Todor Kuljić: Resistance to Epistemological Persecution of the Left

Within the Regional Tea Party cycle, Todor Kuljić will give online lecture “Resistance to Epistemological Persecution of the Left” on Thursday, 27 April, at 17:30.

In defining the new field of contemporary cultural hegemony, we need to consider two problems of the social thought: persecution of the social terms of the Left and imposition of identity terms. Terminology is the cultural aspect of production and reproduction of power. The terms of humanism, natural right, exploitation and self-management have disappeared. They have been replaced by transition, transformation, social exclusion, vulnerable groups, etc. Class justice have been actively suppressed by national justice.

In the new teleology of liberalism, the authentic past of the Left has been banished, and history has been renewed as a graveyard of aristocracy. Kings, entrepreneurs and tradesmen are celebrated, rather than the nameless and the oppressed. In Eastern Europe, monuments to the underprivileged are destroyed, preplaced with those dedicated to the affluent. The past of the Left has become prey for the Right. We live in an anti-communism without the communism. What we need is counter-memory, to remember what has been forgotten by today’s Right: the history of the poor rather than of the salons, the history of the unarmed, rather than of the mighty rulers, the history of wage earners, rather than entrepreneurs, the history of the exploited class, rather than of the glorious nation. The authentically historical is not a monument, but rather an anti-monument. It is not the glorious but brutal past concealed by the ceremonial, where the procedure of the rule of law disguises oppression.

In addition to all the aforementioned, we need to ask ourselves how aware we are of the epistemological persecution of the Left. To what extent are we anesthetised with correct terms and correct past? What kind of power have normalised them? After analysing the condition, we need to indicate the directions for the epistemological resistance to the security memory and anti-totalitarian criminalisation of the Left, i.e.: a) separate the active and alive from the dead past of the Left, b) demonstrate to the new supervisors of the past the validity of the banished terms, and c) define counter-memory.

Todor Kuljić (1949) is a retired professor of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. He finished his PhD in 1981 and went on two study visits to Germany (1984 and 1991). He gave lectures at universities in Marburg, Freiburg, Basel and Zurich. He received the “Vojin Milić” award of the Serbian Sociological Society for his book Tanatopolitika (2014). He published 15 monographs in the fields of historical sociology and culture of memory. His books have been translated to German, English and Slovenian. His most recent volumes include: Prognani pojmovi (Banished Terms, 2018) and Manifest sećanja levice (The Left Memory Manifest, 2021).



This lecture is a part of the cycle titled “The Left” organised together with the Institute of Social Sciences from Belgrade.