09 March 2009

CONF: Thinking with Spinoza: Politics, Philosophy and Religion

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College at the University of London
7-8 May 2009, Room B35 Birkbeck Main Building

Does religious pluralism undermine political co-operation? Does religion differ from superstition? What is the scope of philosophical knowledge? Can it live alongside religious faith? How can states combine pluralism with solidarity? How deeply does political co-operation depend on imagined narratives? These and other themes of Spinoza’s seminal "Theologico-Political Treatise" will be discussed at the two-day conference "Thinking with Spinoza: Politics, Philosophy and Religion".


- Etienne Balibar (Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities), "Spinoza’s Three Gods and the Modes of Communication"
- Aaron Garrett, (Boston University), "Knowing the Essence of the State"
- Don Garrett (New York University), "Spinoza’s ‘Promising’ Ideas: Contract and Covenant in the Theologico-Political Treatise"
- Moira Gatens (University of Sydney), "Compelling Fictions: Spinoza and George Eliot on Belief and Faith"
- Susan James (Birkbeck College), "When does Truth Matter? The Politics of Spinoza’s Philosophy"
- Warren Montag (Occidental College), "Lucretius Hebraizant: Spinoza’s reading of Ecclesiastes"
- Pierre-Francois Moreau (Ecole Normale Supérieure des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Lyon), "From Scripture to Nations: Spinoza’s Theory of History in the Theologico-Political Treatise"

Further attraction:

Beth Lord (University of Dundee) will launch the Spinoza Research Network, a two-year project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Registration essential. Standard fee £45; Birkbeck staff and all students £20.

Booking forms are available at:


The Spinoza Research Network offers two travel bursaries for doctoral candidates (or academics on part-time/fixed-term contracts) to attend this conference and the Network meeting. The bursary reimburses travel from within Europe (max. £150), registration fee (£20) and accommodation (max. £100). You will need to explain how the conference is relevant to your research. Doctoral candidates should include contact details for their supervisor. To apply, please email Beth Lord: b.lord@dundee.ac.uk

Spinoza Research Network:


This conference is co-sponsored by the European Journal of Philosophy and the Institute of Philosophy.

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