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College of Arts and Sciences

Žižek Returns – Again

black and white headshot of ZizekInternationally renowned academic Slavoj Žižek is once again coming to Seton Hall – this time to present a talk entitled “Why Authoritarian Leaders Are Obscene.”

Žižek 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."

Sponsored by Poetry-in-the-Round and co-sponsored by the Department of English, the University Core, and the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts & Sciences, Žižek will present his talk in Jubilee Auditorium on Monday, April 8, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will be livestreamed and broadcasted across the globe.

The video presentation of Žižek’s last Seton Hall talk, from November 2022, has nearly 100,000 views on YouTube. The video presentation of his 2018 lecture at Seton Hall has more than 80,000 views.

Žižek has written widely in the fields of literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, film, politics and theology. He is the author of several dozen academic books including The Sublime Object of Ideology, The Parallax View, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism, and, most recently, Freedom: A Disease without Cure, as well as a playwright whose 2016 play The Three Lives of Antigone reimagines the classical tragedy by Sophocles for a twenty-first-century audience. 

Among his many current academic positions, Žižek is Senior Researcher and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), Professor of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School (Switzerland), and International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London. 

English Professor Russell Sbriglia, Ph.D., who has arranged Žižek's many visits 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 features a chapter by Žižek. He has also co-edited a book with Žižek, a collection of essays on psychoanalytic and idealist approaches (and responses) to contemporary materialism titled Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism (Northwestern University Press, 2020). 

“We’re extremely fortunate to be able to bring Slavoj back to campus,” said Professor Sbriglia. “Academics of his stature are few and far between these days, so whenever he visits us, it’s always a special event for the Seton Hall community, our students especially.” Sbriglia also stressed that Žižek “wasn’t just engaging in social niceties” when he said at the outset of his last Seton Hall talk that he was “very proud to be here” and that he “hoped it wouldn’t be his last time” visiting the university. “Seton Hall really is one of the few places in the U.S. that he considers a home away from home,” Sbriglia said. 

Žižek follows in a long line of distinguished philosophers and literary critics to have participated in the Poetry-in-the-Round speaker series, including Jacques Derrida, Stanley Cavell, Kenneth Burke, Harold Bloom, and Geoffrey Hartman. 

Categories: Nation and World

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