Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Northern Theory School: Foucault’s Iran: Religion, Politics, Revolution 17 December 2013

A workshop on  Michel Foucault’s writings on the Iranian Revolution led by Professor Michael Dillon (Lancaster University).
In 1978, Michel Foucault visited Iran twice as the Revolution began to unfold and subsequently interviewed the Ayatollah Khomenei in his Paris exile. He went on to write some 15 articles for the Corrierre della sera, Le nouvel observateur and Le monde reflecting upon the implications of the Islamic Revolution. To be sure, Foucault’s writings upon Iran are now some of the notorious in his body of work and have been roundly criticised by scholars for at best political naivete and at worst complicity with Khomenei’s regime. However, after more than 30 years of radical political Islamism of all persuasions, the ‘Iranian’ Foucault also begins to seem remarkably prescient, almost prophetic: Foucault was arguably one of the first western thinkers to grasp the complex nexus of religion and revolutionary politics that has become one of the defining challenges to neo-liberal modernity. What, then, are we to make of the Iranian Foucault today? How might we read it in the light of subsequent debates around resistance, biopolitics, political theology, not to mention a new set of revolutions in the Middle East? Why does Foucault speak of a new ‘political spirituality’ beginning to be born in the Islamic Revolution?
 2-5 pm, Tuesday 17th December, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University.
Please note: this event is free but places are strictly limited. In order to reserve a place, contact Arthur Bradley on a.h.bradley@lancaster.ac.uk.

More information: http://www.northerntheoryschool.co.uk/ 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Philosophies of History 2013-4 Program at Leeds

We warmly welcome all of those interested in 'the past'/past(s), how it is constructed, remembered, memorialized, theorized and otherwise invented, objectified, subjected and/or turned into 'History' - in short Philosophy of History and theories of History - to come along to the meetings.  Please do not feel that you don't 'know enough'.  Philosophy of History is only now re-emerging as a serious, critical topic, and our group was the first new collection of scholars in the UK and other English-speaking contexts to form together to discuss the issues in over a decade.  In this we were quickly followed and since then have been lucky to partner with these developing networks and programs, as well as the previous generation of groups and scholars.  The point is that the material, ideas and discourses are fresh to most of the people who come to the meetings, so please feel open to attend.  The discussions, although lively and serious, are also very relaxed - helped along by healthy wine and cheese breaks. 
For more information please email us at: philosophiesofhistory@gmail.com.

The meetings will be held in the Douglas Jefferson Room, School of English, University of Leeds and begin shortly after 5pm.  Of course, they will still also include a fine selection of refreshments, notably wine and various cheeses.

Leeds Program, 2013-4

31 October – Why care about the Philosophy of History, and how is it related to ‘Theory’?

Introduced by: Catalin Taranu, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Leeds
          •  Reading: Eric J. Hobsbawm, On History (London: Weidenfeld, 1997): pp: 56-70 & 94-123 .
        • Suggested further reading: Mieke Bal, “Deliver Us from A-Historicism: Metahistory forNon-Historians” in R. Doran (ed.) Philosophy of History After Hayden White (London: Bloomsbury, 2013): pp. 67-88;  Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (NY: Routledge, 2002 [1954]).

28 November – ‘Historicizing History, Historicizing the Past’

Introduced by: Dr. Alaric Hall, School of English, University of Leeds
          • Reading: Zachary S. Schiffman, “Historicizing History/Contextualizing Context”, New Literary History, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Summer, 2011): 477-98; Slavoj Žižek, ‘Cogito against Historicism’, in Living in the End Times (London: Verso, 2011): 279-91.

20 February – History, Media & the Meaning of the Past

Introduced by: TBD
            • Reading: Ernesto Laclau, On Populist Reason (Verso reprint, 2007 [2005]); Alain Badiou, Rebirth of History (Verso, 2013): 1-6 & 96-105.

20 March – History as a Thought-Process

Introduced by:  Professor Catherine Karkov, Head of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds

            • Reading: Herman Paul, “Performing History: How Historical Scholarship is Shaped by Epistemic Virtues”, History and Theory, vol. 50, no. 1 (February, 2011): 1-19; Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study in Medieval Culture  (Cambridge, 2008): 1-18.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Quilting Points: Reading Benjamin Wednesday 4th December, 3.30pm

The next meeting of Quilting Points is
Wednesday 4th December, 3.30pm,
Alumni Room, School of English

We will be continuing our exploration of history and redemption by discussing Benjamin's "Eduard Fuchs: Collector and Historian" which is available here:

Also recommended to accompany this, is his shorter essay "Unpacking my library" which is available here:

The text will be introduced by Leila Nassereldein (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies)

We hope you can join us! As this is our last session this semester, there is talk of going for a drink after the discussions.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Quilting Points: Reading Benjamin: Wednesday 20th November, 3.30pm

Quilting Points: Reading Benjamin will meet:
Wednesday 20th November, 3.30pm, The Alumni Room, School of English

We shall be continuing our discussion of Theses on the Concept of History – use this link for a (perhaps) better translation than the one used last week

