Renowned anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour returns to the Heyman Center to discuss various notions of globalization and the ways in which socio-political and economic factors influence varying definitions of the term. >>
Thursday Lecture Series are open to Columbia faculty, students, and guests. Special Events are open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
Spring 2020 Thursday Lecture Series "Ambivalence:"
This lecture series will offer a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives on the question of ambivalence as it relates to affects and operations of the aesthetic, modes of political action, forms of belonging, regimes of governance.
Ambivalence is often conceived in terms of absence or aporia. But at a time of polarization in contemporary thought, conventional perspectives on political action as grounded solely in either true belief or cynical rationalism fail to explain the many contradictions found within social organization and orders. Likewise, the sovereign “decisiveness” often attributed to political and economic configurations of power has long relied on shifting, swaying, often internally incoherent strategies of domination and dispossession. Rather than approach ambivalence as an absence, we propose to think of it as a form of agency that accounts for the varying, conflicting desires and demands that position subjects. Do ambivalence, contradiction, and alternation entail resources or risks for states, markets, or revolutionary movements? What changes if we think of ambivalence not solely as an affective experience on the level of the individual, but as a structure of feeling which is central to (post-)modernity? How might ambivalence characterize attitudes towards cultural objects and performances, as well as to aesthetic operations themselves? How could adopting ambivalence as an analytical position lead to new insights into processes of dispossession, reclamation or structural change?
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, Howard G.B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton, read early and recent selected poems before engaging in a discussion of his poetry with his compatriot Coilin Parsons, Lecturer in English at Columbia. A question and answer session followed. >>
In recent years, several North American academic disciplines, including history, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and media studies, have devoted significant attention towards practices of listening. The act of listening is undoubtedly an underexplored dimension of modern sensory experience -- and of modernity itself, which is too often characterized by an overdetermined regime of visuality. What can listening offer to emerging interdisciplinary work on perception, performance, aesthetics, social life, and the circulation of sound media? >>
The renowned philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, author of the bestselling Critique of Cynical Reason (English translation, 1988) and professor of philosophy and media theory at the Karlsruhe School of Design, Germany, spoke on his most recent book, entitled Du Musst Dei Leben Andern (You Must Change Your Life). >>
Distinguished economist and political commentator Prabhat Patnaik and Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz discussed the underlying causes of the current financial crisis. >>
Carlo Ginzburg, noted historian and pioneer of microhistory, returned to the Heyman Center to discuss "The Letter Kills: On Some Implications of 2 Corinthians 3:6." >>
David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Duncan Foley, Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Reserach, joined Prabhat Patnaik (see How to Think about the Financial Crisis) to discuss the relevance of Marxism as it pertains to the current financial crisis and beyond. >>
Manning Marable, Professor of History and Political Science and Director of the Center for Contemporary Black History at Columbia, discussed the geneaology of racial politics and the ways in which Barack Obama has both embraced and diverged from the politics of his African-American political forebears. >>
Donald Keene, Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at Columbia University and recipient of Japan's 2008 Order of Culture, spoke about the diaries of Japanese soldiers recovered by Americans during the Second World War. >>
Papers exploring the concept of wisdom in ancient thought included "Wisdom and Poetry in Early Stoic Thought," "Aesop and the Tradition of Pre-Philosophic Sophia," and "Divination and Wisdom in Iamblichus's De mysterii." >>
In the last of his three Heyman Center lectures this year, philosopher Charles Taylor spoke about his experience on the Bouchard-Taylor Commission - a commission appointed by the Quebec government to investigate, through a series of public hearings, the problems and challenges of recognizing and negotiating religious and cultural differences in the collective life and identity of Quebec. >>
Journalist Basharat Peer, novelist and journalist Hari Kunzru, Professor Akeel Bilgrami of Columbia University (and Director of the Heyman Center) and Professor Fawzia Afzal-Khan of Montclair State University discussed the connections between the recent attacks in India and radical Islamist ideology, as well as the historic struggle over Kashmir, and the prospects for future relations between India and Pakistan. >>
Mark Strand, Professor of English at Columbia University and former U.S. Poet Laureate, read a selection of his poems and discussed his poetic career with his longtime friend Richard Howard, Professor of Writing at Columbia's School of thr Arts and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. >>
Among the eight papers presented during this workshop were "Deconstructing Cold War Anthropology." "Theorist at Work: Talcott Parsons and the Carnegie Project," and "The Rise of the Chicago School of Economics and the Birth of Neoliberalism." >>
Beginning on April 15, twenty-two films by Satyajit Ray, including the Apu and Calcutta Trilogies, were screened at Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center. >>
Danielle Allen, Professor of Classics at the Institute for Advanced Study and a recipient of the Macarthur "Genius" Grant, discussed Plato as a knowing political strategist. Columbia professors Nadia Urbinati and Katja Vigt served as respondents. >>
Novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, and former philosophy professor William Gass explored the characteristics of baroque prose as evinced in John Donne's sermons and other, more contemporary works. >>
For the first time anywhere, Adrienne Rich and Antjie Krog - two of the most accomplished and celebrated contemporary poets and longtime admirers of one another's work - shared the stage to read selected poems. >>
Marxist literary theorist and political commentator Aijaz Ahmad discussed the socio-political geneaology of Islamism as an emergent phenomenon in world history. >>