Special Events

Coping with Waste: Copropolitics Ancient and Modern

Monday, The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room

Please join us for this special lecture by The Society of Fellows' Dan-el Padilla Peralta (2014 - 2016)

The fecal has a singular capacity to tantalize and transfix. If Piero Manzoni’s notorious Merda d’artista cans did not make the case persuasively enough, a recent installation at the Guggenheim Museum has re-activated questions about the valence and signification of the fecal in the realm of the aesthetic: is it “just” play? Calculated satire? Transgression for transgression’s sake? Far from being restricted to the precincts of art, shit the artifact has enjoyed a distinguished career as the stuff of political satire; here we might summon to the witness stand the street artist Hanksy’s Trump mural on Orchard Street in New York City. Not despite but because of its repulsiveness, the excremental has a power to signify equaled by only a few other liquids or solids. My talk will argue, first, that the signifying potency of shit justifies a disciplinary program of its very own, a “fecopoetics” and a “copropolitics”; and second, that this disciplinary program should be incubated within the field of Classics.