Spring 2016

Special Events

Visible Hands: Markets and the Making of American Art

The ‘invisible hand’ of the market, an idea first coined by enlightenment philosopher Adam Smith, has become a fundamental principle for advocates of free market capitalism. Smith’s famous turn of phrase disembodies the sensations of sight and touch, but by restoring their primacy in this workshop’s title, his metaphor acquires new possibilities for tracing the influence of the market on works of art. Far from neutral or natural creations, markets – like artworks – are forms that are always composed and manipulated according to the interests of their makers. This event brings together papers that explore the role of the market in the circulation and exchange of American art, and its visual and theoretical impact on the work of art itself. >>

Special Events

Foucault 13/13:The Birth of Biopolitics (1978–1979)

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows, with the support of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Hispanic Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses extending over the full 2015-2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to all Columbia faculty, fellows, and students.  >>

Special Events

Foucault 13/13: The Government of the Living (1979–1980)

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows, with the support of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Hispanic Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses extending over the full 2015-2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to all Columbia faculty, fellows, and students.  >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

Luther Orientalisch: Soldiers, Missionaries, and Second-Comings

Today, Martin Luther’s name insistently appears alongside “Islam,” to signal Islam’s lack and its need for its own Luther. Such calls are neither new nor exclusive to Islam: across the nineteenth century, in the Near East, South Asia, and East Asia, many identified themselves or others as Luther’s second-coming, as a Luther of the Orient. These calls forget the significance of Luther’s own writings on the Orient, on the Turk. This talk turns to Luther’s writings on the Turk to excavate his political theology of war. >>

Special Events

Material Encounters: Surface Tension, Screen Space

What is the place of materiality in our visual age of rapidly changing materials and media? How is it fashioned in the arts or manifested in virtual forms?  Professor Giuliana Bruno, the Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, will discuss these elements in her talk based on the her latest research and book, Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media (University of Chicago Press, 2014). >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

45 Years Trying to Destroy the Theater in Order to Illuminate My Own Stumbling Self

Full title: "45 Years Trying to Destroy the Theater in Order to Illuminate to My Own Stumbling Self or Perhaps Others."  This lecture examines the varying methods Foreman has used over 45 years to create theater that blocks normal ways of perceiving a theatrical event—and forces the spectator to use a different mental rhythm to make sense of his rather aggressive style.  >>

Special Events

Foucault 13/13: Subjectivity and Truth (1980–1981)

  • Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley
  • Katherine Franke, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia University
  • Stathis Gourgouris, Professor , Columbia University

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows, with the support of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Hispanic Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses extending over the full 2015-2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to all Columbia faculty, fellows, and students.  >>

Special Events

Foucault 13/13: The Hermeneutics of the Subject (1981–1982)

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows, with the support of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Hispanic Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses extending over the full 2015-2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to all Columbia faculty, fellows, and students.  >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

Jazz, Meditation, Ontology

While the ontology of musical works is a venerable theme in the philosophy of music, works of classical music have been the primary focus of study. This talk displaces that focus by considering the ontology of musical works in relation to jazz “standards.” Responding primarily to realist conceptions of musical works for performance, Professor Kane outlines an emergent, non-essentialist, network-based ontology of jazz standards. >>

Special Events

Foucault 13/13: The Government of Self and Others (1982–1983)

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows, with the support of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Hispanic Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses extending over the full 2015-2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to all Columbia faculty, fellows, and students.  >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

Mourning for Lincoln: Altered States, Transformed Nation

When President Lincoln was murdered, less than a week after his armies won the American Civil War in 1865, the nation confronted its first presidential assassination. Public responses to Lincoln’s death have been well chronicled, but Martha Hodes is the first to delve into the personal responses of African Americans and whites, Yankees and Confederates, men and women, soldiers and civilians. >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

Smoke Ring: The Japanese Smokers’ Wives Study and the American Anti-Tobacco Movement

In 1981, the British Medical Journal published the results of a Japanese study that concluded that the nonsmoking wives of smoking husbands were twice as likely to die from lung cancer as women whose husbands did not smoke. This talk examines the intertwined circulation of commodities and knowledge around the world: how American tobacco exports to Japan inadvertently fueled the nonsmokers’ rights movement in the United States. >>

Special Events

Foucault 13/13: The Courage of Truth (1983-1984)

  • Gayatri Spivak, University Professor, Columbia University

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and the Columbia Society of Fellows, with the support of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Hispanic Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française, are delighted to host 13 seminars on the 13 courses extending over the full 2015-2016 academic year at Columbia University. The seminar series will be open to all Columbia faculty, fellows, and students.  >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

Unfinished Art and Altered States

Two curators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art discuss their exhibition, "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible", which examines a subject critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished. The curators discuss the many ways in which unfinishedness and ideas of 'altered states' coincide. >>

Special Events

Ice Cubed Keynote: John Luther Adams and Barry Lopez in Conversation

Stark, icebound landscapes have long proved fruitful and generative subjects for artists who have inhabited them. How have the violence and serenity of such extreme places found their way into artistic expression, whether sonic or literary? In an age of rapid global warming, when does an artist become an activist? John Luther Adams, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of Become Ocean, and Barry Lopez, author of the National Book Award-winning Arctic Dreams, reflect on these and other themes in this special event. >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

Life from Inert Matter: The Mechanics of Spontaneous Generation

Spontaneous generation, the idea that some animals spring into life from nonliving matter (maggots from rotting meat, eels from mud) was a remarkably tenacious idea in the history of biology, not completely disappearing until almost the dawn of the twentieth century. Focusing mainly on the period from antiquity through the Renaissance, this paper argues that there were very good reasons for believing in spontaneous generation, but that at the same time, the phenomenon posed major theoretical problems that had to be overcome. >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

The Castrato Phantom: Moreschi, Fellini, and the Sacred Vernacular in Rome

This talk explores what Professor Feldman calls the "sacred vernacular" to puzzle out the conditions in twentieth-century Rome that mark the uncomfortable anomaly of the castrato, the last of whom, Alessandro Moreschi, died there in 1922. The term "sacred vernacular" refers to the peculiar Italian and especially Roman tendency to domesticate the sacred by means of the everyday. >>

Special Events

Art and the Monetary

From Manet’s single asparagus painted for a 200-franc overpayment to Duchamp’s Teeth's Loan & Trust check drawn for his dentist, the potential equivalence of art and money has been postulated as both generative and problematic. This one-day symposium considers intersections of the artistic and monetary worlds, examining the mutual concern for consumption, valuation, circulation, materiality, authenticity, and imitation that emerged from both artistic and economic spheres.  >>

Special Events

Science & Capitalism: Entangled Histories - Workshop for the 2018 Volume of Osiris

The histories of science and capitalism have always been bound up together. As far back as the 17th century, if not before, precise and detailed empirical knowledge has been valued by those seeking commercial gain. It is therefore no surprise that modern scholars have taken a keen interest in tracing the connections between the production of natural knowledge and development of commercial networks, between matters of fact and matters of exchange. >>