Thinking in Dark Times: A Transdisciplinary Symposium

On 16th and 17th January, we held a symposium to mark the second anniversary of the death of the internationally-renowned sociologist and cultural analyst Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds.

The symposium was organised by The Bauman Institute and the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (CentreCATH), supported by a Sadler Seminar Series grant from the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI).

The event completed an eighteen-month project entitled Thinking in Dark Times, over the course of which our transdisciplinary team has been assessing a number of strands around the work of Zygmunt Bauman including:

  • the significance and implications of Bauman’s major rethinking of modernity;
  • his definition of our era as liquid modernity with its radical implications for social subjectivity and ethics;
  • his analysis of evil;
  • his study of  liquid modern conditions for love and intimacy, fear and dispossession;
  • the precarity of labour and forced mobility;
  • the domination of our lives by the rationalities of consumption and disposability in deterritorialized capitalism.

Speakers included: Irena Bauman, Architect (Bauman Lyons); Bryan Cheyette, Professor of English Literature, University of Reading; Mark Davis, Founding Director of The Bauman Institute, University of Leeds; Aleksandra Jasinska-Kania, Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of Warsaw; Neil Lawson, Compass; Griselda Pollock, Director of CentreCATH, University of Leeds; Izabela Wagner-Saffray, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw; and Janet Wolff, Emerita Professor of English, University of Manchester.

Each of the papers given at the event are intended to form a special issue of a forthcoming journal, which we will announce in due course.

Much of the symposium was also recorded, to make our event accessible as possible, and we hope to publish these videos on our two centre websites in the near future.