast and complex network of
interconnections between plants and trees in the forest made possible by the
fine network of mycorrhizal fungi connecting root system to root system, a
network that some have compared to a kind of “brain” in the forest itself, by
which seemingly discrete and separate organisms are dynamically conjoined in
real time—and which makes it impossible to avoid the conclusion that the forest
is monitoring us as we monitor it. But what has followed hard on the
heels of this reconceptualization (in the best-selling work of Peter Wollheben,
Suzanne Simard, and others) is a thoroughgoing anthropomorphization of the
forest. By returning us to a more radicalized sense of the mutual imbrication
of technology and ecology, not just in posthumanist philosophy and science, but
also in tree-centric and forest-centric artworks by Mark Dion, Eija-Liisa
Ahtila, and others, this project asks what it would mean to make good on its
self-proclaimed slogan: “Keep the Forest Weird.”
Bio: Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor
of English at Rice University, where he is Founding Director of 3CT: Center for
Critical and Cultural Theory. His books and edited collections include Animal
Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory
(Chicago, 2003), Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (Minnesota, 2003)
What Is Posthumanism? (Minnesota, 2010), Before the Law: Humans and Other
Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (Chicago, 2012) and, most recently, Ecological
Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds (Chicago, 2020) and Art and Posthumanism:
Essays, Encounters, Conversations (Minnesota, 2021). In 2007 he founded the
series Posthumanities at the University of Minnesota Press, which has published
more sixty-five volumes to date by noted authors such as Donna Haraway, Roberto
Esposito, Isabelle Stengers, Michel Serres, Vilem Flusser, Jacques Derrida,
Vinciane Despret, and others.
of Course: Re-arrangements as Method
Date of Classes: June 09, June 16, June 23.
of Course: Through the lens of Black and Southern
urbanisms, this workshop considers how processes of re-composition, repair, and
refusal that produce repeatedly mutating re-arrangements of social life might
be used as a method to generate new questions about the spatial and temporal
dimensions of urban change
An entire substrate
of transitional constellations of effort, provisioning, care,
and regulation operate in tandem, and sometimes in conjunction, with more
conventionally organized social and political institutions. Not simply as a
parallel world or a reiteration of the well-worn binaries dividing formal and
informal, or separating explicit from tacit, but as a series of catalytic
operations that run underneath the discernible infrastructures of urban
life—operations that often are not detectable unless they are being re-arranged.
While such arrangements might be
understood as compensatory and adaptive, they are also conspicuously abductive. Rather than the corollary of
deliberate actions, these are operations offering hypothetical propositions for
how things might take place or indeed might already be taking place.
Whereas the work
and effects of institutions, with their genealogies, remits, and competencies,
are to a large extent specifiable according to their operating norms and the
various regulatory frameworks that govern their operations, the dispositions of arrangements—what they do, what they
actually bring about—are not readily definable or clear, enacting a form of
performative ambiguity. Involving workarounds, collaborations, exchanges, and
agreements that exceed the familiar protocols of interaction among households,
local authorities, markets, civil institutions, brokers, and service providers, arrangements entail the enactment of
caring, provisioning, regulating, mapping, and steering as the purview of more
provisional, incessantly mutating forms that fold in bits and pieces of
discernible institutions. In fact, arrangements assume the faint figuration of a stable entity, whose definitional boundaries
stretch and contract to such an extent that it becomes difficult to discern
exactly what is in or out. Arrangements are not structural movements, but rather, move through the sinews of
structures. This is why they are propositional, not in terms of the advocacy of
a specific scenario or resolution, but an opening up, a disruption of the
available analytical vernaculars, and a figuration of sense and action whose
time is only arriving now.
Bio: AbdouMaliq Simone is Senior Professorial Fellow at the Urban
Institute, University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at
the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town. Key publications
include, For the City Yet to Come: Urban
Change in Four African Cities, Duke University Press, 2004, and City Life from Jakarta to Dakar: Movements
at the Crossroads: Routledge, 2009, Jakarta:
Drawing the City Near: University of Minnesota Press, 2014, New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times,
Polity (with Edgar Pieterse, Polity 2017), Improvised Lives: Rhythms of
Endurance for an Urban South (Polity 2018), and The Surrounds: Urban Life Within and Beyond Capture (forthcoming,
Duke University Press).
Simone has worked for a wide range of multilateral institutions
and NGOs specializing in urban development, as well as holding academic
appointments at Medgar Evers College, the University of Khartoum, Cape Coast
University, Witwatersrand University (Johannesburg), the New School, and
Goldsmiths College, University of London. For decades he has travelled across
the world working with various municipalities, research groups and social
movements on issues of urban transformation.
Paul Cockshott (with guest lecturer Keti Chukhrov)
Title of Course: Seminars on Materialism
Date of Classes: June 06, June 08, June 10, June 13.
Description of Course: This
course will take place over four distinct seminars covering a broad range of
topics concerning materialism and computation:
entropy and capitalist mass production.
The first seminar will
introduce the notion of entropy in both the Boltzmann and Shannon sense and
show how, in different ways, understanding it was the key to mass production.
It will cover Babbage’s contributions both to computation and the analysis of
2. Heat, information and geometry.
The second seminar
will look at the work of Landauer on the, fundamentally, physicality of
computation. It will go on to examine how this sets limits to Moore's law and
to the advance of semiconductor technology. It will look at proposals to
overcome it via reversible computation.
