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Theory Roundtable*, Georges Bataille’s
“Theoretical Introduction” to La part maudite
/ The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy

The IAFA International Fantastic Division is sponsoring a theory roundtable at ICFA #41 on the “Theoretical Introduction” to French philosopher Georges Bataille’s La part maudite / The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy (1967, English trans. 1988), a political-economic book that presents a speculative theory of energy. Sean Singh Matharoo of UC Riverside will serve as facilitator; he plans for the session to proceed as follows:

First, following a short introduction during which Sean will position Bataille in the distinct histories of philosophy and literary studies, he will point out some key passages and terminology—including Bataille’s concepts of waste, “base materialism,” sacrifice, and generosity—which attendees will unpack together.

Second, attendees will explore, and together discuss answers to, these questions:

• To what extent does Bataille’s political economy allow us to confront the unsettling reality that anthropogenic climate change is a universal problem that disproportionately impacts the nonhuman—the opposite of Anthropos, the white European rational human Man?
• Does Bataille’s political economy gift us any tools with which we might transgress the capitalist economy of use and exchange that exploits nonhumans for energy?
• And, finally: How might we return to the study of the fantastic in the arts after reading Bataille in the contexts of anthropogenic climate change and the Anthropocenic energy crisis?

All ICFA #41 registrants are welcome, regardless of theoretical background. Though this article is available without cost online, those who want access to a publisher-approved version for the duration of the conference can visit the secure site [IF Division presenters and chairs of IF sessions for ICFA #41, as well as anyone who has presented in IF sessions for the past few ICFAs, are receiving the password to this URL over email, with apologies for cross-posting.]

To get that password (if you are not a current or recent-past IF Division presenter) or ask any other questions about this Roundtable or reading, contact: Sean Singh Matharoo (

*As of the 1/25/20 ICFA #41 program draft, this Roundtable is scheduled for session #84 on Fri. 3/20/20, from 8:30-10:00 am, in Vista D (downstairs). However, this date, time, & place might change, so check the latest program draft closer to the conference start time.