The Adorno and Identity Seminars

Negative dialectics, the critical theorist Theodor Adorno wrote, “is suspicious of all identity.” The concept of identity and its negations—nonidentity and negative identity—are woven throughout Adorno’s wide-ranging corpus. This interdisciplinary series of virtual seminars on “Adorno and Identity,” convened by Jonathon Catlin (Princeton), Eric Oberle (Arizona State), and Fumi Okiji (Berkeley), revisits Adorno’s thought at a moment in which political, cultural, legal, and psychological notions of identity have expanded relevance and vexed public meaning. Across these sessions, scholars from diverse fields will return to Adorno’s theoretical framework in order to collectively develop more robust notions of identity, nonidentity, and negative identity, and to advance critical theory by connecting Adorno’s work to broader conversations about identity in adjacent fields, including the study of race, gender, sexuality, and technology.

This series of virtual seminars will meet on Zoom every other Friday over the course of the spring 2021 semester, beginning January 29 (1–3pm US EST). Each session will consist of two parts: three presentations of roughly 15 minutes each, followed by an hour of discussion amongst participants and the public audience. Please check this website for our current schedule and to join our email list. The open Zoom link (no registration required) for the sessions is available below. Prior to each session, outlines of the presentations are posted on this website under “documents and archive,” where you will also find recordings of past sessions.

The seminars are supported by Princeton University’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM), Arizona State University’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Rhetoric.


All sessions will take place at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern US time.

Zoom link:




1. Introduction: Adorno and the ambivalence of identity (Jan. 29, 2021)

Jonathon Catlin, Eric Oberle, and Fumi Okiji


2. Rethinking Adorno and race, part 1: Revisiting Du Bois and critical race theory (Feb. 12)

Corey D. B. Walker – “The Wound of Blackness: Thinking Adorno and the Limits of Critical Theory”

Oshrat Silberbusch – “‘The World Thus Darkly Through the Veil’: Reflections on Identity (Thinking) with Du Bois and Adorno”

Charlotte Baumann – “Adorno, Suffering and Critical Race Theory: Or, the Non-identical and the System”


3. Rethinking Adorno and Race, part 2: Freedom through fugitivity and negation (Feb. 26)

Henrike Kohpeiß – “Identity Produced by Negation: Freedom after Theodor Adorno and Saidiya Hartman”

Romy Opperman – “Critical Black Feminist Theory”

Anders Bartonek – “Marronage and Non-identity”


4. Rethinking Adorno and race, part 3: Fanon, racisms, and the question of praxis (March 12)

Martin Shuster – “Antiblackness, Antisemitism, and the State: Fanon, the Frankfurt School, and the Social Contract Tradition”

Sid Simpson and Ryan Curnow – “Stripping Away the Masks of Identity: Adorno and Fanon’s Negative Dialectics”


5. Adorno and queer dis/identification (April 9)

Asaf Angermann – “Queer Utopia and the Incommensurable: Adorno after Muñoz”

Kyle Kaplan – “Dear Adorno: On the Limits of Personal and Practical Advice”

Nicole Yokum – “The Politics of Avoidance: From Adornian Coldness to Edelmanian Antisociality”


6. Adorno and the politics of non-identity (April 16)

Frank Müller – “Reflections on the Politics of Non-identity”

Ariane Mintz – “Unveiling the ‘Individualistic Veil’: On Narcissistic Reactions to Capitalist Mutilations”

Robyn Marasco – “Elements of a Critical Theory of the Family”


7. Adorno in an age of identity thinking, big data, and new media (April 23)

Samir Gandesha – “Adorno’s Critique of Identity Thinking: Between the Abstract and Concrete”

Jerome Clarke – “Battle of Negroes in a Black Box: Nonidentity and Race Data”

Moira Weigel – “Ashli’s Third: Conformity, Counterculture, and the Authoritarian Personality 2.0”