Lessons in Secular Criticism

Stathis Gourgouris

Thinking out loud 2012, an initiative of Writing Society's Dimitris Vardoulakis, presents three lectures at the State Library of New South Wales on Secular Criticism. The lectures will be presented by Professor Stathis Gourgouris from Columbia University.

"Secular criticism" is a term invented by Edward Said to combat the desire of much of modern thinking to reach for the transcendental, the very space philosophy wrested away from religion in the name of modernity. Stathis Gourgouris reinvokes the term "secular criticism" as a compass for addressing the necessity to reconceptualise the political space against religious tendencies of all kinds. Gourgouris will focus specifically on those parameters needed for societies to create new forms of collective reflection, interrogation, and action, which alter not only the current terrain of dominant politics but the very self-conceptualisation of what it means to be human. The most important dimension of the secular imagination is not the battle against religion per se, but the creation of radical conditions of social autonomy. Gourgouris will address these issues in this series of lectures.

Lecture 1: Monday, 21 May, "Secular Criticism as Poetics and Politics"

Lecture 2: Wednesday, 23 May, "Why I Am Not A Post-Secularist"

Lecture 3: Friday, 25 May, "The Prohibitive Politics of Political Theology"

All lectures will run from 6pm to 8 pm
 at the Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of New South Wales. Registration for each lecture is essential.

Download the Seminar Flyer

The respondent to the lectures will be Professor Nikolas Kompridis (University of Western Sydney)

Stathis Gourgouris is Professor in the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University. He is the author of Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization, and the Institution of Modern Greece (Stanford, 1996) and Does Literature Think? Literature as Theory for an Antimythical Era (Stanford, 2003), and editor of Freud and Fundamentalism (Fordham, 2010). He has also published numerous articles on democracy and Ancient Greek philosophy, modern poetics, film, contemporary music, Enlightenment law, psychoanalysis. He is also an internationally awarded poet, with four volumes of poetry published in Greek, most recent being ΕισαγωγÞ στην ΦυσικÞ [Introduction to Physics] (Athens, 2005). He writes regularly on contemporary political issues in major internet media, Greek newspapers, and journals. His current research on secular criticism is the subject of two books in progress, The Perils of the One and Nothing Sacred.


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