In addition, we shall consider Adorno’s essay ‘Progress’, which can be accessed in full in google books (the ‘Critical Models’ volume) here:

All welcome!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Quilting Points: Reading Benjamin 6th of November

Quilting Points: Reading Benjamin will meet:
Wednesday 6th November, 3.30pm, The Alumni Room, School of English (House 10)

We shall be discussing two texts:
Benjamin's Theses on the Concept of History (especially Theses I - IX)

Giorgio Agamben's essay 'Walter Benjamin and the Demonic: Happiness and Historical Redemption'
[For a copy, please contact Stefan Skrimshire S.Skrimshire@leeds.ac.uk or quiltingpoints@gmail.com]

The discussion will be introduced by Catalin Taranu (School of History)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Play: Hilda & Freud - The Freud Museum in London - 12 to 16 Nov 2013

Dear all,

On behalf of our colleague Silvana De Paula, we would like to draw your attention to the play "Hilda & Freud", written and directed by Antonio Quinet, a  Brazilian psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and philosopher (Paris VIII), who is very well acknowledged in Brazil for his clinical work and for his contributions to the lacanian field through  the publication of his own  books as well as for  his translations of Lacan's.  Quinet studied and worked with Lacan for many years.
In the last 10 years or more,  he has also worked with theater, and his plays have been also well received.  One of them, "La leçon de Charcot", was staged in Paris  a couple of weeks ago by invitation of the  International Colloquium La Salpêtrière: un théatre de l'hystérie - Charcot, Freud, Lacan", at the 120th anniversary of Charcot's death.

"Hilda & Freud" will be staged  in English at the Freud Museum in London, from  the 12th to 16th Nov, at 7 pm. For booking, please go to :

Reading Benjamin: 'On the Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Progress'

You are warmly invited to join us for the next meeting of Quilting Points: Reading Benjamin on the 23rd of October at 3.30 pm. This week we will meet in Seminar Room 6 (School of English, House 9).

We will be reading Benjamin's 'On  the Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Progress'. For an accompanying reading, following Layla's advice, we suggest Rolf Tiedmann's 'Dialectics at Standstill.' If you would like a copy of the text, please contact the organisers at quiltingpoints@gmail.com.

The reading group is generously supported by the LHRI.

If you are interested in introducing one of the texts in the future, please contact the organisers.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Reading Benjamin: The Life of Students

You are cordially invited to the first meeting of this reading group Reading Benjamin dedicated to critical and cultural theory across the disciplines.

Wednesday 9th October, 3.30pm,
The Alumni Room, School of English, University of Leeds

We shall be reading Benjamin's 'The Life of Students'
- a pertinent little piece for the start of term, and a feisty little introduction to his wider thought on History. We'll also be discussing the remaining programme of texts for the semester.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines 2012/2013

Our theme for this year is Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines. It aims to examine the academic and intellectual work of the psychoanalyst and anti-philosopher Jacques Lacan, whose research and writings intersect disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences.  The organizers believe that such an approach is particularly fruitful for quilting together scholars from fields usually considered mutually exclusive, as well as clarify relationships in those disciplines with ambiguous liminality.   

In order to read Lacan reading across the Disciplines, we will critically engage with the texts that influenced his thought and style.  The scope of these texts ranges in genre from literature and poetry across history and medieval studies to philosophy, psychology and anthropology.  Each meeting will focus on a particular essay by Lacan and be introduced by a member of the group; the work of the reading group will be punctuated by four seminar papers presented by leading scholars from around the United Kingdom.

Reading Benjamin 2013/2014

Building on last year's successful 'Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines', this year the Quilting Points Reading group will focus  on the work of the German philosopher and critical theorist Walter Benjamin.
The focus for readings in the first semester will be History, Time and the Messianic and the second, the theme of Violence.

Each meeting will be introduced by a member of the group; the work of the reading group will be punctuated by four seminar papers presented by leading scholars from around the United Kingdom.

The aim  of this group will be to allow staff and research students across  the Faculty to deepen their engagement with the primary and  secondary texts with the benefit of different disciplinary expertise   both within the university, and by inviting experts for other   universities to present one-off seminar introductions. It is also hoped that the reading group will bridge research interests of the  newly formed Northern Critical Theory School with those of postgraduate students.

Monday, 29 April 2013

"On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis"

The last meeting of the Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines Reading Group will take
place in the Alumni Room of the School of English at 5.15pm on Thursday, 2nd of May.

Nicholas Ray (English) will be introducing the text,

"On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis", Ecrits, trans. Bruce Fink,
pp. 445-488.

Wine and orange juice will be served, all are welcome.

As this will be the last meeting of the year, we will also discuss what our theme will be
for next year: bring ideas and suggestions!

Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines has been generously funded by the LHRI's Graduate Research Group Scheme.

