Terra Critica II: Second Workshop of the International Network of the Critical Humanities

From Three Critiques to Three Guineas and Three Ecologies: grappling with critique beyond negativity and judgment

This 2nd workshop of the network Terra Critica. International Network of the Critical Humanities (http://terracritica.net) takes place on 22 and 23 November 2013 at Utrecht University.

It is organized as an intensive expert seminar, wishing to provide an environment to discuss the relevance of critique in and for the Humanities today, the forms it can take and the challenges it faces.

The second workshop is made possible by the generous financial support from

  • Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON), Utrecht University
  • Focus Area Cultures & Identities, Utrecht University
  • The Netherlands Research School for Gender Studies NOG
  • The Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies OSL
  • Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis NICA
  • Amsterdam Center for Globalization Studies ACGS
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Kattendijk & Drucker Stichting
  • Back to the Book (NWO-Project)

Kathrin Thiele (Gender Studies, Utrecht University)
Birgit Kaiser (Comparative Literature, Utrecht University)

Workshop readings

  • Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas (links below)
  • Félix Guattari’s Three Ecologies (pdf available upon request)
  • Intervention papers (instructions below)

PhD students are invited to participate (upon application) in the expert seminar Terra Critica II. Given the limited number of places, we ask that you send a brief letter of motivation, stating your interest in the topic and its relation to your own research (ca. 200 words). The letter can be sent to B.M.Kaiser@uu.nl and K.Thiele@uu.nl. Please submit it no later than 20 October 2013.

All accepted participants will be notified by 25 October 2013. They are asked to read the materials for the workshop beforehand (Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas; Félix Guattari, Three Ecologies; and intervention papers prepared by all senior participants (distributed one week before the meeting)).

Workshop Information
Building on the first workshop in 2012, this second one continues the discussion and takes place under the heading ‘From Three Critiques to Three Guineas and Three Ecologies: grappling with critique beyond negativity and judgment. It wants to take up the intellectual heritage that critical investigations cannot do without, while at the same time moving to very contemporary concerns and perspectives. The idea behind this thematic choice and of basing our discussion on Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas (1938) and Félix Guattari’s Three Ecologies (1989) is not only to take up ‘other 3’s’ in critical thinking, after Kant’s three Critiques. It is rather also due to the fact that we see these two texts as promisingly rich for our questions in a double sense:
a) the mode in which critique is practiced here
b) the subject matters these critical interventions raise

As for the mode in which critique is practiced, writing, address, experimentation, speculation, story-telling, fact and fiction, but also rhetoric, dis/affection, pleasure seem to be of importance in both texts.
As for subject matters, education, emancipation, environment, aesthetics, life, death, and capital are major recurring themes in both texts, sometimes more, sometimes less explicit, but important to these critical enunciations in 1938 resp. 1989.

What can we draw from them for terran existence today? What difference do/did these ‘critiques’ introduce for which tomorrows? Which concepts and practices can we distil from them? Which of these can we use to re-examine critique as an ‘affirmative’ practice?
These are some of the questions, themes, and modi that the workshop will explore. Upon the shared terrain of Woolf’s and Guattari’s texts, other thinkers and topics can also be brought in.

Workshop-procedure and intervention paper
Our discussions take place on the basis of these two texts, which everyone has read beforehand. We dedicate one day to each text and will lead our discussion based on the intervention papers by senior participants (PhD’s are not asked to write an intervention paper, but to participate in the preparatory intensive seminar).

! Preparatory Intensive Seminar !
In order to make the most of the expert seminar, participating PhDs are asked to also take part in the preparatory Intensive Seminar Terra Critica: Critique beyond negativity and judgment? on

Thursday, 21 Nov 2013, time: 14.00 to 17.00, location: tba

Issues discussed during Terra Critica I 2012 will be rehearsed and discussed here. You cannot join the workshop without having taken the seminar.

The seminar is conducted by the workshop-conveners, Kathrin Thiele and Birgit Kaiser.

Readings for the Intensive Seminar:

  • Michel Foucault, ‘What is Critique?’ (free download: http://anthroposlab. net/documents/archive/foucault-what-is-critique)
  • Judith Butler, What is Critique?’ (available online: http://eipcp.net/transversal/0806/butler/en)
  • Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas, part 3

Additional suggestion:

  • – Brian Holmes, Escape the Overcode. Activist Art in the Control Society; part ‘Geocritique’ (free download: http://de.scribd.com/doc/146371253/Holmes-Brian-Geocritique)
  • – Ruth Sonderegger/Karin de Boer, Conceptions of Critique in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy, Palgrave 2012 (esp. introduction and chapters 1, 9, 12 and 14)

You are able to earn ECTS for participation in the seminar and workshop, and for writing an essay assignment afterwards.

Additional information on the project Terra Critica: Terra Critica_information