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Archive for the ‘Zizek’ Category

Zizek RCA Animated Lecture

In Lectures, Zizek on July 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm
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International Journal of Zizek Studies – Call For Graduate Student Papers

In Badiou, Journals, Zizek on July 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm

THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ŽIŽEK STUDIES & THE CENTRE FOR IDEOLOGY CRITIQUE AND ŽIŽEK STUDIES

Žižek and Badiou

This special graduate student issue of the International Journal of Žižek Studies will explore the relationship between Slavoj Žižek’s and Alain Badiou’s work. It asks, how can we combine Žižek’s and Badiou‘s work? Are there specific areas or issues which enable a productive confrontation between their respective approaches? And, how can we utilise the differences and continuities to stimulate innovative engagements within other discourses?

For Issue 5.1 of the International Journal of Žižek Studies we invite graduate student submissions, within any context, on the above or related themes. Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by 31st August 2010 and the final deadline for submission of papers will be September 15th 2010. Please contact Guest-Editor Robert Crich to discuss submissions or queries: CrichRA@cardiff.ac.uk

Areas of interest include: comparative-engagements which utilise their different approaches to shed new light on a particular topic; comparative studies of their respective approaches to any particular issue; evaluations of their critical positions in relation to a particular theory or thinker; evaluations of the overlap between their respective philosophical and critical positions; their political positions and, for example, their critiques of liberal democracy, multiculturalism or the notion of tolerance; their account of capitalism and the role of political economy in their work; the role of ideology critique in their work.

Alex Callinicos on Marxism 2010

In Communism, Conference, Marxism, Zizek on July 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm

the constitutionally myopic financial markets are beginning to wake up to the fact that capitalism is very badly broken. The Keynesian economist Paul Krugman wrote a few days ago: “We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression,” following those of the late 19th century and of the 1930s. Marx described his own intellectual project as the critique of political economy: Marxism therefore lives or dies by its ability to make sense of the dynamics of capitalism and to offer a way out of it.

from the Guardian

….and feel free to play ‘spot the examples of capitalist realism’ in the cif section below the article.

Interview with Slavoj Zizek

In Interview, Uncategorized, Zizek on June 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm

From todays Observer:

“I am what you might call abstractly anti-capitalist,” he says. “For instance, I am suspicious of the old leftists who focus all their hatred on the United States. What about Chinese neo-colonialism? Why are the left silent about that? When I say this, it annoys them, of course. Good! My instinct as a philosopher is that we are effectively approaching a multicentric world, which means we need to ask new, and for the traditional left, unpleasant questions.”

Zizek and German Idealism Online Reading Group

In Lectures, Philosophy, Zizek on April 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

The people at An und für sich are running a book event from the 10th May on Markus Gabriel and Slavoj Žižek’s Mythology, Madness and Laughter: Subjectivity in German Idealism.

There will be a session every Monday, Wednesday and Friday where the book will be discussed in great detail and then an open thread for comments and discussion. Take a look over here and get involved.

A Round-up: Ideology and Film

In Anti-capitalism, Film, Ideology, Uncategorized, Zizek on March 28, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Maybe it’s because we have just been through Oscar season, but there has been some fantastic writing on film over the last few weeks.  First up, Slavoj Zizek has written on the two big films of the season: James Cameron’s Avatar (here in the New Stateman) and Catherine Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (from the LRB blog).

In the latter, Zizek draws our attention to the apparent invisibility of liberal ideology when it shun politics to offer a ‘human’ narrative. As he has argued similarly elsewhere, when “the focus on the perpetrator’s traumatic experience enables us to obliterate the entire ethico-political background of the conflict”, “in its very invisibility, ideology is here, more than ever”.

Zizek’s reading of Avatar (which he also elaborated on in his lecture at Cardiff) on the other hand illustrates how the link between Fantasy and Reality, is an inherent political one which designates the terrain of ideology. Ultimately concluding that behind Avatar’s spectacular visual and technological prowess the role of ideological fantasy remains a rather traditional one. Zizek points to how “the film enables us to practise a typical ideological division: sympathising with the idealised aborigines while rejecting their actual struggle.” In this way, drawing a comparison to the Maoist/peasant struggles in rural india, Zizek argues that “the true avatar is thus Avatar itself – the film substituting for reality.”

If I was being critical, in both Zizek’s plays it rather safe and offers little in addition to his writings elsewhere.  This is especially disappointing in relation to the fact, in terms of Avatar at least, that there has also been much interesting discussion about what the politics of the film which is left unmined.  This Times article (‘the love story that started a thinker’s war’) illustrates this nicely as well as, albeit inadvertently, raising a question about whether Avatar is merely a Symptom or if it was also something of a Master-Signifier.

K-punk’s contribution is similarly pertinent for its attempt, not to merely disregard the films technological aspects as merely a screen to hide an all too common idealised narrative. Whilst he reaffirms the insight from his discussion of Capitalist Realism regarding Hollywood’s corporate anti-capitalism, he also suggests that “what is foreclosed in the opposition between a predatory technologised capitalism and a primitive organicism … is the possibility of a modern, technologised anti-capitalism.” In this sense, he argues that Avatar points to a question of “how modern technological civilization can be organised in a different way.”

Moving away from Avatar, K-Punk has also written on Alice in Wonderland on his blog as well as The Road in the latest issue of the journal Film Quarterly. As I’ve got a post on it in the works, I won’t say much about his discussion of The Road here apart from he argues that it demonstrates how capitalism and commodities have become, even at the end of the world, something of a untranscendable horizon of thought.

