Political Concepts

Friday, March 6, 2015 - Saturday, March 7, 2015 Jerome Greene Hall (Law School), Jerome Greene Annex


Institute for Comparative Literature and Society

Heyman Center for the Humanities

The Editorial Board of Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon, a joint project of The New School for Social Research, New York University, Columbia University, and Brown University, welcomes you to our fifth annual Spring Conference, which is returning to Columbia University in March 2015. The project is guided by one formal principle--the posing of a Socratic question "what is x?"--and by one theoretical principle--the concepts defined should be relevant to political thought and, more broadly, to thinking about the political.

Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon is a multidisciplinary, web-based journal that seeks to be a forum for engaged scholarship. Each lexical entry will focus on a single concept with the express intention of resituating it in the field of political discourse by addressing what has remained unquestioned or unthought in that concept. Each entry will serve as a short defining essay for a concept. Through their argumentative strategies and employment of the concept in question, entries will aim to reconfigure a concept, rather than take for granted the generally accepted definitions of that concept or the conclusions that follow from them.

Political Concepts does not predetermine what does or does not count as a political concept. Our aim is to expand the scope of what demands political accounting, and for this reason we welcome essays that fashion new political concepts or demonstrate how concepts deserve to be taken as politically significant. It is our view that “politics” refers to the multiplicity of forces, structures, problems, and orientations that shape our collective life. Politics enters the frame wherever our lives together are staked and wherever collective action could make a difference to the outcome. As no discipline possesses an hegemony over this critical space, we welcome submissions from all fields of study.

We consider Political Concepts to be “a critical lexicon” because each contribution resituates a particular aspect of political meaning, thereby opening pathways for another future—one that is not already determined and ill-fated. The term “critical” in our title is also meant quite literally: Political Concepts is a forum for conversation and constructive debate rather than the construction of an encyclopedic ideal.


  • Linda Martín Alcoff

    Professor of Philosophy

    Hunter Collge

  • Emily Apter

    Professor of French and Comparative Literature

    New York University

  • Andrew Arato

    Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor in Political and Social Theory

    The New School for Social Research

  • Timothy Bewes

    Professor of English

    Brown University

  • Rebecca Comay

    Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature

    University of Toronto

  • Jason Frank

    Associate Professor

    Cornell University

  • Lydia Goehr

    Professor of Philosophy

    Columbia University

  • Stathis Gourgouris

    Professor of Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Hagar Kotef

    Assistant Professor, Gender Studies

    Bar Ilan University

  • Jacques Lezra

    Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature

    New York University

  • Alberto Moreiras


    Texas A & M University

  • Dmitri Nikulin

    Professor of Philosophy

    New School for Social Research

  • Maxim Pensky

    Chair of the Department of Philosophy

    State University of New York--Binghamton

  • Miriam Ticktin

    Associate Professor of Anthropology

    The New School for Social Research

  • Nadia Urbinati

    Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies

    Columbia University

  • Samuel Weber

    Avalon Professor of Humanities

    Northwestern University


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