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Humanities Institute

Benjamin Kohlmann: “Speculative States: Britain’s Long Hegelian Moment, 1880-1920”

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Benjamin Kohlmann: “Speculative States: Britain’s Long Hegelian Moment, 1880-1920”
March 14, 2018 3:30 pm
March 14, 2018 5:00 pm
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Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Voorhies Hall 126

Description of talk: “This paper explores what I call Britain’s ‘long Hegelian moment’ around 1900, a largely forgotten episode in the intellectual history of the dialectical imagination. I argue that we should be interested in recovering Britain’s Hegelian moment for two main reasons. First, British Hegelianism offers an ambitious understanding of the state: it gestures towards a speculative vision of the state as a sphere of social life rather than presenting it as a set of institutional structures external to the social realm. Second, I suggest that Britain’s Hegelian moment can energise current debates about the dialectical imagination by teaching us to tarry with the third (speculative) moment of the Hegelian dialectic in ways that are unaccounted for in current debates about (post-)critique.”

Benjamin Kohlmann is Assistant Professor of English at Freiburg University (Germany). He is currently a visiting scholar at UC Davis. His first book, Committed Styles: Modernism, Politics, and Left-Wing Literature in the 1930s, was published by Oxford UP in 2014. His articles have been published in a number of venues, including ELH, PMLA, Novel, and History of Political Economy. He is currently working on a literary prehistory of the welfare state in Britain around 1900.

This event is sponsored by English Department

For more information please contact: Elizabeth Miller, ecmill@ucdavis.edu

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