Edited by Valeria Bonacci and Flavio Luzi

Giorgio Agamben is one of the most renowed and discussed contemporary philosophers: estimated as well as roughly criticized in the academic field, he has received an equally controversial reception within the theoretical positions of the movements emerged on the political scene since the end of the Nineties. With the twenty-year philosophical project Homo Sacer (of which the complete edition was recently published in Germany, France, United States, England, Spain and Italy) he has committed to a meticulous destitution of the ontological and political categories of the Western tradition, developing a toolbox capable of attacking the consolidated disciplinary boundaries – one can think of expressions such as naked life, exception, threshold, remnant, inoperativity, gesture, which, from the sphere of international philosophical reflection, have now penetrated the lexicon of human sciences, as well as of architecture and of art. At the same time, Giorgio Agamben could be considered as the pseudonym of a changing conceptual character, an epigone in the literal sense of one who is generated from others, authors and works belonging to the most different periods and fields. His writing moves ceaselessly between present and past, dialogue and archaeology, politics and philology, in a tension field it traces original constellations of. 

Under the title The Gesture that Remains. Contemporary Agamben, this issue of “Pólemos. Materiali di filosofia e critica sociale” aims at fostering a reflection on the author’s contribution to the current philosophical and political debate, taking part to a scientific production that, in Italy, has grown significantly only recently. Particularly, the title invites to deepen, and/or to critically reflect on, the notions through which Agamben formulates the philosophical-political proposal of Homo Sacer, with special regard for the ones which come to delineate its epilogue, such as inoperativity, destituent power, form of life, use, gesture.

The subtitle Contemporary Agamben also invites a reflection on the author’s archaeological investigations, intended, according to the Foucauldian assumption often referred to in his texts, as «the only way to access present». Finally the insistence on contemporaneity hints, on the one hand, at the dialogue with other thinkers of the XX-XXI centuries, and, on the other hand, at the reception of Agamben’s work in authors who, connecting with his speculative scaffolding, have taken up some of its themes developing them in new directions.

Possible topics of contribution include:

  • the original use of the concepts through which the philosophical and political proposal of Homo Sacer is formulated: inoperativeness, destituent power, modal ontology, exigence, form of life, use, gesture, especially in the last section of the series (The Highest Poverty, The Use of Bodies), and in its constellation of texts (Profanations, Nudities, The Fire and the Tale, Pulcinella, What is Philosophy?, Karman)
  • the relationship to other contemporary authors (as much to some of the main referents of Agamben, like Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, as to thinkers with whom he dialogues in his texts, such as Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy, Gilles Deleuze, Yan Thomas, Furio Jesi, Enzo Melandri, and Gianni Carchia)
  • the study of classical authors, according to the principle of the “Entwicklungsfähigkeit”, their potentiality to be developed in new directions (such as Plato, Aristotle, Paul, Plotinus, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant and Nietzsche)
  • the “radicalness” of Agamben’s thought: the possible points of contact with, or the distance from, the insurrectionary and revolutionary currents of the XIX-XX centuries (communism, anarchism, Marxism, blanquism, fourierism, situationism)
  • the philosophical and political reception of Agamben’s work (for example in the texts of Andrea Cavalletti or in the projects Tiqqun and The Invisible Committee)
  • the reflection on arts in Agamben’s work and its reception in the aesthetics

Articles should not exceed 40.000 typewritten characters, including spaces. Authors must include an English abstract (1.000 characters). Manuscripts should be submitted through the online submission form by June 1st, 2019 (.doc, .docx or .odt are accepted). Please include papers and abstracts together in one document and ensure that it is suitable for anonymous review. Papers directly connected to the themes mentioned above are especially encouraged. Proposed papers will be independently and blindly reviewed by two experts in the field. “Pólemos” accepts contributions in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Contributions should be sent to cfp@rivistapolemos.it

Authors who wish to propose papers on topics different from the ones mentioned above are welcome to discuss their proposals with the editors before submission, via the following addresses:




info » redazione[at]rivistapolemos.it
call for paper » cfp[at]rivistapolemos.it