4 – 5 Jul 2013

Wholes Which Are Not One

On the Critical Potential of a Non-Dialectic Figure of Thought
The mutual, dialectic constitution of parts and wholes has come under suspicion in critical discourse for exerting violence dissimulated as harmony, and for allowing no way out despite the exclusions that it produces. But how can we avoid entering this dialectics without reifying either wholes or parts as simply given, as safe starting points for critical reflection, analysis, or practice? The workshop addresses this question by inquiring about both the one and the not in the notion of ‘Wholes Which Are Not One’, this year’s ICI Research Focus.

Considering the one, the first two parts addressed issues of counting and accounting. What counts, for example, as valid reasoning in science? How does Darwin’s epistemology rely on an analogy with accounting? How can an opera contest both the certainty of counting and the accountability of language? How do certain accounts of history account for the desires incited and abjected by a traumatic past? How can hoarding help us make sense of what this whole that we call the market cannot account for? And what, indeed, would it be like to give an account that is not one?

The third part suggested that the not in ‘wholes which are not one’ emerges from a point irreducible to the ambivalent dialectic of wholes and parts. Motivated by the sense that such a dialectic is part and parcel of regimes of coloniality, the panel proposes the notion of the ‘annihilation of the world’, and articulates this proposal through a consideration of refusal, decolonization, and failure in the thought of Malcolm X; the use of apocalyptic language in discussions of terrorism; the appropriation of anti-colonial literature; and queer performance in dictatorship architecture.Part 1: What Counts

  • Stefano Osnaghi: Contradiction and Complementarity in Indeterminist Accounts
  • Zeynep Bulut: Numbers, Syllables, and A Voice – Einstein on the Beach
  • Alice Gavin: ‘I Don’t Answer For What You May Have Lost’

Part 2: Unsettling Accounts

  • Nahal Naficy: There Was One, There Was Not One: Some Accounts of Contemporary Iran
  • Volker Woltersdorff: Sexual Ghosts, or How to Make History Whole?
  • Robert Meunier: From Collection to Experiment, from Accounting to Analyzing – Johannsen’s Critique of Darwinism
  • David Kishik: Garbage Studies

Part 3: The Colonial Whole: Failure, Refusal, Annihilation

  • Daniel C. Barber: Intelligence Against the World – Malcolm X on Race and the Religion of Recognition
  • Anaheed Al-Hardan (with David Landy): Representing Palestine, Disappearing Palestinians – The Double Appropriation of Ghassan Kanafani’s Return to Haifa
  • Bobby Benedicto: Paramodern Futures – Queer Space and Dictatorship Architecture in Metropolitan Manila


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Anaheed Al-Hardan
Daniel C. Barber
Bobby Benedicto
Zeynep Bulut
Honor Gavin
David Kishik
Robert Meunier
Nahal Naficy
Stefano Osnaghi
Volker Woltersdorff

Organized by

ICI Berlin

In English

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Rights: © ICI Berlin
Cite as: Wholes Which Are Not One: On the Critical Potential of a Non-Dialectic Figure of Thought, workshop, ICI Berlin, 4–5 July 2013 <>