London Critical Theory Summer School 2013
1st July - 12th July
The deadline for applications has now passed. Any applications sent after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list.
The 2013 London Critical Theory Summer School will take place at Birkbeck from 1st July - 12th July 2013. This unique opportunity is for graduate students and academics to follow a course of study and to foster exchange and debate. It will consist of at least 6 modules over the two weeks, each convened by one of the participating academics. This course does not offer transfer of credits.
Participating Academics include:
- Etienne Balibar The Four Scenes of “Ideology” in Althusser
Fresh readings of the work of Althusser, and the publication of his posthumous writings are re-establishing him as a major figure of “theory” (a designation for philosophy as social and political criticism that he coined himself) in the 20th century. Arguably, his concept of “ideology” remains at the same time the core of this construction and the most enigmatic notion, open to controversies and divergent interpretations. In the class, we will attempt to discuss it, making use of the fact that each tentative conceptualization of ideology is inseparable from a “scenario”, hence a “scene” (if not a stage), on which (or behind which) ideology is taking shape and producing its effects. Each class will focus on one of these “scenes” and read the major text in which it is described.
- Drucilla Cornell
How are we to understand the mass movements breaking out all over to days world as revolutionary.? What are the new visions and dreams that lead them including rethinkings in the case of the Arab Spring of Islam? If we need to reconsider our ideas about revolution what does this means for the ideals that have guided insurgent movements and how do these ideals fuel new ways of thinking about what it might mean to constitute a revolutionary government including one that seeks to constituionalize itself? What role do subaltern legalities have to play in retaining a productive tension between constitutive people's organization and new constitutional dispensations. Lastly what role does liberation theodicy and indigenous spiritualities play - keeping open ever new possibilities of revolutionary hope beyond any current organization of mass movements or even revolutionary governments?
The metaphysics of modernity opened a gap between 'is' and 'ought' which is now fast disappearing. As law permeates every aspect of society, it loses its specificity, form and ability to 'correct' the social order. Against this background which has led to the recent return of mass protests and uprisings, the module will examine the paradox of right, the right to resistance and revolution and will question the reaction of radical philosophy to the "rebirth of history".
- Stephen Frosh
Despite generating and stimulating much critical fervour, psychoanalysis has a troubled and troubling position in relation to politics. In these talks, I explore some ways in which it throws light on some selected political processes; how it might help us understand some of the haunting processes that operate in society; and how it has responded to some extreme political challenges.
- Esther Leslie
The two sessions investigate political and aesthetic questions accessed in relation to clouds. In the first the implications of clouds - be they of water vapour or of data - are considered as mappable forms, as ecological questions, and as questions of the common and commons. In the second session, the accent is on the demands and possibilities of complexity, questions of theory and obscurity, knowledge-sharing and the mobility of thought.
- Catherine Malabou
Levinas strongly opposes the idea that mediations and mediators are necessary in conflict resolution. The idea of a medium, that is of a third term, be it a man or a political institution, is according to him Christian in principle, and evokes the Holy Trinity even if no references are made to it. Spinoza, in his Theologico-Political Treatise, declares that Christianity, through the figure of Saint Paul, is a necessary scheme of reconciliation. Levinas strongly objects this in his article "The Spinoza Case". We will see what type of resolution Levinas is proposing against mediation. We will also elaborate a Hegelian answer to such a proposal.
- Laura MulveyMelodramas of motherhood: cinematic reflections on class, emotion and family life
The module will take as its point of departure four, very varied, films that revolve around motherhood. It will consider the ways in which the lives of these particular mothers are depicted within their own socially specific context while, at the same time, general typologies of the maternal and its associated themes link the films across wide differences of history and geography. From an aesthetic perspective, the module will analyse the melodrama as an expressive cinematic genre and will draw on key theoretical texts about the representation of motherhood and the relation between affect and image in film language. From a historical perspective, all four films will be located within the national cinemas from which they emerge.
- Slavoj Zizek Aspects of Event
The concept of Event permeates contemporary thought, from Heidegger’s Ereignis to Badiou’s Truth-Event, from Big Bang and other events in quantum physics to “emerging properties” in system theory, from Deleuze's Sense-Event to the Freudian trauma. The four classes will discern the common thread in these different orientations