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Winter School 2015 – abstracts morning lectures

Subsumption, Subjectivity, Synchronicity circa 1848

Anna Kornbluh

In early 1848, the Manifesto of the Communist Party irrevocably articulated “class struggle” as the defining feature of “all hitherto existing society.”  Exploring the consequences of this universalization of antagonism, this lecture considers the moment of 1848 as revolutionary not only in practice (in the Springtime of the Peoples), but also in theory: in the concep-tualization, across political discourse, literary invention, and mathematical formalism, of what Marx called “real sub- sumption.”  The disappearance of the gap between capitalism and its preconditions, between capitalism and sociality as such, between capitalist schemes for intersubjectivity and all other schemes, is a historical transformation of capital, even as it obscures history.  The Manifesto and Wuthering Heights (1848) (and, in a surprising way, the discovery of Set Theory) each make that transformation thinkable.

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