What Is to Be Done?

Edinburgh Roundtable and St Andrews Workshop

This event entails a roundtable in Edinburgh as well as a workshop in St Andrews. Our goal is to explore the contentious relationship between ontology, critique and democratic politics, by simultaneously engaging with recent scholarship on the “ontological turn” in political theory and with reflections around the interface between varieties of critique and democratic agency. The roundtable in Edinburgh will bring together four leading voices in this debate. The workshop in St Andrews involves invited speakers as well as staff from both Edinburgh and St Andrews. Participation is free, but prior registration is requiredhttps://goo.gl/JXuBk3

Edinburgh roundtable

  • Location: Seminar Room 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building, University of Edinburgh, 15 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD, UK
  • Date/Time: 18th of November 2016, 16:00-18:00

Details of the event

The roundtable brings together Aletta Norval (Essex), Lois McNay (Oxford), Oliver Marchart (Vienna) and Sergei Prozorov (Helsinki). They will speak to the following three questions:

  1. Is political ontology merely the epochal form of critique at a time when alternatives to capitalism are often thought to be unimaginable?
  2. Have we exhausted the intellectual and practical resources of other forms of critique, such as feminist, post-colonial or Marxist approaches?
  3. What new forms of political imagination can animate critique and re-invigorate democratic practices?

The Edinburgh event will be chaired by one of the organisers.

St Andrews workshop

  • Location: Arts Lecture Theatre, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, KY16 9AX
  • Date/Time: 19th of November 2016, 10:30-18:00

Details of the event

The workshop in St Andrews involves invited speakers as well as staff from both Edinburgh and St Andrews. The Saturday workshop is pre-read. The full programme can be found here.


  • Nathan Coombs, University of Edinburgh
  • Akwugo Emejulu, University of Edinburgh
  • Anthony F. Lang Jr., University of St Andrews
  • Patrick Hayden, University of St. Andrews
  • Oliver Marchart, University of Vienna
  • Lois McNay, Oxford University
  • Mihaela Mihai, University of Edinburgh
  • Aletta Norval, University of Essex
  • Vassilios Paipais, University of St Andrews
  • Sergei Prozorov, University of Helsinki
  • Nick Rengger, University of St. Andrews
  • Mathias Thaler, University of Edinburgh

The roundtable and workshop are organised by:

  • Mihaela Mihai, University of Edinburgh
  • Vassilis Paipais, University of St Andrews
  • Mathias Thaler, University of Edinburgh