Wednesday, April 9, 2014

UIS professor explores "Engagement in a World Without Bodies" as part of Speakers Series

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speakers Series presents “Engagement in a World Without Bodies”. The presentation will be led by Richard Gilman-Opalsky, UIS associate professor of political science.

WHEN: Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: UIS Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: Gilman-Opalsky will discuss the emergence of a new mind-body split in the evolving contexts of cognitive labor and a cellular social life. He argues that the eight-hour workday has been replaced by a maximal-length workday, the workday of the wakeful state. The conscious energy of students and workers is increasingly available to friends, family, teachers, and employers with an expectation for 24-hour open access.

Gilman-Opalsky says the new regime of life and labor moves society toward a system of disembodied brain activity, which relegates the body to a kind of sensory-sexual apparatus that only requires basic maintenance. Brain activity has gone mobile, travels freely and fast in real time, and without the costly mass of the body itself. Indeed, new economic incentives demand that we use our brains beyond the limitations of our physical bodies.

A world without bodies is the profitable realization of a capitalist dream to overcome the physical boundaries of production and exchange. Gilman-Opalsky argues that dignity, freedom, and community are fundamentals of a good life, and therefore, that these questions matter to all of us.

This discussion is based on Gilman-Opalsky’s new book Precarious Communism: Manifest Mutations, Manifesto Detourned (2014).

For a list of other upcoming ECCE Speakers Series events and more information, visit All events are free and open to the public.

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