Castoradis' rising tide of insignificancy with David Ames Curtis


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In this talk, David Ames Curtis helps us in engaging with the work of Cornelius Castoriadis, imaginaries, his “project of autonomy”, and the rising tide of insignificancy, a key theme explored in depth in his paper, The Theme of “The Rising Tide of Insignificancy” in the Work of Cornelius Castoriadis. He also shares with us his experience in working with Castoriadis and reflections on the practice of translation. Biography David Ames Curtis, who studied philosophy at Harvard, is an American translator. He has worked as a civil-rights organizer, multiracial community organizer, and feminist labor activist. At Yale’s Afro-American Studies Department, he directed the Black Periodical Fiction Project under Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He also established the identity of the author of Our Nig (1859), the first novel published by an African-American woman and rediscovered in 1982 by Gates. His translations appear in American, European, and Australian journals and books. Among the authors translated: Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and Jean-Jacques Lebel. He translated over a million words of Castoriadis’s writings during his lifetime. For each of his translations, Curtis writes a Translator’s Foreword—an introduction each time new and each time improvised both in form and content, in order to express, through a philosophical reflection on his own lived experience as a cultural worker, how he himself has been transformed by the inherently disturbing process of transforming the imaginary social meanings of one linguistic community into those of another. Cofounder in 1990 of the Agora International association, Curtis coordinates the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website’s Bibliographers/Webographers Collective and speaks of Castoriadis’s work at various conferences in Europe, North America and Asia. He is Administrator of the arts association Mon Oncle D’Amérique Productions and of the Appalachian Springs Foundation. On Cornelius Castoriadis, from the Cornelius Castoriadis Agora International Website: “Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997), was a philosopher, political thinker, social critic, practicing psychoanalyst, renowned Sovietologist, and economist who cofounded the now legendary revolutionary journal and group Socialisme ou Barbarie (1948-1967). S. ou B. developed a radical critique of Communism based upon the idea of workers' management and exerted a great influence upon the student-worker rebellion in Paris in May 1968. Until his death a decade ago, Castoriadis continued to write on politics, society, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and the imagination from his distinctive perspective that was inspired by the "project of autonomy." Links Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website ( Mon Oncle d'Amérique Productions ( About the SPIDERS Platform This series of talks is organized on behalf of SPIDERS, the Seoul Platform for Initiating Discourses on Equitable and Resilient Society, and funded by the Seoul Institute. The talks complement a series of original papers published on the SPIDERS platform, dedicated to outlining the building blocks of post-capitalist political economies and societies, not oriented around growth and profit, but rather good lives and a flourishing web of life in times of profound planetary change. Hosting these talks are founder of the P2P Foundation, Michel Bauwens, and Rok Kranjc, researcher, designer and translator in the fields of political ecology, alternative economies and participatory futures. Link to the paper series:

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