Category Archives: Autonomy

Political reflections on Schiller’s The Robbers

I have posted a new section of my work-in-progress, The Tragedy of Revolution:Revolution as Hubris in Modern Tragedy, on the work’s own website.  The site is centered on a book-length scholarly project and reflects my study of political hubris in modern … Continue reading

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Heightening the contradictions of radical autonomy

I approached the new film Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) from the standpoint of political theory as a tragedy of revolutionary governance where the pursuit of an autonomous polity resorts to heteronomous means. Its framework is state and stasis.  … Continue reading

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Elements of the modern tragedy of sovereignty as activated in Schiller’s “The Robbers” (1781)

An individual claims agency as an autonomous subject by rebelling against a declining ruling order. He searches for principles of self-authorizing legitimacy of a new order, based on absolute freedom, which will plot its own history. The antinomy of the … Continue reading

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The protesters’ raised hands

Today, as riot police dispersed the last protesters in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest area, which became an “autonomous zone” for the past two weeks as part of nation-wide protests against police brutality, images of the zone’s creation and operation … Continue reading

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Betraying the revolution

While Bertolt Brecht in his learning plays explored the antinomies of revolutionary autonomy, Heiner Müller responded by experimenting in his learning plays with the revolt against autonomy, specifically, the betrayal of the revolution.  The tragic structure of Brecht’s The Measures … Continue reading

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The antinomy of autonomy

In my current research project, The Tragedy of Revolution, I argue that α central topic of modern tragedy is the ethico-political dilemma of rebellion, namely, the predicament of the revolutionary beginning caught between limitless self-authorization and self-limiting rule. Modern tragedy … Continue reading

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Interpretive and attentive reading as modern spiritual exercises in self-rule

The exercises of interpretation have been one of my central cultural and scholarly interests.  I consider interpretation a major spiritual technology empowering the modern self to practice ethical self-rule as duty and submission.  My studies of classical listening in this … Continue reading

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Kant’s ethics of autonomous obedience

“Autonomy is a duty and a submission:  The proper way for individuals to be free is to autonomously prescribe for themselves the duty of autonomy, which (duty) is the free submission of their morally self-legislative will to its own law.” … Continue reading

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Regimes of rule

Who is authorized to exert what authority and who has dominion over what domain? Since my current research project focuses on the tragedy of revolution in modern drama, I am especially interested in questions of rule, such as sovereignty, domination, … Continue reading

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The 1916 Event “Cabaret Voltaire” in Zürich (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/10-end)

If rebels are damned and comrades turn into hermits, is it still possible to join friends in planning together the next revolt? In fact it is possible, especially among emigrés in a cosmopolitan city, as I remembered when I took … Continue reading

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