Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life

Caren Irr

The contemporaneity working group has been meeting monthly (and sometimes semi-monthly) since 2008. This group of 7-15 faculty and graduate students from humanistic departments discusses theoretical and critical works that illuminate contemporary culture. Sometimes this involves reading classics such as Marx's Capital and asking how or whether they remain pertinent. Other times, we dive into movements such as affect studies or object-oriented ontology and ask what geographies and histories of the present they presume. On a few occasions, we have evaluated works that influenced current events--such as Howe and Strauss's The Fourth Turning, a work much admired by former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon. But, mainly, we assess thesis-driven theoretical writings by authors such as Alain Badiou, Luc Boltanski, David Graeber, Bruno Latour, Mark McGurl, Franco Moretti, and Guy Standing.

During 2018-19, the group has been doing a sustained close reading of Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life. We're interrogating the models of critique that Adorno develops as well his concepts of experience, style, massification, and marriage.

This work will culminate in a September 20, 2019 symposium entitled Minima Moralia Today: An Adorno Symposium.