Have We Ever Been Postmodern?

Friday, 27 April 2018, 2 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Workshop with Julie Gaillard.

Few concepts have been more overused than that of the “postmodern.” Synonymous, at best, with kitsch fragmentation and ironic collage, or, at worst, with a deleterious relativism, the “postmodern” has been accused of all aesthetic and ethical evils by reactionaries from all sides (the “postmodern” questions “traditional values”), but also in the name of a leftist ideal of progress: postmodernism would call into question the legitimacy of the project of the Aufklärung, and would oppose a dangerous sophistry to the sovereignty of Reason, thereby impeding the progress of humanity towards its emancipation. And especially in Germany, the violence of the “postmodern debate” has led to the discarding of its most (in)famous theoretician, and so it seems that the thought of Jean-François Lyotard has been thrown away with the postmodern bathwater.

This workshop proposes to take a step back and observe what Jean-François Lyotard actually attempted to describe under the diagnosis of “postmodern.” By looking at some of the steps in the intellectual and political trajectory that has led to its conceptualization, the workshop will ask whether and how the stakes of the “postmodern” can still be seen today.

In order to create a good working atmosphere, participation in the workshop is limited. To register and receive the readings, please send an email to mail@diffrakt.space.