After Progress: Modernity in Ruins (Seminar 1)

Wednesday 5th June 2019, 13.30-18.30pm
Goldsmiths, University of London, Professor Stuart Hall Building (PSH) 326

This symposium is the first of the After Progress symposium series. Together with fours guest speakers, we will begin to explore collectively how to understand our present as populated by the ruins of the modern idea of progress, and we’ll explore key questions concerning how we might cultivate plural arts of living and flourishing in the ruins.

After Progress Symposium Series

In this symposium series, we propose to experiment, from an interdisciplinary and global perspective, with a pressing question for our troubled times: can we reimagine human and more-than-human arts of living and flourishing from the ruins of the modern idea of progress? The notion of “progress” is arguably the defining idea of modernity: a civilisational imagery of a boundless, linear, and upwards trajectory towards a future that, guided by reason and technology, will be “better” than the present. It was this notion that placed techno-science at the heart of the modern political culture, and it was the global unevenness of “progress” that imagined European imperialism as a civilising mission inflicted upon “backward” others for their own sake. Thanks to the relentless work carried out by decolonisation movements, as well as by scholars and intellectuals across the social sciences and humanities, the modern idea of progress and its deleterious consequences on a global scale have deservingly been the object of fierce criticism throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Denouncing its Eurocentric colonialism, its impoverished historicism, its rationalistic hubris, and its ecocidal extractivism, such criticisms decried the implications of the modern idea of “progress”, but they did not stop it from commanding global political imaginations, discourse, and policy to this day. Thus, rather than simply rehearsing such critiques, we propose a collective, speculative experimentation on plural arts of living and flourishing with others in the ruins of “progress”. For even at this time of socioecological devastation and perilous political repatternings, there are practical and conceptual propositions, emerging from a range of locations and experiences, that proffer generative contributions to the questions of how we might understand and effect change, learn to live and die well with others, and make other worlds possible, if we no longer rely on the modern coordinates of progress as our compass.


Andrea Bardin (Oxford Brookes University)
“Political Automata at an End”
Andrea Bardin is Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, where he teaches political theory and philosophy. He is the author of Epistemology and political philosophy in Gilbert Simondon: individuation, technics, social systems (Springer 2015).

Didier Debaise (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
“The Contingency of the World”
Didier Debaise is a permanent researcher at the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), and director of the Research Center in Philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).  He is the author of Speculative Empiricism: Revisiting Whitehead (Edinburgh UP, 2017 ) and Nature as Event (Duke UP, 2017).

Sanjay Seth (Goldsmiths, University of London)
“Defending Modern Reason?”
Sanjay Seth is Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations and co-director of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India (Duke UP, 2007), Marxist Theory and Nationalist Politics: The Case of Colonial India (Sage, 1995), and editor of Postcolonial Theory and International Relations: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2012).

Iris van der Tuin (Utrecht University)
“Haraway’s Webs of Connection”
Iris van der Tuin is Professor in Theory of Cultural Inquiry in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University. She is the author of Generational Feminism: New Materialist Introduction to a Generative Approach (Lexington Books, 2015), co-author of New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies (Open Humanities Press, 2012), and editor of Nature for Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Gender (Macmillan Reference USA, 2016) 

The After Progress symposium series co-organised by Dr Martin Savransky (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Dr Craig Lundy (Nottingham Trent University). It is part of the Sociological Review Seminar Series and it is generously funded by The Sociological Review Foundation.


The event is free, but registration is required due to limited capacity. Please register here.


A small number of BURSARIES for unfunded PhD students/ECRs are available. Deadline for applications is APRIL 30. For further details on the eligibility criteria and the application process please go here.

Getting to Goldsmiths

Address: Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW.

Goldsmiths is in New Cross, South East London, five miles from central London. It is under five minutes’ walk from New Cross and New Cross Gate train stations. These stations are both served by National Rail trains and the London Overground Network.

•             Travel information  (

•             Goldsmiths Campus Map (


This event takes place in the Professor Stuart Hall Building (PSH) room 326 on the third floor. The room that the event will take place in is fully accessible, with a lift to the 3rd floor. Visitors with mobility difficulties please notify us ( you are visiting in advance so that arrangements can be made for you.

You can read Goldsmiths mobility guide (  and the Goldsmiths accessibility guides on ( .


If have any questions about this event, please contact the organisers Martin Savransky (Goldsmiths), and Craig Lundy on

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