Monday, 11 March 2013

CFP: Advertising and Consumer Culture


Commercial speech – advertising – makes up most of what we share as a culture . . . As the language of commercialism has become louder, the language of high culture has become quieter.
                – James B. Twitchell, Twenty Ads that Shook the World

Throughout the modern period, advertising and consumer culture have dominated everyday life; moreover, the trappings of commercialism permeate much of supposed ‘high culture’. Commodities clutter the pages of novels from Dickens and Zola to Bret Easton Ellis; works by Joyce and DeLillo are enlivened by advertising jingles and slogans; brands and trademarks pervade the practice of artists from Picasso to Warhol and the visualisation of consumer desire is appropriated and challenged in the work of Richard Hamilton and Martha Rosler.

Whether celebrating or critiquing advertising and consumer culture, art reflects our enduring fascination with them, despite research into the psychological effects of advertising, concerns over the evils of consumerism, and the often sinister nature of market research. The recent television show Mad Men, for instance, has revivified interest and scholarly debate surrounding the power of advertising and the consumer, as well as restaging debates around sexism, truth and the heteronormative ideal. Meanwhile, sociology in the wake of Erving Goffman continues to explore advertising’s uses and abuses of gender, identity and desire. Countervailing against consumerism and advertising’s many critics, theorists such as Michel de Certeau and the critical movement Thing Theory have endeavoured to examine advertising and consumer culture from a standpoint that goes beyond the model of the ‘passive consumer’ or Marx’s account of commodity fetishism.

We invite abstracts for 20 minute papers from postgraduate students and early-career researchers working in the modern period (1850-present day) across the humanities and social sciences. This conference aims to provoke interdisciplinary discussion about advertising and consumer culture. We therefore welcome papers that address these topics from historical, sociological, political or anthropological perspectives, as well as papers that analyse advertisements themselves and the representation of advertising and modern consumer culture in literature, film, television, theatre, and visual art.

Topics for discussion may include but are by no means limited to:
-The ways in which advertising and consumer culture intersect with issues of class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity
-Psychological/psychoanalytic perspectives on advertising and consumer behaviour; how identity is created and reflected through participation in consumer culture; the legacy of Freud and Bernays
-How artists have appropriated the techniques of advertising, or have been co-opted by advertising and commodity culture (Koons, Rosler, Murakami, Kusama and Hirst)
-Theorists who have engaged with advertising and consumer culture (Adorno, Barthes, Baudrillard, Certeau, Fukuyama, Goffman, Klein, Marx, McLuhan)
-The use of music in advertisements
-The formal innovations literature has adopted to create a poetics of advertising/consumer culture
-Shopping, the rise of the department store, brand names, and their representation in culture
-Histories of advertising agencies or ‘ad-men’
-How the importance of advertising in art may challenge the boundaries between high and low culture and/or modernism and postmodernism
-Anti-consumerist movements (the Situationist International, Adbusters) and strategies (détournement, culture jamming)
-The recent transformations advertising has undergone as a result of social media
-The advert as spectacle or ‘event’ (celebrity endorsements, Christmas advertising, product placement, Pawel Althamer’s Real Time Movie)
-Figures who have worked in advertising, either before or during their artistic careers (Fitzgerald, Rushdie, DeLillo, Warhol, Lynch)
-Political advertising and the roles of politics in advertising

Abstracts for papers should be no more than 300 words in length, and submitted by Monday 25th March 2013 to cmods-pgforum@york.ac.uk. We ask that applicants also include a short biography. For further information about the symposium or the CModS Postgraduate Forum, please contact us at this address, or visit http://www.york.ac.uk/modernstudies/postgraduate-forum/.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

"The Paradox of Jouissance" (Part 2)

For the last meeting of the term, we will be reading the second half of "The Paradox of Jouissance", Part Three of Lacan's The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (Chapters 16,17 & 18).

We will meet in the Douglas Jefferson Room of the School of English on Tuesday 12th of March at 5.15pm.

John Mark Derbyshire (English) will introduce the text.

Wine, as always, will be served. Orange juice on prior request.
We are grateful to the Leeds Humanities Research Institute for funding.

Friday, 1 February 2013

"Lacan on Religion and Love": Seminar by Prof. Lorenzo Chiesa (Kent) on 25th of February

The Second Research Seminar for Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines will be held in the Douglas Jefferson Room of the School of English on Monday the 25th of February at 5.15pm.
Our speaker will be Professor Lorenzo Chiesa (Kent) and the title of his paper will be:

"Lacan on Religion and Love"

Lorenzo Chiesa is Professor of Modern European Thought at the University of Kent. His books include Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan (MIT Press, 2007) and Der Möglichkeitspunkt der Freiheitsfunktion. Essays zu Politik, Ästhetik und Psychoanalyse (Merve Verlag Berlin 2013). He is currently completing a new monograph on Lacan entitled For Lacan: Science, Logic, Love (MIT Press, 2014).

Lacan Read(s) Across the Disciplines is funded by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute.

"The Paradox of Jouissance" February 14th

In celebration of Valentine's Day, we will be reading the first half of "The Paradox of Jouissance", Part Three of The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (Chapters 13,14 & 15). It seems like a good way not to give ground regarding our desire.

Timothy Roby (English) will introduce the text.

Wine, as always, will be served. Orange juice on prior request.

We are grateful to the Leeds Humanities Research Institute for funding.