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The Rise of Obscene Masters: A Masterclass with Slavoj Zizek

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building, B35

This event has ended.

Not such a long time ago, in a galaxy that now appears far, far away, the public space was clearly distinguished from the obscenities of private exchanges. Today, however, not only we can read in the mass media about the intimate details of public personalities, populist politicians themselves often regress to shameless obscenity. It is the very PUBLIC domain in which “fake news” circulates, in which rumors and conspiracy theories abound. One should not lose sight of what is so surprising about this rise of shameless obscenity. Traditionally (or in our retroactive view of tradition, at least), shameless obscenity worked as subversive, as an undermining of traditional domination, as depriving the Master of his false dignity. In the 1960s protesting students liked to use obscene words or make obscene gestures to embarrass figures of power and, so they claimed, denounce their hypocrisy. However, what we are getting today, with the exploding public obscenity, is not the disappearance of authority, of Master figures, but its forceful reappearance – we are getting something unimaginable decades ago, obscene Masters.


  • 20 November 2019 (2-4pm): TAKING DONALD TRUMP SERIOUSLY
  • 21 November 2019 (2-4pm): FOR A LEFT THAT DARES TO SPEAK ITS NAME



Slavoj Žižek, SEX AND THE FAILED ABSOLUTE, London: Bloomsbury 2019, Corollary 4 (Ibi Rhodus Ibi Saltus)


PLEASE NOTE: all free tickets set aside for current Birkbeck students and staff have been allocated. If you would like to be added to the waiting list for Birkbeck students, please email from your College email or provide your student number. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Contact name:

  • Prof Slavoj Zizek