ProfileFacundo Vega is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. A critical theorist and political philosopher by training, he began his studies at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. He is presently completing his dissertation at Cornell University, which has been generously supported by fellowships and awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), the American Friends of Marbach, the Martin-Heidegger-Stiftung, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.
Vega’s dissertation, “Extraordinary Matters: The Political after Martin Heidegger,” examines why a return to ontology became a salient source for new accounts of “political beginnings” in interwar Germany. Martin Heidegger was particularly exemplary of this trend. Though incidental, his claims for a new political founding moment, the dissertation contends, revealed a philosophical desire to challenge everyday life and denounce quotidian monotony and repetition. Vega’s research rereads this period in Heidegger’s work in order to propose a radical rethinking of current accounts of political beginnings. He argues, in particular, that Heidegger’s theory for unifying politics and ontology epitomized a pervasive philosophical enmity toward ordinariness. Such an enmity has become widespread in critical theory today, influencing thinkers from Jean-Luc Nancy to Ernesto Laclau. Breaking with such readings of Heidegger that see political novelty as part of the realm of “the extraordinary,” the dissertation instead examines the ordinary enactment of “being-in-common” found in political beginnings.
Vega is also developing a second research project, “Principles of An-archy and the Politics of the Many,” which compares Hannah Arendt’s and Reiner Schürmann’s shared but unacknowledged interest in the “principles of beginnings.” This new project examines how Arendt and Schürmann both drew from and reformulated Heidegger’s philosophy of inception in order to analyze what they understood as “‘rare moments of freedom’ in history.” It argues that, despite their attention to Heideggerian “principles” and “beginnings,” Arendt and Schürmann underestimated Heideggerian “banality.” While Vega’s first research project identifies an anti-ordinary current in critical theory and contemporary continental philosophy, his second examines philosophy and politics vis-à-vis the banal. “Principles of An-archy” provides an understanding of our contemporary world in terms of “the combined power of the many,” also known as democratic an-archy. Democratic an-archy, Vega claims, offers a unique resource for challenging the return of the exceptionalist myth of populist leadership and great men.
In addition to these research projects, Vega has written extensively on critical theory, contemporary continental philosophy, and political theory. His scholarly articles have appeared or are forthcoming in, among other journals, Philosophy Today, CR: The New Centennial Review, The European Legacy, and diacritics, for which he is currently co-editing a special volume on “Heidegger Today?” Finally, he has served on the editorial boards of diacritics and the Argentine Political Science Review.