May 6 2016

Critical Theory and Life: Ethics, Religion, Ecology

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A Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale doctoral workshop at the University of Geneva 

Speakers:

Ann-Lise Francois (University of California, Berkeley)

Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University)

This one-day doctoral workshop aims to examine the situation of theoretical work in English studies in the early Twenty-First Century. Despite millennial proclamations of the ‘death of theory,’ critical theory remains alive and kicking. Indeed, the status of ‘life’ and ‘the living’ are key areas of contemporary theoretical interest. The continued need for theory in our era is often read as part of a larger ‘ethical turn’ in philosophy, but a range of questions about ‘life’ might provide a more politically-pertinent way of imagining this need. Such an interest stretches from a concern with the possible futures for biological life on earth in the era of the anthropocene, through to the rediscovered interest in political theology and biopolitics (or the politicization of life) in our era. These concerns and interests find theirhistorical place in the context of increasingly urgent modes of address to the diminished possibilities and hopes for everyday life post-2008, and they articulate the ways in which the very affective states of hope and optimism, as well as economic practices of enclosure and reserve that bind bodies to the political economies of the western world have become, to quote Lauren Berlant, ‘cruel.’ The day will be book-ended by interventions from our two speakers, whose work addresses in profoundly distinctive ways different aspects of these turns in recent theory. Each participant will also be invited to select a theoretical text that has shaped their way of reading literature, and to describe the impact of that text on their own work. Short excerpts from each text will be circulated to all participants beforehand. Our keynotes will be asked to do likewise, and in the morning, a reading group will be organised around their chosen texts. In the afternoon, doctoral students will be invited to present their work in progress, and to articulate the ways in which their work can be seen to be in dialogue with the theme of the workshop. The aim of the workshop is to be as inclusive as possible-it is not meant solely for those working on different aspects of critical theory or contemporary literature (while participants working in these areas will of course be extremely welcome). Indeed, the very fact that this workshop aims to examine theory in the context of a history of the present invites a range of responses. Those working on, say, early modern or Medieval religion, or on the body/affect, or those who simply want to get up to speed with current trends in theory, and to connect their own work with it, are very welcome.

10.00-5.30 May 26th 2016

University of Geneva

Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale

Register at: https://english.cuso.ch/upcoming-modules/


Oct 2 2015

On Creaturely Life

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A New Reading Group on Humanity and Animality at the University of Leeds

In the first meeting, the group will discuss the opening chapter of Eric Santner’s Creaturely Life and Rainer Maria Rilke’s “The Eighth Duino Elegy”. Please see the Creaturely Life webpage for links to the reading material: http://creaturelylife.tumblr.com/

3-5 pm, Wednesday, October 7th

Medical Humanities Suite

School of English

University of Leeds


Apr 16 2015

Anne-Lise Francois on Climate Change

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‘Climate Change and the Cumulus of History’

A lecture by Professor Anne-Lise Francois (University of California, Berkeley) at the University of Leeds

Anne-Lise Francois is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her book Open Secrets: The Literature of Uncounted Experience (Stanford UP, 2007) was awarded the René Wellek prize for Comparative Literature in 2010.

Thursday, 7th May 5.15 pm.

Seminar Room 5,

School of English,

University of Leeds.

This talk is generously funded by the Leverhulme Foundation.


Feb 24 2014

Mieke Bal’s Madame B

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A public screening of her new film Madame B followed by a lecture and Q & A with Mieke Bal.

Mieke Bal is a cultural theorist, critic and video artist. She is Professor Emeritus in Literary Theory at the University of Amsterdam and was also Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science and co-founder of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. This film is part of her project Madame B: Explorations in Emotional Capitalism.

6.00 pm, Wednesday 26th March

The Storey Institute, Lancaster (http://www.thestorey.co.uk/)

This event is hosted by the Department of English & Creative Writing and the Department of English Language & Linguistics at Lancaster University.