Arthur Bradley is Professor of Comparative Literature at Lancaster University. He works at the intersection of literature, religious studies, and political theory. His most recent book is Unbearable Life: A Genealogy of Political Erasure (Columbia University Press, 2019) and he has also recently published essays in Telos, Review of Politics and Political Theology. He co-edits the book series Political Theologies with Bloomsbury Press. In 2022, he is working on a new book provisionally entitled “In the Theatre of Sovereignty: Theory, Theatre, Thaumaturgy”.
Speaking at the conference
Saturday, 24 September, 4pm, Kosovel Hall
In the Antechamber of Power: Sovereign Divisibility in Schiller, Schmitt, and Benjamin
In a 1954 article in Die Zeit entitled “Im Vorraum der Macht [In the Antechamber of Power],” Carl Schmitt offers what is (to my knowledge) the only study of the antechamber in the history of political theory. To summarize my argument in this paper, I seek to contend that Schmitt’s theory of the antechamber sheds new light upon the Machtarchitektur of his political theory more widely: sovereign decisionism, the distinction between the exception and the rule and so on. In a reading of “Im Vorraum der Macht” – together with related representations of the antechamber by Schiller and Benjamin – I seek to describe how the later Schmitt re-imagines the sovereign chamber of power as the space of a paradoxical impotence, weakness, or division at the heart of sovereignty itself.
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