Episode 70 of the Podcast for Social Research is a live recording of the concluding panel of BISR’s July symposium Frankfurt School and the Now: Critical Theory in the 21st Century. To what extent, 100 years later, can critical theory help us make sense of the particular conditions, crises, and prospective futures of the contemporary twenty first-century moment? Panelists Isi Litke, Barnaby Raine, Samantha Hill, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Moira Weigel, and Jodi Dean consider big data and social media, György Lukács, Black Marxism, climate and class struggle, hyper-individualism, optimism versus pessimism, and the objectification of everything. Is interactive media a democratic alternative to a top-down culture industry, or does it actually exacerbate authoritarian dynamics? How can we think about politics and political subjects under conditions of climate change? In what ways does the twenty-first century echo the twentieth? How do we think with critical theory without fetishizing it? What are the political uses of failure? Is there an imperative to hope?
The Podcast for Social Research is produced by Elliot Yokum. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon Page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.