Dear all,

Next week at the Critical Antiquities workshop, we have the great pleasure of 
hosting Victoria Wohl (University of Toronot) for her paper, ‘Autobiography of 
a Daimon.’ The event will be held on Wednesday, April 20 10-11:30am (Sydney 
time). That translates to the following times elsewhere:

Singapore: Thursday, 8-9:30am
Tokyo: Thursday, 9-10:30am
Los Angeles: Wednesday, 5-6:30pm
Mexico City: Wednesday 7-8:30pm
Chicago: Wednesday, 7-8:30pm
New York City: Wednesday, 8-9:30pm

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announcements here<>. If you have 
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not sign up again.

Here is the abstract:

Empedocles’ Purifications begins with an exceptional statement. Greeting his 
fellow citizens of Acragas he proclaims “I come to you, an immortal god, no 
longer mortal” (B112.4 KA). He goes on to tell of his thirty-thousand year 
exile as a “daimon,” a narrative likewise recounted in the first person. This 
extraordinary first-person narrative invites us to read the poem as an 
autobiography in the root sense of the word, the written account (graphē) of 
the life (bios) of a self (autos). Empedocles’ philosophy explodes each 
component of the word and scrambles the relation among them. Empedocles’ cosmos 
is composed of four “roots” (earth, water, fire, and air) that combine and 
separate continually under the alternating force of Love and Strife. This 
system of elemental transformation destabilizes the autos and reconfigures the 
metaphysical syntax of autobiography: in place of a masterful self that rises 
above life to write it, in Empedocles self, life, and writing coexist in a 
dynamic assemblage in which each is equally material and equally alive. Taking 
his poem as an example of what Deleuze and Guattari call a “rhizomatic” text, 
my paper examines Empedocles’ “radical” experiment in materialist poetics and 
the paradoxes it produces. His wildly innovative poetic style, I propose, 
enacts the vibrant ontology of the roots as they live out their “unstable life” 
 (ou …empedos aiōn, B17.11) but also indicates the limits of his materialist 
project, as Empedocles himself – the author as stabilizing point of origin – is 
figured as the one exception to Empedoclean ontology.

We hope to see you there,

Tristan and Ben

Tristan Bradshaw
Lecturer, School of Liberal Arts | Co-director, Critical Antiquities Network
Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities | Building 19 Room 1085
University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia
T +61 2 4221 3850
Honorary Associate
The University of Sydney
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of Arts and Social 

University of Wollongong CRICOS: 00102E

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