The Pragmatist Imagination: Thinking about "Things in the Making"

The Pragmatist Imagination: Thinking about "Things in the Making"


1-2 May 2000

A two-day cross-disciplinary workshop dedicated to thinking about a set of emergent social and cultural problematics related to what William James called "things in the making." What is the potential of pragmatist thought to address these issues of our time? Alternatively or additionally, what other perspectives or critical strategies might be brought to bear on them?


1 May 2000


Introductory Remarks

Casey Nelson Blake, Joan Ockman, John Rajchman


Session 1: The Public


How might we rethink/reconstruct the relationship between private and public life today? between public life and democracy? If a public sphere is essential to any conception of democracy, should our model of democracy be consensual? contestatory? something else?



Rosalyn Deutsche

Kenneth Frampton

Gerald Frug

Chantal Mouffe

Gwendolyn Wright, moderator


Session 2: Geographies of Citizenship


Are new forms of "citizenship" arising today that transcend national boundaries? How should we rethink issues of identity, rights, and civic responsibilities in the context of globalization and deterritorialization?



Teresa Caldiera

Saskia Sassen

Sandhya Shukla

Mabel Wilson

Andreas Huyssen, moderator


Session 3: The Past / The Future


Do classic narratives of the twentieth century need to be rewritten? Is the "American Century" over? How should the past be reimagined? How should we imagine the future?



Jean-Louis Cohen

David Lapoujade

Nadia Urbinati

Andres Stephanson, moderator


Session 4: Aesthetics / Experience


Evening Event:

DJ spooky, Richard Shusterman, Bernard Tschumi




2 May 2000


Session 5: Technologies / Techniques / Perception  


How are questions of perception, experience, and knowledge to be rethought in light of accelerating technological change? How are scientific methodologies to be restructered in light of new logics of organization, information, and temporality? How are changing relations between knowledge and power to be analyzed?



Jonathan Crary

Manuel De Landa

Peter Galison

Liz Grosz

Brian Massumi

Reinhold Martin, moderator


Session 6: Place


How can we best address the new problems of place emerging today? How can a sense of community be sustained within contemporary urban and "posturban" settings?



William Leach

Hashim Sarkis

Richard Sennett

Abdou Maliq Simone

Okwui Enwezor, moderator


Session 7: Social Life and the Everyday World


What might a pragmatist city look like? What types of interactions, what forms of participation and spectatorship would it foster? How might everyday places like airports, train stations, subways, streets - and the internet - get transformed?



Stanley Aronowitz

Marshall Berman

Sandra Buckley

Isaac Joseph

Martha Rosler

Mary McLeod, moderator


Concluding Discussion