College of Arts and Sciences

Waiting for Zizek: 'Most Dangerous Philosopher in the West' to Lecture on Samuel Beckett and Politics  

Black and white photo of Slavoj ŽižekInternationally renowned academic Slavoj Žižek is coming to Seton Hall to present 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 Slovenian thinker 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, and by VICE "the most dangerous philosopher in the West."

Žižek has written widely in the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, film, politics, and theology and is the author of more than fifty books, including: The Sublime Object of Ideology; For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor; Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology; The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Center of Political Ontology; The Parallax View; Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism; Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism; and Incontinence of the Void: Economico-Philosophical Spandrels.

Among the many academic positions he currently holds are Senior Researcher and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia); Professor of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School (Switzerland); International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London; and Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University. 

English Professor Russell Sbriglia, who arranged Žižek's visit to Seton Hall as part of the English Department's Poetry-in-the-Round speaker series, is the editor of a recently published 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 recently completed 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 will be published by Northwestern University Press next year.

As Seton Hall is home to the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture as well as The Chesterton Review (founded in 1974), it should also be noted that Chesterton is a frequent point of reference in Žižek's work. Žižek has even contributed an introduction to a translation of Chesterton's writing into Slovenian. In a paper entitled "Revolution, Paradox, and the Christian Tradition: A Chestertonian Debate between John Milbank and Slavoj Žižek," Professor Aaron Dunlap of Temple University writes: "To get right to the point, it seems that what Žižek really gets from Chesterton is the idea that, in the arsenal of human language and thought, paradox is the best weapon we have, the most effective way of getting at the truth of human existence." G.K Chesterton was known as "the prince of paradox."

"Samuel Beckett as the Writer of Political Abstraction; or, What Can Beckett Tell Us about the Alt-Right and Political Correctness?" will be presented by Poetry-in-the-Round at Seton Hall University on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Jubilee Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

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