Slavoj Žižek, the internationally renowned academic known as “the most dangerous philosopher in the West,” is returning to Seton Hall to present a talk entitled “Why Do We Enjoy Feeling Ashamed?” on Tuesday, November 1, from 7-9 p.m. in Jubilee Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public and will be livestreamed and broadcasted across the globe.
On the topic, Žižek notes:
There is a clear link between shame and enjoyment: a subject can secretly enjoy feeling shame (especially when he is feeling shame for what another did or is). What is missing today is the reflexivity of shame: in our new culture of shame, we experience what Robert Pfaller calls a "shame which became shameless." The all-pervasiveness of shame thus at the same time signals its lack: we are not embarrassed by our shame, we shamelessly enjoy it. The politically correct stance is permeated by a common disappearing of desire which culminates in the desire to disappear, and the exemplary case of this desire to just disappear is a strong feeling of shame.
When Žižek last came to Seton Hall in the Fall of 2018, he presented a talk entitled "Samuel Beckett as the Writer of Political Abstraction; or, What Can Beckett Tell Us about the Alt-Right and Political Correctness?" The video of that lecture has more than 75,000 views.
The Slovenian academic has been described by Foreign Policy as "a celebrity philosopher," while naming him one of its "Top 100 Global Thinkers." He has also been called "the Elvis of cultural theory" by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Among his many current academic positions, Žižek is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia); Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School (Switzerland); International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities; and founder and president of the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana.
Author of more than 50 books, he has written widely in the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, film, politics, and theology. To give a sense of just how truly prolific an author he is, since his last visit to Seton Hall alone he has published eight books: The Relevance of the Communist Manifesto (2019); Sex and the Failed Absolute (2019); Hegel in a Wired Brain (2020); A Left that Dares to Speak Its Name: 34 Untimely Interventions (2020); Pandemic! COVID-19 Shakes the World (2020); Pandemic! 2: Chronicles of a Lost Time (2020); Heaven in Disorder (2021); and Surplus-Enjoyment: A Guide for the Non-Perplexed (2022).
English Professor Russell Sbriglia, who is the driving force behind Žižek's visit to Seton Hall, is the editor of a collection of essays on Žižek titled Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek (Duke University Press, 2017), which also features a chapter by Žižek. In addition, Professor Sbriglia has published another book with Žižek, a co-edited collection of essays on psychoanalytic and idealist approaches (and responses) to contemporary materialism. Titled Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism, the book was published by Northwestern University Press in 2020.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the English Department at Seton Hall University, the link to the livestream will be live on November 1, at 7p.m. EST for Slavoj Žižek, “Why Do We Enjoy Feeling Ashamed?” A video of the presentation will be made available afterward.
Categories: Arts and Culture