Spring 2017

Special Events

Nietzsche 13/13: Frantz Fanon and Critical Race Theory

Frantz Fanon’s masterpiece, Black Skin, White Masks (1952), reflects a deep engagement with the thought of Nietzsche, especially in relation to the themes of the active and reactive, and in its engagement with the work of Alfred Adler. In this seminar, we will explore Fanon’s work and its influence on critical race theory. >>

Special Events

Nietzsche 13/13: Sarah Kofman on Nietzsche

The French philosopher, Sarah Kofman, developed new readings of Nietzsche and Freud, and left us with one of the most trenchant interpretations of Freud on female sexuality. This will be an opportunity to explore her work and her legacy in Paris at the Columbia Global Centers—Europe. The session will be held in Paris, but broadcast for faculty and students in New York City and elsewhere. Bernard E. Harcourt and Daniele Lorenzini will coordinate the session in Paris. Jesús R. Velasco will coordinate the session in New York. Kofman studied with Deleuze and attended Derrida’s seminars, so we will put Derrida’s writings in the background as well. >>

Special Events

Nietzsche 13/13: Frantz Fanon

with Emily Apter, Homi Bhabha, and Brandon Terry. Frantz Fanon’s (1925-1961) thought and writings are marked by an orientation toward a possible future both in time and space, captured so poignantly in the closing chapter of Black Skin, White Masks (1952)—his call to constantly introduce “invention into life,” to “endlessly create myself,” to “build the world of you”—and in the closing line of The Wretched of the Earth: “comrades, we must make a new start, develop a new way of thinking, and endeavor to create a new man.” Fanon’s call on the colonized to “start over a new history of man” is striking, and naturally brings to mind many of the themes we have been discussing in Nietzsche 13/13. >>

Special Events

Workshop: Applying for Academic Jobs in the Humanities

The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities invite graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and PhDs in the humanities to a workshop on the academic job search led by Professor Ellie Hisama. Topics to be covered include preparing the cover letter and CV, interviewing by Skype, giving a job talk, teaching a sample class, meeting with the search committee and administrators, and negotiating an offer.  >>

Special Events

Great Incompletes: Italy’s Unfinished Endeavors | An Interdisciplinary Conference

This is an interdisciplinary conference spanning two days. The keynote speech will be delivered by Professor Thomas Harrison (UCLA),  on February 3, titled: "The Art of the Incomplete", in which he will rethink art as "articulation of incompleteness". The event will take place in the Deutsches Haus at 6 pm. The keynote speech will be preceded by the screening and a Q&A with the author of Benoit Felici's documentary titled "Unfinished Italy" (33'), set for 4 pm. The graduate conference proper will take place on February 4, from 9 am to 8 pm, in Detusches Haus. Twelve graduate students from different backgrounds (Italian Studies, Philosophy, Art History, Critical Theory, Film Studies) will reflect on the relationship between incompleteness, art, and hermeneutics from different disciplinary perspectives.  >>

Special Events

Nietzsche 13/13: Foucault & Nietzsche

In his Rio lectures in 1973, Truth and Juridical Forms, Foucault targeted what he referred to as “the great Western myth”: the myth that, in order to achieve knowledge, one had to neutralize the effects of power, the illusion that it is even possible to sever knowledge from power. “This great myth needs to be dispelled,” Foucault stated. “It is this myth which Nietzsche began to demolish by showing… that, behind all knowledge [savoir], behind all attainment of knowledge [connaissance], what is involved is a struggle for power. Political power is not absent from knowledge, it is woven together with it.” >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Shock and Reverberation

RESCHEDULED: Shock of the Old/Reverberation of the New | Now 2/10/17 at 12:15pm

A number of scholars in the 1990s lamented that we can no longer truly hear the Ninth, and exhorted us to listen with fresh ears. A recent radical rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth should make them prick up their ears: Leif Inge’s 9 Beet Stretch (2002), a digital installation stretching the sounds of a CD recording of the Ninth to a length of 24 hours. At this glacial pace, the phrases, motives, and rhythms of Beethoven’s music are almost unrecognizable. Is it in fact still the Ninth? In this paper, Harvard Professor Alexander Rehding argues that this digital installation responds to a number of specific cultural and philosophical challenges of the turn of the millennium—temporality, monumentality, and selfhood. Not only is Leif Inge’s innovative 9 Beet Stretch an appropriate version of the Ninth for the digital age, for our time. What is more, its fundamental principle—which media theorists call “time axis manipulation”—can also be read as a parable of the pair shock/reverberation itself.  >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Shock and Reverberation

Tensions of Refuge: Revolt, Backlash and the Sanctuary Ideal in 19th Century America

This talk explores a crisis in the sanctuary ideal as a fundamental approach to US immigration policy and the United States’ role in the world.  Nineteenth-century Americans took very seriously the idea that the United States, as an emerging republic in a world of powerful monarchies, had a duty to offer safety to those escaping political repression elsewhere: if America wanted the distinction of being an exemplary and exceptional republic, Americans must hold open their doors for the persecuted.  According to this ideal, refugees fighting for their homelands’ freedom could keep their torches alight in America, mobilizing fellow exiles, financial resources, and public opinion to advance their causes worldwide; Americans would promote the global advance of liberty precisely by serving as a welcoming harbor for the persecuted.   >>

Special Events

Global Perspectives in Histories of Music Theory

This conference brings together music scholars and historians of science to develop new insights into global histories of music theory. Together, our participants investigate convergences and divergences across time and place. With talks on subjects including tuning theories in ancient China and court music in fifteenth-century Korea, this event explores how complex concepts in mathematics, cosmology, and artisanal practice arose in response to similar concerns around classifying pitches, modes, and instruments. >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Shock and Reverberation

The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Why it Matters Today

On September 9, 1971, almost 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions over four long days and nights. On Sept. 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed 39 men -- hostages as well as prisoners -- and severely wounded more than 100 others. In the ensuing months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners.Ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors or the families of the men who had been killed.This talk considers the 1971 Attica prison rebellion and why it matters today >>

Thursday Lecture Series: Shock and Reverberation

Fracking, Earthquakes, and Public Science in Rural America

The middle of the United States has shaken in recent years with unexpected earthquakes.  The most recent large midcontinent quake, an M5.8 tremor centered in eastern Oklahoma, was felt from the Dakotas through Texas. Scientists studying these earthquakes have implicated our recent shale energy revolution, particularly the pressure created by the massive volume of toxic wastewater produced when we use hydraulic fracturing to harvest oil and gas from shale formations.  In some states, regulators have restricted the underground injection of wastewater, but other states are taking only limited action or continue to deny the science linking fracking to earthquakes.  What can we make of such divergent responses to earthquakes that shake across state lines? >>

Special Events

Machiavelli on Liberty and Conflict

More than five hundred years after Machiavelli wrote The Prince, his landmark treatise on the pragmatic application of power remains a pivot point for debates on political thought. While scholars continue to investigate interpretations of The Prince in different contexts throughout history, from the Renaissance to the Risorgimento and Italian unification, other fruitful lines of research explore how Machiavelli’s ideas about power and leadership can further our understanding of contemporary political circumstances. >>