Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Marxism in Culture: Upon Fractured Lines

25 October 2019, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm


The IAS is delighted to host this Marxism in Culture seminar with Sam Dolbear (School of Advanced Study)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Andrew Murray


rooms 3&4
History of Art Department, UCL
Gower Street
United Kingdom

This talk will address questions of individual and historical development, and their rupture at times of social, economic and technological crisis. The starting point will be a diagram of diasporic friendship and generation, constructed by Walter Benjamin in 1932, in which 48 figures, those Benjamin named as his Urbekanntschaften (‘primal acquaintances’), appear connected through lines of various kinds. Each name will be woven into this talk, through various sites of constellated encounter: from Berlin, to Zürich, Capri, Moscow, Paris and beyond. These spatial configurations will then knit into various ontogenetic stages: from adolescence and adulthood to childhood and afterlife, which, in turn, will be refracted back through the historical situation of their constitution, both in the specific lives of this generation and in the general (through concepts of generation and development more broadly). The result will be an account of fractured development, of both the individual and the collective, and a radical conception of historical life in this fractured state. 


Sam Dolbear completed his PhD at Birkbeck in 2018 and is currently a Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Visiting Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, exploring two figures of exile in London: the radio-producer, composer and poet Ernst Schoen (1884–1960) and the physician, sexologist and chiromancer Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986). In addition to this research, he is teaching at UC Berkeley and Skidmore College and has published widely, including Walter Benjamin: The Storyteller (Verso, 2016) and three co-edited pamphlets on The Arcades Project. With a number of others, he has also recently founded MayDay Radio, an audio collective based at MayDay Rooms.

All welcome!

Convenors: Matthew Beaumont, Dave Beech, Alan Bradshaw, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Larne Abse Gogarty, Esther Leslie, Luisa Lorenza Corna, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Andy Murray, Dominic Rahtz, Pete Smith, Peter Thomas, Alberto Toscano, Marina Vishmidt.