Category Archives: Lectures

the party as form: Jodi Dean at Gallery 400

o15_0rtxxtdxWhat infrastructures can sustain the momentum of an event of political massing?  What are compelling idioms, amidst ideologies and theories of anarchic post-politics, for affirming formations as integral to political struggle? In her book Crowds and Party, Jodi Dean argues that the party must be reclaimed as a site and modality of politics; InterCcECT previously hosted a lively mini-seminar on the book and is thrilled to now host Professor Dean herself for a talk and debate.

Join us Thursday 20 October, 5pm, in the lovely environs of our frequent collaborator Gallery 400.

400 S Peoria St, 60607 (Blue Line: UIC Halsted)

made possible by generous support from The UIC Institute for the Humanities, The Great Cities Institute, Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement, Gallery 400, Departments of English, Art History, Gender&Womens Studies, Political Science, and Anthropology.





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Hegel’s Kilogram

What maps can relay the convergences and divergences, the topoi and the antagonisms, of philosophy and science?  How might the very terrain of modernity take different shape if these maps were recast?

InterCcECT is delighted to present “Hegel’s Kilogram,” a lecture by Nathan Brown, Director of the Centre for Expanded Poetics at Concordia University.   Join us Thursday 14 April, 4:30pm, at the gallery of our generous partners Sector 2337, 2337 N Milwaukee Ave (Blue Line: California).

System of Units

Hegel’s Kilogram: On the Measure of Metrical Units
Hegel’s theory of measure, articulated in the Science of Logic, was developed shortly after the foundation of the metric system in the late 18th century. The establishment of physical standards for the meter and the kilogram, fabricated and archived at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres in 1799, illustrates Hegel’s understanding of measure as “the concrete truth of being” in a curiously salient way, demanding consideration of the relation between scientific accuracy, metaphysical speculation, and material particularity. The metric system instantiated universal standards of measure in singular physical objects, themselves created through meticulous measurement practices, thus dramatizing the problem of grounding in relation to both particular metrical units and the practice of science in general.
What is at stake, conceptually and empirically, when these inaugural units are themselves redefined? Since the 1960s, key standards of the International System of Units (SI) have been redefined on the basis of numerical constants, such as the speed of light (c) and the elementary charge (e), rather than physical objects. This paper considers ongoing efforts to redefine the kilogram unit on the basis of the Planck constant, focusing in particular on Watt Balance experiments carried out at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These experiments offer a fascinating contemporary case study of the problem of measure. Considering both their empirical operations and their conceptual implications, I argue that the redefinition of metrical units is a key site for thinking not only the imbrication of epistemology and ontology, but also for understanding the history of modernity at the crux of science and philosophy.


Before and After, mark your calendars:


April 4  Henry James, Media Archaeologist

April 15 German Philosophical Aesthetics

April 18 Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition

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decolonizing images

Through what processes of mediation, under what circumstances, down which paths of struggle, can colonialist iconography be appropriated for anti-colonial nationalism? What are the wages of the image for the work of sovereignty? Is photography trans-contextual?Flandrin image

InterCcECT is delighted to present Casablanca Retro: Colonial Photography, History and Memory in Postcolonial Morocco, a talk by Patricia Goldsworthy Bishop. Join us Thursday, 5 November, 7pm, at the arts & events space of our partners Sector 2237,2337 N Milwaukee Ave (Blue Line: California).

Talk Abstract:

Throughout the colonial era photographers such as Marcelin Flandrin, an Algerian pied-noir who settled in Morocco at the establishment of the protectorate, collaborated with the government and tourism boards to construct a European vision of North African society and history. Known as the photographer of Casablanca because of his heavy involvement with the Protectorate government, after independence Flandrin’s work was criticized for reproducing Orientalist stereotypes and supporting the colonizing mission. Since the 1980s, however, Moroccan cultural, educational, and financial institutions have reinterpreted Flandrin’s images in order to resituate the protectorate as a part of Moroccan, rather than French, history. This talk traces Flandrin’s transformation from an archetypal French colonial photographer to a part of Moroccan heritage through an analysis of Flandrin’s 1928 and 1956 publications on photographs of the city of Casablanca (Casablanca from 1889 to the Present) and their subsequent reprinting by Moroccan scholars in 1988 (Casablanca Retro). Through the reinterpretation of these images and the appropriation of Flandrin by Moroccans, we can see the process of writing, resisting, and revising history and the instrumental role played by imagery in this process in colonial and post-colonial Morocco.


Our theory itinerary for the coming weeks:

20 Oct, Liquidity/Value: Reconceiving Marx for an Era of Financialization
22 Oct, The Sovereign’s Personal Element
23-24 Oct, Thinking Universalities
29 Oct, Experts and their Images
29-31 Oct, Revolutions in the Concept of Form
18 Nov, Civil War and Imperialism: Unimagining Community in the British Empire

To propose or announce events, contact us at intercecct @ gmail, or find us on Facebook.

