CFP – 4/2015 [EN]

Ontological Communism and Underground Currents of Early Modernity

Theoretical Practice – issue 4/2015

Editors: Mateusz Janik, Michał Pospiszyl

We invite submissions for next issue of Theoretical Practice devoted to underground currents of early modernity. We want take a communist perspective to investigate struggles that have shaped the modern theoretical field. By communism we understand not so much a XXth century political regime or some millenarist goal in the historical March of Humanity, but rather a communion established at the ontological level as a minimal condition of possibility for any social relation. We decided to ask the question concerning ontological communism in the context of the renaissance revolution, which shook the feudal base of the medieval world, drawing bold, radical and perhaps still current projects of transformation of social life.

Such an approach allows us to grasp the political violence of apparently anachronic and abstract debates concerning such topics as the unity of human intellect, the existence of a vacuum or a relation between body and mind that dictated the frames within which modernity has been constituted. Like Bruno Latour, we see an urgent need of a new interpretation of disputes conduced in early modernity, an interpretation that would leave no doubt about their onto-political character and their hybridity based on the junction of languages of natural science, philosophy, alchemy, theology and politics.

One of the most interesting elements of the early modern conjecture is the opening of the plane of immanence, through which radical, egalitarian and democratic ideas could be articulated. More importantly the plane of immanence that made possible the inscription of traditional theoretical problems into the context of production of new forms of existence is able to escape the omnipotent power of transcendence. In other words, we want to focus on a shift that took place between the XIVth and XVII centuries, a shift that leads us from a philosophy of essence to philosophy that is oriented towards relations and productive functions. In effect of this change the question of human essence makes way for another kind of inquiry devoted to the question about things that humans are able to do and who or what they can become.   For the same reason we are interested in the transformation of the medieval anthropological machine that produced theology-based divisions between human and inhuman. We will also look at the attempts to stop this machine and also at its reconstitution within the modern socio-economic context.

We also want to pay attention to the way in which theoretical discourse is transformed into one of many battlefields of class struggle. Early modern scientific discourse was utilized as a war machine that played a key role in anti-feudal revolution. But our point of reference will be not so much the gears of this machine as the horror it has evoked among its contemporaries and the radical changes it has caused. Thus, we will examine the way in which the relation between the renaissance of modern cognition and democratic or counter-democratic practice has been established.

Exemplary topics:

-Muslim enlightenment and early modern materialism

-Aristotelian left and political Averroism

-Early modern class struggle, communes and common good

-Renaissance and posthumanism

-Early modern anthropological machines

-Anti-papacy and conciliarism

-Political ontologies of early modernity

-Heresies and millenarist movements

-Radical enlightenment

-Alchemy and politics

-Early modern concepts of property

-Epistemic absolutism and skepticism as political discourses

-Order of history and secularization of time

-Materialism at the dawn of early modernity


Deadline for submitting abstracts: 10 February 2015

Confirmation of abstract’s acceptance: 14 February 2015

Deadline for submitting articles: 1 June 2015

Estimated date of publication: 10 December 2015

For further editorial details, see:

Abstracts should be send by e-mail: