Bloch Centre Events


January-Easter 2017 [pdf]

Tuesday, 8 November 2016 at 17.30
in Room 104, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
followed by drinks

Cat Moir (Sydney): 

Ernst Bloch and French Thought:
Poetics and the Politics of Speculative Materialism

The themes of Ernst Bloch’s philosophy of utopia and transgression have recurred in various forms among French thinkers over the years, from Gabriel Marcel’s focus on the theme of hope, via questions of death and the overcoming of the philosophy of being in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, to Michel Foucault’s investigation of the relation between utopia, the body and heterotopic spaces. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari hinted at an opening to utopia as a decentralizing, rhizoid mode of creativity and novelty on a plane of immanent conceptuality in their influential 1991 book What is Philosophy? Today, ontological and metaphysical questions of materialism and realism, speculative rationality, event and process, have become central once again as new modalities of transgression are being investigated. The relevance of Bloch’s materialism to the concerns of thinkers such as Alain Badiou and Quentin Meillassoux is becoming apparent to a new generation of scholars.

Cat Moir compares the speculative materialisms of Bloch and Meillassoux in order to confront questions about the relationship between language and epistemology, and ontology and politics. She demonstrates that although these two ontologies appear superficially similar, the social and political theories they entail are quite different. She draws on Hayden White’s insights into the political dimension of poetics in order to map out the implications of the cosmic philosophies of history Bloch and Meillassoux develop. Moir challenges aspects of recent continental materialism and realism by arguing that the metaphysical is in fact political, and that this insight is key to grasping the stakes of speculative materialism today.

This event is organised by the Ernst Bloch Centre for German Thought and supported by the University of London Cassal Trust

Further information: or contact


Conference at Senate House
8-10 November 2017