His post on Alice in Wonderland entitled Infantilizing Children raises a somewhat different question about whether the dumbing down of the narrative into a simple binary between good and evil betrays the subversive edge of Lewis Carrols original text. Fisher here draws a line between this infantilization and neo-liberal culture which also elucidated upon in Capitalist Realism and in other blog posts.  He also makes the somewhat interesting suggestion that Alice in Wonderland is something of a precursor to Kafka, in the sense that they both offer “Nonsense world, incomprehensibly inconsistent, arbitrary and authoritarian, full of bizarre rituals”.

To finish, just a couple of other things that I’ve read in the last couple of weeks. Firstly Evan Calder Williams’ article on catastrophe cinema in Mute is a fantastic overview of Hollywood’s current obsession of apocalypse. He also has a very nice blog of his own here and apparently a book on its way with the imprint Zero. Secondly, another blog certainly worth checking out is Kim DOT Dammit’s which is right here. Her post on Up in the Air is particularly worth reading.

the love story that’s started a thinkers’ war

Audio from Zizek’s Lecture – Cardiff 3rd March

In Film, Ideology, Lectures, Marx, Podcasts, Zizek on March 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Introduction – Heiko Feldner and Fabio Vighi

Zizek’s Lecture

Questions and Discussion

Zizek Lecture Cardiff – Update

In Lectures, Zizek on March 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Just a little reminder for anyone attending the Zizek lecture on Wednesday that you need to arrive early (18.30) and bring a printed version of your ticket.

We’ve had such a lot of interest and have now got a quite considerable waiting list of people without tickets. So we really need people there and checked-in by 18.30 so we can fill any spaces before the talk starts.

Any problems email euros-pgr@cardiff.ac.uk

New Issue of the Zizek Studies Journal – Johnston and Vighi

In Anti-capitalism, Badiou, Johnston, Journals, Marx, Marxism, Zizek on February 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm

The latest issue of the International Journal of Zizek Studies hit the net today.  It is the first of an annual special ‘Zizek and Ideology’ edition edited by Cardiff University’s Centre for Ideology Critique and Zizek Studies.  It has some great contributions including, Jodi Dean’s on  Zizek and the Internet (I’m hoping this will feature in her new book Blog Theory) . And an excellent breif exchange between Adrian Johnston and Fabio Vighi regarding the former’s new book on Zizek and Badiou, The Cadence of Change.

Anyone familliar with Johnston’s work will know that it offers a formidanble (and encyclopedically argued) critical reading of both Badiou and Zizek. His most important contribution, and one that Zizek acknowledges in several places, is that we must carefully supplement the notion of Event (as used by both Zizek and Badiou) to overcome the common criticism hurled at it (i.e. by describing a transformation so radical that it creates it’s own presuppositions retroactively, the event/act can only result in political quietism and the naive belief that change can and will occur ex-nihilo ).

Johnston’s argues that to prepare the ground for the radical (truly) historical otherness which flares up all too briefly in an Evental situation, we need to develop a mode of pre-evental awareness (in time/politics).  Rigorously outlined in his latest book, this will ensure that we will engage in practical action in the meantime and yet still be ready for the big event when it “seems suddenly to present itself”.

Vighi’s critical retort to this is that, although insightful, it fails to break out from the specifically Badiouian/Zizekian problem that Johnston initially aims to overcome. By limiting his intervention to merely outlining a philosophical problem and daring not to apply it in the current conjecture, Johnston is only really, in effect, repeating the problem.  (i.e once again in a formal way Cadence of Change succumbs to an awkward quietism whilst awaiting  the miraculous intervention of an Event.)

In this way, Vighi rightly questions, to what extent does Johnston’s intervention, finely balanced as it is, “address the real problem” in Zizek’s and Badiou’s work? Even with Johnston’s important contribution to the debate, it he appears to remain “stuck in a somewhat fetishistic use of critical theory”.

Vighi asserts that the gap between theory and practice which Johnston attempts to bridge is in fact a false dichotomy. Thus, whilst theory is undoubtedly vital, it can only go so far. As he argues, “by definition, a political theory that does no include ‘seeds of the future’ by defying the material and ideological framework from which it speaks, cannot even dream to connect with empirical reality in the struggle for radical emancipation.”

What I really like about Vighi’s argument is that it unabashedly affirms a necessarily Marxist stance.  Indeed, the whole direction of his argument is along the lines of Marx’s statement regarding the  significance of ‘practical-critical’ activity. To once again state Marx’s oft-repeated eigth Thesis on Feurebach: “all mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.”

Slavoj Zizek – Cardiff University, 3rd March

In Anti-capitalism, Lectures, Marxism, Zizek on February 23, 2010 at 3:42 am

First as Tragedy, then as Farce: Economic Crisis and Ideology Critique Today

Zizek is coming to The Centre for Ideology Critique and Zizek Studies at Cardiff University next week to give a public lecture on the explicitly ideological dimension of the economic crisis.  For those unfamiliar: in his latest book, First as Tragedy, then as Farce, Zizek argued that The financial meltdown signals that the fantasy of globalization and liberal-capitalist utopia is over. The blatant irrationality of a system that staggers punch-drunk from contradiction to crisis is once again plain for all to see: from the exorbitant amounts of purely speculative money thrown to the interests of capital to the job losses and increasingly expanding gap between rich and poor, Capitalism appears fundamentally corrupt to all.  Yet, nonetheless it remains standing and functioning (albeit for the interests of the few). Whilst we know Capitalism is inherently flawed, it still dictates political interests and individuals across the globe. In this sense, it remains the Real (in both the Lacanian and everyday sense) of our lives. How do we understand this gap? It’s in the Ideology, Stupid!

The Lecture is open to all, although you need to register! 19:00, Wednesday 3rd March 2010,  Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

For further details and registration (which is essential, i’ve been reliably informed) see here