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Martin Jay in conversation with Paul Breines

August 25, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

discussing Martin Jay’s new book

Splinters in Your Eye: Frankfurt School Provocations

published by Verso Press

The evening will begin with a short introduction by Robert Kaufman

Assessing the legacy of the Frankfurt School in the twenty-first century.


This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.


Event is free, but registration is required

(REGISTER HERE) link to be posted soon!


(Purchase Book Here) link to be posted soon!


Although successive generations of the Frankfurt School have attempted to adapt Critical Theory to new circumstances, the work done by its founding members continues in the twenty-first century to unsettle conventional wisdom about culture, society and politics. Exploring unexamined episodes in the school’s history and reading its work in unexpected ways, these essays provide ample evidence of the abiding relevance of Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Löwenthal, and Kracauer in our troubled times. Without forcing a unified argument, they range over a wide variety of topics, from the uncertain founding of the School to its mixed reception of psychoanalysis, from Benjamin’s ruminations on stamp collecting to the ironies in the reception of Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, from Löwenthal’s role in Weimar’s Jewish Renaissance to Horkheimer’s involvement in the writing of the first history of the Frankfurt School. Of special note are their responses to visual issues such as the emancipation of colour in modern art, the Jewish prohibition on images, the relationship between cinema and the public sphere, and the implications of a celebrated Family of Man photographic exhibition. The collection ends with an essay tracing the still metastasising demonisation of the Frankfurt School by the so-called Alt Right as the source of “cultural Marxism” and “political correctness,” which has gained alarming international resonance and led to violence by radical right-wing fanatics.

Martin Jay is Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught Modern European Intellectual History and Critical Theory for forty-five years. Among his works are The Dialectical ImaginationMarxism and TotalityAdornoPermanent ExilesFin-de-siècle SocialismForce FieldsDowncast EyesCultural SemanticsRefractions of ViolenceSongs of ExperienceThe Virtues of MendacityEssays from the EdgeKracauer: l’exilé; and Reason after Its Eclipse. He has been a regular columnist for Salmagundi since 1987.

Paul Breines was a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin and a member of the Student Council on Civil Rights when he was arrested for his participation in the Freedom Rides during the summer of 1961. As part of the Freedom Ride Breines, along with three other students, traveled from Nashville, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi via a Greyhound bus where all four participants were arrested in the Greyhound terminal in Jackson, Mississippi on 21 July 1961. Paul Breines is also Associate Professor Emeritus of History at Boston College. He is the author of TOUGH JEWS: Political Fantasies and the Moral Dilemma of American Jewry, and co-author of The Young Lukaacs and the Origins of Western Marxism.

Robert Kaufman is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, where he also teaches in, and is former co-director of, the interdisciplinary Program in Critical Theory. His teaching and research emphasize several interrelated areas, the Frankfurt School being one in particular. Kaufman is the author of Negatvive Romaticism: Adornian Aesthetics in Keats, Shelley, and Modern Poetry (forthcoming from Cornell University Press), and is at work on two related studies: Why Poetry Should Matter—to the Left: Frankfurt Constellations of Democracy and Modernism after Postmodernism? Robert Duncan and the Future-Present of American Poetry.


August 25, 2020
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
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