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︎ 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.

Please note 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 (more 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.



Information on Courses and Speakers 

Thomas Nail

Title of Course:
Materialism and Lucretius

Date of Classes:  May 31, June 7, June 14, June 21.

Description of Course:
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.

Giuseppe Longo

Title 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.

Relevant References

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, Dordrecht, 2019

https://www.di.ens.fr/users/longo/files/Information-Interpretation.pdf

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.

https://www.di.ens.fr/users/longo/files/LongoReview-DoudnaBook.pdf

Giuseppe Longo, Caroline Petit, The Pandemic and the Technofix, To appear in Organisms, Journal of Biological Sciences.

https://www.di.ens.fr/users/longo/files/LONGO-PETIT-Technofix.pdf

More inhttps://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: http://www.di.ens.fr/users/longo/

Cary Wolfe

Title of Course:
Ecological Poetics: Creative/Critical Practices in Art and Philosophy

Date of Classes:
April 11-15.

Description 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.

The 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.

AbdouMaliq Simone

Title of Course:
Re-arrangements as Method

Date of Classes: 
June 09, June 16, June 23.

Description 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 and Computation

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:

1. Information, 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 capitalist industry.

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 hypercomputation?

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 into.

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

Deadline for Applying:
March 22, 2022

Deadline for Admission Notification (this also includes the deadline for being informed of your scholarship status):
March 30, 2022.

Requirements 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).

Certificates 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.

Scholarships 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.

How 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 addresses:

schoolofmaterialistresearch@gmail.com

zach.d.dejong@gmail.com

info@isshs.edu.mk

CPT@exchange.asu.edu

About 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.

Application Form