Northwestern Events Calendar


Toward the Critique of Violence in 1920s and 2020s Colloquium

When: Monday, May 23, 2022
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Central

Where: Norris University Center, Lake Room - Afternoon in Kresge 2415, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Courtney Essenpreis   (847) 491-7249

Group: Department of German

Co-Sponsor: Comparative Literary Studies

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Religious, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


A Colloquium at Northwestern University in response to the publication of the new translation and critical edition of Walter Benjamin’s 1921 essay, “Zur Kritik der Gewalt” (Toward the Critique of Violence) recently published by Julia Ng and Peter Fenves.


Schedule of Events

9:00-9:45 AM  - Norris Lake Room

Jörg Kreienbrock (Northwestern): Welcome  


Julia Ng (Goldsmiths), Peter Fenves (Northwestern): Opening Remarks  

 I. “Toward the Critique of Violence” in Relation to Literary Critiques of Violence 

10:00-11:15 AM - Norris Lake Room


Omoyemi Ajisebutu (Northwestern): “Toward the Critique of Violence” in Chinua Achebe’s  

Arrow of God  

Maggie Marusek (FU Berlin): Putting the Myth in Mythical Violence: Musil’s Take on Violence  

and the Law  

Miriam Bilsker (University of Chicago): Literary Tropes, Mythic Repetition: Benjaminian Fate in  

the Poetry of Sandra Simonds  


II. The Textuality of “Toward the Critique of Violence” 

11:30 AM-1:00 PM - Norris Lake Room


Yu-jin Chang (Emerson): Janus Words: Auto-antonymic Ambiguity in Benjamin’s “Toward the  

Critique of Violence”  

Timothy Cannon (Northwestern): God’s Judgment on Korah’s Horde  

Bernardo Barzana (Northwestern): Darstellung in Benjamin’s “Toward Critique of Violence”:  

Presentation, Representation, Performance  

Timothy Messen (Emory): Toward Non-Stupid Tautology and Non-Demonic Ambiguity  




III.            “Toward the Critique of Violence” Today 

2:00-3:15 PM - Kresge 2415


Jonas Heller (University of Chicago/Frankfurt: The Force of Powerlessness: Acting Beyond  

Power, according to Walter Benjamin 

Matthew Gilmore (Northwestern): Earth, Heavenly Body: Geo-Ethics in Walter Benjamin’s 

 “Toward the Critique of Violence” (and Elsewhere)  

Ashley Bohrer (Notre Dame): Walter Benjamin and Abolitionism in Theory and Practice  




“Toward the Critique of Violence” under the Optic of Marx, Freud, and Du Bois

3:45-5:00 PM - Kresge 2415


Christian Obst (Brown): Wald und Gewalt: A Critical Forest Excursion with Marx  

Eleonora Giannisi Antonakaki (Northwestern): Technologies of Violence and their Destruction 

Marlon Millner (Northwestern): Dark Violence and Black Critique: Reading Walter Benjamin’s  

“Toward the Critique of Violence” with W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction  


5:15-6:00 PM: - Kresge 2415

Closing Discussion among Audience and Participants 

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