In these opening remarks, Žižek gave us a few points. The first being the broad categories of readings of Hegel. There used to be two main camps of reading: conservative and revolutionary. Now, Žižek points out, there is a new category of reading on the rise, that being the Liberal Hegel. Žižek points to the Robert Pippen at the University of Chicago, and the so-called Pittsburgh Hegelians. This camp has the characteristic of speaking of a deflated Hegel. For Žižek, this liberal reading was to be the enemy of the work presented at the conference. The other point brought up is the question as to what materialism today. There is Naturalistic Materialism, Discursive Materialism—on this Žižek said, “The Deconstruction era is over”—, and “New” (so-called) Materialism, about which I’m not sure what he meant, but he mentioned a phrase “vibrating matter” with regard to it. Finally Žižek closed his remarks with a musing that maybe to be a Marxist today is to revert Marx’s materialism back to Hegel—perhaps Hegel was more materialistic than Marx.
At the conference there were people recording the presentations. Those recordings are now available online. I highly recommend listening to the many presentations given over the course of the three days. I’m probably going to listen to them again soon. Perhaps my studying in the interim between the time of their recording and now will help me better follow their ideas.