The Fanatic

Date: 9 September 2011 Time: 09.30-05.30 pm

Venue: Storey Institute

In his recent book On Fanaticism (2010), Alberto Toscano observes that there are few terms in our political vocabulary as damning as that of 'the fanatic': it 'stands outside the frame of political rationality, possessed by a violent conviction that brooks no argument and will only rest, if ever, once every rival view or way of life is eradicated'. During the last 20 years, however, a new wave of thinkers have mobilised the figure of the fanatic as a means of re-visiting such core political problems as the relationship between religion and politcs, faith and knowledge, theory and practice, reason and revolution. This symposium explores the figure of the fanatic in political, historical and cultural discourse from pre-modernity to the present day. What are the promise and the threat of the fanatic today? How can we trace its emergence or repression through the history of modernity? Finally, who or what takes the place of the fanatic both historically and today - the Jew, the Muslim, the communist, the terrorist, the liberal, the capitalist or even the philosopher?


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Paolo Palladino

Organising departments and research centres: English and Creative Writing, History, Sociology