Tate Modern Talk

Spaces of Transformation: The Vast Space-Time of Revolutions Becoming

With Drucilla Cornell on The Site of Revolution, David Harvey on The Spaces of Anti-capitalist Transition and Achille Mbembe on Zero-World. Chaired by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera.

This panel constitutes the spirit that opens up new potentiality spaces for human thought and action toward a transformative movement (abolishing the state of things) that is always there for the making and the taking – pushing human possibilities to their limits. This is what gaining the courage of our minds is all about: to take a speculative plunge into the unknown and the unknowable – facing up to a world of uncertainty and risk where the social and the ecological orders are unpredictable and unstable. What counts is open dialogue and practical interactions across multiple theatres on this long frontier in the vast space-time of revolutions becoming.

Drucilla Cornell

(The Site of Revolution) is Professor of political science, women’s studies, and comparative literature at Rutgers University and National Research Foundation Professor in Customary Law, Indigenous Ideals and the Dignity Jurisprudence at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Prior to beginning her life as an academic, Cornell was a union organizer for a number of years. She worked for the UAW, the UE, and the IUE in California, New Jersey and New York. She has written numerous articles on contemporary continental thought, critical theory, grass-roots political and legal mobilisation, jurisprudence, women’s literature, feminism, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, and political philosophy. She has published several books: Beyond Accommodation: Ethical Feminism, Deconstruction and the Law (1991, new edition 1999), The Philosophy of the Limit (1992), Transformations: Recollective Imagination and Sexual Difference (1993), The Imaginary Domain: Abortion, Pornography, and Sexual Harassment (1995), At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality (1998), Just Cause: Freedom, Identity, and Rights (2000), Between Women and Generations: Legacies of Dignity (2002), Defending Ideals: War, Democracy and Political Struggles (2004) and Moral Images of Freedom: A Future for Critical Theory (2008) that won the Frantz Fanon prize. Her most recent book with Kenneth Michael Panfilio is Symbolic Forms for a New Humanity (2011). She is on the Board of Directors of the uBuntu Project.

David Harvey

(Spaces of Anti-Capitalist Transition) is a geographer and the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York. Among other awards he has received the Anders Retzius Gold Medal of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography, the Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Vautrin Lud International Prize in Geography (France). He was made a fellow of the British Academy in 1998 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007. He is the author of many books, including Social Justice and the City (1973), Consciousness and the Urban Experience (1985), The Condition of Postmodernity (1989), The Limits to Capital (1982), Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (1996), Spaces of Hope (2000), The New Imperialism (2003), A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005), Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development (2006), Cosmopolitanism and the Geographies of Freedom (2009), A Companion to Marx’s Capital (2010), and The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism (2010).

Achille Mbembe

(Zero-World) is a philosopher and political scientist. He obtained his PhD in History at the University of Sorbonne and a DEA in Political Science at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He is a Professor of Social Theory in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University and a convenor of the Locations and Locutions lecture series. He is also a co-convenor of The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand) and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University (US). He is a senior researcher at WISER Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is a contributing editor of the scholarly journal Public Culture. He has written extensively on African history and politics, including Les Jeunes et l’ordre politique en Afrique noire (1985), La naissance du maquis dans le Sud-Cameroun (1996), Du Gouvernement prive indirect (2000), and Sortir de la grande nuit – Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisée (2010). He is the winner of the Bill Venter/Altron Award (2006) for his book On the Postcolony (2001). He has written on the artist Marlene Dumas.

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera

is a philosopher and cultural critic, as well as the award-winning author of ‘What If Latin America Ruled the World?’ Oscar teaches at Birkbeck College, University of London, and often collaborates with such media outlets as the BBC, Guardian, Monocle Radio, Tank Magazine, Al Jazeera and RT, among others.

Event recording

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

12 May 2012 at 14.00–16.30