reading for this evening

16 Oct

Dear all, apologies for the second message. It appears that the file uploaded to wordpress might be mangled. If you need a copy of today’s reading, please email Erin ( and Mohamad (, and one of us will respond quickly with a pdf. Thanks for your understanding!



reminder: meeting this evening @ 5:30 in 306 wheeler hall

16 Oct

Hi FSWG friends,

This is a reminder that our group is meeting this evening at 5:30 in room 306 of Wheeler Hall. We’ll be talking about Carl Schmitt’s Legality and Legitimacy. Looking forward to seeing and sharing ideas with you all!


Mohamad and Erin

Meeting Monday Oct 16 @ 5:30pm: Carl Schmitt’s Legality and Legitimacy

5 Oct

Hello all! We thoroughly enjoyed our first meeting and discussion of the year, and we’re looking forward to reconvening the Monday after next and continuing our exploration of that shady figure, Carl Schmitt. On Monday, Oct. 16th, we’ll talk about Schmitt’s Legality and Legitimacy. Same time and place — 5:30pm in Wheeler Hall 306. Feel free to spread the word to others who might be interested.

Looking forward!

Mohamad and Erin

FSWG meeting today @ 5:30 in 306 Wheeler

2 Oct

Hi all! This is just a reminder that the Frankfurt School Working Group is meeting this evening at 5:30pm in Wheeler Hall room 306. We’ll discuss the first two chapters of William Scheuerman’s Between the Norm and the Exception: the Frankfurt School and the Rule of Law. There will be snacks!

Hope to see you soon,

Mohamad and Erin

Meeting Monday, 10/2, 5:30pm in Wheeler Hall room 306

28 Sep

Dear FSWGies,

Please join us for the next Frankfurt School Working Group meeting on Monday, 10/2, at 5:30pm in Wheeler Hall room 306. We’ll kick off our semester-long exploration of encounters between Frankfurt School theorists and “the Law” with the first two chapters of William Scheuerman’s Between the Norm and the Exception: the Frankfurt School and the Rule of Law. These chapters elaborate the “totalitarian concept of the political” developed by early Frankfurt School engagements with Carl Schmitt’s political theory.

All are welcome!

warm wishes,

Mohamad and Erin

Reminder: Meeting at 5:30 today, Moffitt 340

13 Sep

Dear Frankfurt School Working Group members,

This is a reminder that our first working group meeting of the year will take place this evening from 5:30-7:30pm in Moffitt 340. The meeting is being held in partnership with the Critical Theory Program’s working group, Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition-Building. A description of the session and pdfs of the readings are available here:

We hope to see you later today and are looking forward to lively conversations then and beyond. As mentioned in our previous message, our meetings will typically take place on alternating Mondays at 5:30pm. Mark your calendars for our next meeting after today’s, which will take place Monday, October 2. Readings and location will be shared soon.

best wishes,

Mohamad and Erin

First fswg meeting and other information

7 Sep

Hi all! Welcome back to the new school year, I hope everyone enjoyed their summer. To get the school year underway we’ve decided to hold our first event as a collaboration that will be co-facilitated by Erin Greer and Dr. Angela Marino from the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. The event is held under the title “Collaboration Thinking” and we plan on reading relevant texts that will help guide us through this. Particularly, selections from Arendt’s Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy, Zerilli’s A Democratic Theory of Judgment, and Podemos: In the Name of the People, coauthored by Chantel Mouffe and Inigo Errejon. More information about the event is listed below.

This will be a great segue into our theme for the semester, “The Frankfurt School and the Law.” Our goal is to better know a few forgotten frankfurters, but more importantly to better understand the contours of jurisprudence, legality, sovereignty, and the state. These thinker we hope to think with all stand at the threshold of Anglo-Saxon legal thought (Hans Kelsen, John Austin, etc.), the (seemingly) conservatives (Schmitt and company), and the roots of critical theory (Marx, Kant, Hegel). We’ll start off with a great book that outlines this tradition entitled Between the Norm and the Exception by William Scheuerman. Then, we plan on turning to two important legal theorist that were involved with the Institute for Social Research, Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer. Our very own Will Callison has promised to present a chapter from his dissertation on the work of Kirchheimer and Neumann. We are hoping to making this into a small event. Thereafter we’ll turn to an important contribution to legal theory by Habermas so as to finally return to the relationship between violence and law in Benjamin and Menke. Of course, the schedule is subject to change depending on the flow of the working group, but we hope to make this a rigorous thought collaboration given the importance of this subject in our times.

meeting time and day: we plan to meet twice a month on Mondays from 5:30-7p. A schedule should be passed along soon. However, we’ll first meet next Wednesday at a different time and location, which is pasted below. We really hope to see many of you at each meeting to help make discussions and collaboration fruitful!

all the best,

Erin and Mohamad






5:30 – 7:30PM





Please join us for the first meeting of the 2017-18 Critical Theory Working Group, which takes up the topic of Collaboration Thinking. The meeting will be co-facilitated by UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, Erin Greer, and Berkeley faculty in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Dr. Angela Marino. Between the two they bring over a decade of organizing experience. With Greer and Marino acting somewhere between moderator and participant in the conversation, we begin by self-reflexively asking: how is the working group itself a form of collaboration thinking? And, further: what are the roles of collaboration in building communities? In protecting communities? In cultivating a collective consciousness? And in developing different collective memories?


Greer and Marino have both contributed texts that I am circulating with this announcement for us all to read before the meeting. The texts include: four of Hannah Arendt’s lectures on Kant’s political philosophy; the last chapter of Linda Zerilli’s A Democratic Theory of Judgment entitled “Judging as a Democratic World-building Practice”; and the transcript of a conversation between Iñigo Errejón and Chantal Mouffe in their Podemos: In the Name of the People. All three texts are attached here.

It is our hope that these selected readings will create a shared basis for discussion.

Additionally, I have chosen a number of suggested readings; in particular, if you have the time I highly recommend reading co-facilitator Erin Greer’s recent article, “A Many-Sided Substance,” which works through elements of Kantian aesthetic theory in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves towards a philosophy of conversation. This and the other suggested readings offer insights and reflections on a variety of topics surrounding the term “collaboration,” from collaboration and the Vichy period; to collaborative circle group dynamics (in particular, within the Frankfurt School); to canonical texts by Benedict Anderson, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Victor Turner on community, which implicitly and explicitly invoke certain ideas of what collaboration is, should, or could be in the process of community formation; to a cluster of reading around the recent (re-)emergence of the 1970s Russian Collective Action Group in the field of visual arts.

REMEMBER: all of these are only suggested—perhaps they can take the notion of collaboration in a direction that interests you, or troubles you, or somewhere else I can’t even imagine! And it is also entirely possible that you don’t have time to read anything beyond those three texts selected by our co-facilitators—that is okay too!!

All readings, both those selected by our co-facilitators and those suggested by me, are available for download from the Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition-building website.


I hope to see you on the 13th! If you can’t make it, make sure to check back in with the group’s website for notes and reflections from our first meeting!!



bis bald,

Megan Hoetger

Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies

Designated Emphases in Critical Theory and Film





For more on the working group mission, meeting schedule, co-facilitators, readings, or access, visit or; or email


Click here for directions to the BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt) at UC Berkeley.


The 2017-18 Critical Theory Working Group is sponsored by the UC Berkeley Program in Critical Theory with generous co-sponsorship from the Maxine Elliot Chair of Comparative Literature; the Arts Research Center; the Berkeley Center for New Media; and the Departments of Rhetoric and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.