May 20, 2024

Critical Conversations – On A “Politics Of Pause”, Struggling Over Speed For Better Futures (Announcement)

Participants are invited to join us live in the third of a monthly series of “Critical Conversations” (Zoom webinars) with eminent scholars from around the globe. If you are interested in joining us, please contact us by email at Please state your professional or academic status, affiliation, and a brief sentence or two concerning why you would like to participate, so please notify us no later than October 26, 2020.

All Critical Conversations will be recorded and republished along with edited transcripts. Last month’s critical conversation entitled “Subjectivities Since The Sixties” can be watched here.


When: Tuesday, October 27, 10am Mountain Daylight Time; 6pm European Central Time.

How: Zoom. By Advance Registration. Please register at the following link:

You may also note that you must register in advance of the seminar, and you will be given the actual Zoom link.


Moderator: Joshua Lawrence, doctoral student in the Joint Program in the Study of Religion at The University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology.


Benjamin Noys is Professor of Critical Theory and coordinator of the MA English Literature at University of Chichester. His research focuses on critical and literary theory, with particular interest in the avant-garde, film, and the cultural politics of theory. His recent work includes the books The Persistence of the Negative (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) and Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism (Zero Books, 2014).

Sarah Pessin is a professor of philosophy and Jewish thought at University of Denver. She works broadly in areas of the phenomenology and philosophy of religion, with areas of focus in late ancient and medieval Neoplatonisms and modern Jewish thought with emphasis on Levinas. She is the author of Ibn Gabirol’s Theology of Desire (Cambridge 2013) and is currently finishing up two books on the themes of pausality, pastness, and politics in Levinas. 

Join Benjamin Noys and Sarah Pessin for a consideration of “pausal” politics that variously show why speed is not a virtue in the arena of political life. Drawing from different philosophical traditions, Noys and Pessin also show—in different ways—why the past (in a non-conservative, non-fatalist sense) is essential for good politics.

Pulling on Walter Benjamin’s “emergency brake,” Noys helps us to these insights through a critique of “accelerationist” attempts to combat capitalism that accept/increase the speed of its destructive logics, while Pessin engages us in an exploration of embodiment and pastness in Levinas’ earlier works in relation to a precarious—but not quietistic—approach to politics. Noys and Pessin additionally invite us to engage these pausal political openings through the entry spaces of negativity on the one hand and covenant on the other. 

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