Adorno and America: a Symposium

Many of the major works of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory were written in the USA during the Second World War. Critical Theory’s dislocation from its European origins is significant not only historically but also philosophically: the exiled intellectuals were convinced that an effective theory of culture and society could be realized only in America, where capitalism had reached its most advanced state. The symposium will reflect on how the American experience of the Frankfurt School’s most prominent representative, Theodor Adorno, informed the evolution of Critical Theory. Against the cliché of Adorno as a detached high-culture mandarin, the symposium will offer a more intellectually and factually accurate investigation of the American dimension of his thought.

2:15: Coffee and Cookies
3:00: Welcome and introduction (Ulrich Plass)
3:15: Adorno’s American Reception (Joshua Rayman, Savannah College of Art and Design)
3:45: No Man’s Lands: Refuse and Refuge in Adorno’s American Experience (Matt Waggoner, Albertus Magnus College)
4:15 Questions
4:30 Coffee Break
4:45 Devices of Shock: Adorno’s Aesthetics of Film and Fritz Lang’s Fury (Ryan Drake, Fairfield University)
5:15 Adorno Unplugged: The Ambivalence of the Machine Age (David Jenemann, University of Vermont)
5:45 Questions and final discussion

A symposium hosted by the Center for the Humanities and the Theory Initiative. Co-Sponsored by College of Letters, German Studies, Sociology, College of Social Studies, Philosophy, History, American Studies, and the Dean of Arts and Humanities

Date: Dec. 4
Time: 2:15pm – 6:00pm
Location: Russell House (corner of Washington and High Street)