3. Is there such a thing as
The third seminar will
explore the various proposals to overcome what is thought of as the Turing
limit to computation by introducing various ‘hypercomputing’ frameworks and
look at the epistemological and physical problems that these proposals run
4. Is the problem of economic
planning hyper computational?
The fourth seminar
will respond to the recent claims from writers of the Austrian school who have
recently started to put forward the idea that the problem of rational economic
planning is so complex that only the invention of supercomputing could solve
it. Given that we have critiqued hypercomputation, how should socialist
economists respond to this claim?
Bios: Paul Cockshott trained in Economics and Computer Science. He worked as a hardware
designer for ICL and Memex Ltd, later becoming an academic at the Universities
of Strathclyde and Glasgow. His research work in computing has included data
persistence, data compression, video coding, special purpose hardware
processors, 3D television, parallelising compilers and the physical foundations
of computability. His published work in economics has covered value theory,
models of profitability and economic planning. He retired in 2017 and is now an
honorary researcher at the University of Glasgow. His main books are: Towards a New Socialism, Classical
Econophysics, Computation and its
Limits and How the World Works. Translated editions of his work have been
published in half a dozen languages.
Keti Chukhrov - Doktor Habil in Philosophical
Sciences (2013), an associate professor at the School of Philosophy &
Сultural Studies at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). In 2017-2019 she
was a Marie Sklodowska Curie fellow in the UK, Wolverhampton University. She
has authored numerous texts on art theory and philosophy. Articles: The Philosophic Disability of Reason. Evald
Ilyenkov's Critique of Machinic Intelligence, Radical Philosophy. 2020. No.
207. P. 67-78; Epistemological Gaps
between the Socialist East and the Democratic West., in: Primary Documents. Art and Theory of
Post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Anthology. Duke University
Press, 2018. Ch. 39. P. 375-381.
Her latest book Practicing the Good. Desire and Boredom in
Soviet Socialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) deals with the
impact of socialist political economy on the epistemes of historical socialism.
Her full-length books include: To Be—To
Perform. ‘Theatre’ in Philosophic Critique of Art (European Un-ty, 2011),
and Pound &£ (Logos, 1999), and a
volume of dramatic writing: Merely Humans(2010). Her research interests and
publications deal with 1. Philosophy of performativity, 2. Soviet Marxist
philosophy and communist epistemologies 3. Art as the Institute of global Contemporaneity.
Further Information About the ISC
for Applying: March 22, 2022
for Admission Notification (this also includes the deadline for being informed of your scholarship status): March 30,
for Acceptance: Graduate level preparation for the
courses - the applicants do not necessarily need to have the formal level of
education that is equivalent to second and third cycle university study
programs; in case they do not, the motivation letter and the short bio should
suffice to assess their ability to follow the course. Applicants will be able
to fill out all of this information in the Application Form below.
Credit Information: ECTS/US credit certificates of 4/2
credits are offered by SMR which is a digital informal study platform of
European and US accredited higher education institutions, one of which holds an
Erasmus + Charter for Excellence of European Higher Education Institutions and
one of which is a US accredited HE institution. Applicants should also note
that the precise “grading” format for each of the individual courses will vary
from course to course, and may require, for instance, in addition to
attendance, the submission of short papers, reading and other assignments. Upon
the successful completion of a course, students will receive a certificate for
4 ECTS (2 US credits).
and Fees: For all students: a fee per course is 400
EURO for PhD holders, junior and senior faculty, and postdocs, and 220 EURO for
students and those who are unemployed. For those who wish to audit the courses,
and who are thus not eligible to receive a credit certificate, all courses will
cost 50 EURO. Full and partial scholarships will also be available to those
from the Global South.
for the Global South: Participants applying from the
Global South are eligible for both full and partial scholarships. Scholarships are granted based on motivation and academic excellence in line with the research priorities of SMR. In the case
of receiving a full scholarship, the applicant will not be subject to any fees
whatsoever. In the case of partial scholarships, a reduced fee for the course
or courses will be offered to the applicant. Please note that scholarships are
only available to those from the Global South, exceptions can be made for those outside of the official region if they find themselves in a situation of other global geo-political disparities. You can
check the official status of your country to see if you qualify as a Global South Country here. In the application form below you
will see a separate section at the end of the form which must be filled out if
you wish to be eligible for a scholarship. If this section is not filled out,
we will, unfortunately, not be able to consider you as a scholarship candidate.
Discounts: Applicants may apply to any amount of courses they wish, but should
be aware that each course is paid for separately, and that payment for one
course does not grant them access to any of the other courses. That being said,
applicants who take two or more courses will receive 50% off from the
total fee from the total amount of courses they have applied for.
Payment: Payment instructions will be sent to all successful applicants at the
same time they receive their acceptance letters. If anyone is financially unable
to make the payment, please contact us directly, and we will do our best to
make sure we work it out together.
to Apply: Interested applicants can find the full
application form here, as well as at
the very bottom of this page. Please also note that if you are eligible and
wish to apply for a scholarship you must fill out the relevant section in the
Application Form or you will not be eligible. All application forms must be
filled out in full and sent in by March 22, 2022, in order to be considered valid.
If you have any enquiries please send them to all of the following email
SMR: The School of Materialist Resarch is an international platform, founded
by the Center for Philosophical Technologies at Arizona State University, the
Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje, the Department for
Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics at TU Vienna, which, in
cooperation with the Critical Inquiry Lab at the Design Academy Eindhoven,
functions as a global online school combining education, research, and
mentorship to advance academic study at the intersection of the social sciences
and humanities (SSH) and the STEM sciences.