Author Meets Critics: Critic 1

Stream: Panel 10 - Political Theory: Critical Reflections on Romand Coles' Visionary Pragmatism: Radical and Ecological Democracy in Neoliberal Times, including response by Romand Coles 
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


Danielle Celemajer will provide critical reflections and commentary on Romand Coles’ recent book, Visionary Pragmatism (Duke UP 2016), in light of her expertise in human rights. As neoliberal capitalism destroys democracy, commonwealth, and planetary ecology, the need for radically rethinking and generating transformative responses to these catastrophes is greater than ever. Given that, Romand Coles presents an invigorating new mode of scholarship and political practice he calls "visionary pragmatism." Coles explores the profound interrelationships among everyday micropractices of grassroots politics and pedagogy, institutional transformation, and political protest through polyfocal lenses of political and social theory, neuroscience research, complex systems theory, and narratives of his cutting-edge action research. Visionary Pragmatism offers a theory of revolutionary cooptation that, in part, selectively employs practices and strategies of the dominant order to radically alter the coordinates of power and possibility. Underscoring the potential, vitality, and power of emerging democratic practices to change the world, Visionary Pragmatism's simultaneous theoretical rigor and grounding in actual political and ecological practices provokes and inspires new ways of cocreating knowledge and action in dark times.


Danielle Celermajer (Presenter), University of Sydney
Danielle Celermajer is a Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. Her publications include Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apology (Cambridge, 2009), Power, Judgment and Political Evil: Hannah Arendt’s Promise (Ashgate, 2010)) and (with Richard Sherwin) The Cultural History of Law in the Twentieth Century (Bloomsbury 2017). She is currently completing a book on the challenges of translating structural analyses of torture into real world prevention interventions.