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V21 Collective Inaugural Symposium: Presentism, Form, and the Future of History

a series of collaborative, experimental roundtables featuring affiliates of the V21 collective
October 9th and 10th, 2015
University of Chicago | Saieh Hall 021 (5757 S University Ave)
Friday, October 9
9:00am: Opening Remarks: Benjamin Morgan

9:15-11am: Bleak House Today
On how the form of Dickens’s novel resonates through time
Alex Woloch (roundtable anchor)
Elaine Auyoung
Elisha Cohn
David Coombs
Jonathan Farina
Emily Steinlight
Megan Ward

11:15-12:45: Theorizing the Present
On the continuing significance of Nietzsche’s critique of nineteenth-century historicisms, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life”
Pearl Brilmyer (discussion facilitator)
Danielle Coriale
Eleanor Courtemanche
Devin Griffiths
Matthew Sussman
Danny Wright

2pm-4pm: The Way We Write Now
On questions of method and interpretation in the current work of V21 affiliates
Caroline Levine (roundtable anchor)
Carolyn Betensky
Ellis Hanson
Anna Kornbluh
David Kurnick
Jesse Rosenthal
Jesse Oak Taylor

4:30-6:30 Empire and Unfielding
On the disciplinary relationship between Victorian Studies and studies of empire, grounded in Antoinette Burton and Isabel Hofmeyr’s Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire: Creating an Imperial Common
Antoinette Burton and Isabel Hofmeyr (roundtable anchors)
Tanya Agathocleous
Nathan Hensley
Jos Lavery
Sebastian Lecourt
Nasser Mufti
Mary Mullen

Affiliates Dinner
Evening Salon, Maeve Adams and Molly Clark Hillard, facilitators

Saturday, October 10
9:30-11: Plenary, “Atrocity in the Novel, Atrocity in History” Bruce Robbins
Introduction, Rachel O’Connell
Response, Zach Samalin

11:30-12:30: Symposium wrap-up, moderated by Elaine Hadley

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration is now closed.

Made possible by the generous support of the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Department of English Language and Literature, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, and the Center for International Studies.  Additional support provided by the Institute for the Humanities, University of Illinois at Chicago, the Department of English, UIC, and the Inter Chicago Circle for Experimental Critical Theory.

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revisiting Cartographies of the Absolute: a lecture by Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle

What must a map of the world depict?  What aesthetic forms can “map” late capitalism, critically disclosing its dynamics and its totalizations?  What is the difference, aesthetically and politically, between a representation of capital and a representation of class antagonism?

world-map-abstract-painting-2-stefan-kuhnInterCcECT is delighted to partner with Gallery 400 for a special lecture by visiting scholars Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle, authors of Cartographies of the Absolute.  Revisiting and revising the themes in their book, Toscano & Kinkle will discuss arts of capitalism and arts of the state.

May we suggest Cartographies in the Los Angeles Review of Books?

Wednesday 2 September, 6:00pm
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 S Peoria St
Blue Line: UIC Halsted

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Poor Sovereignty

Susan SontagSovereign aesthetics, aesthetics of sovereignty, the power of the image, the poverty of the image, the state of exception, the real exception to the image –Arne De Boever’s new work on art history’s contribution to the philosophy of sovereignty invigorates and severs the too easily assumed connections between Walter Benjamin and Susan Sontag that organize contemporary discourses of image politics. Join us for a workshop with Professor De Boever Tuesday 17 March, 5pm, generously hosted by our collaborator Gallery 400. Reading circulated in advance; request it here.
Arne’s abstract:
This article deals with the afterlife of Walter Benjamin’s comments on the state of exception—specifically, his distinction between the state of exception and what he calls a “real” state of exception that would dismantle the former–in Susan Sontag and Hito Steyerl’s theories of the image. It argues, first, that Sontag’s theory of the image, while conceived in Benjamin’s wake, insists on the reality of an outside-image that always risks to create new states of exception. While Steyerl, also working after Benjamin, goes a long way towards dismantling this risk, she too recreates it in her casting of the unreal people in spam images as those who will do the dirty work of imaging for us so that we, the real people, can withdraw from representation. This logic of substitution, which does not change what Steyerl in her work diagnoses as the “exceptional” conditions of contemporary imaging, does not succeed in bringing about the real state of exception that Benjamin called for. For this, the logic of substitution would need to be abandoned. Benjamin himself suggested this in his discussion of strike in his essay “Critique of Violence”. After the strike, Benjamin argues, it is us—i.e., not someone else—who go back to work. But the work has been “wholly transformed”.

Be on the lookout for another Rancière session soon; as always, drop us a line to propose events; and for now, here’s what’s
on our calendar:
2 March, Atmospheres
3 March, Charles Palermo,Photography and Modernism
5 March, Adam Kotsko, Creepiness
5-8 March, Narrative theory conference in Chicago

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Where does a literary work come from?


InterCcECT rejoices to return from winter break to a new year of inquiry.  We get started this week rather quickly, with a newly scheduled practice job talk :

InterCcECTer Audrey Wasser presents”Problem and Genesis: On Beckett’s Proust,” in which she reads Samuel Beckett’s Molloy and his writings on Proust to pursue a series of interlocking questions: What is the genesis of a literary work? How do we understand the autonomy and integrity of a literary work with respect to its influences and causes? Is a notion of causation, in fact, completely inappropriate to literature?  Must a work’s autonomy be conceived by means of a negation of all of the conditions that gave rise to it? 

Join us at 4:00pm Friday 24 January, U of Chicago campus, Classics, Room 110 (1010 E 59th St).  

Fulfill your new year’s theory resolutions!  Write interccect at gmail dot com to propose collaborations, and check out our calendar for recommendations like:

Kant’s Conception of Number: A Summing Up

In Conversation with Great Minds: Photographer Sally Mann

Worlding Realisms

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Cutrofello’s objective correlatives: of Hegel and Hamlet

InterCcECT is delighted to present a talk by Andrew Cutrofello, “Two Contemporary Hegelianisms,” Tuesday 19 March, 4pm, Newberry Library Room B82.
Robert Brandom’s and Slavoj Žižek’s appropriations of Hegel seem radically different. Brandom’s Hegelianism takes the form of a semantic holism that is essentially normative and pragmatic. Žižek’s is a version of dialectical materialism that is avowedly perverse and revolutionary in intention. Curiously, however, there are significant parallels in the two philosophers’ conceptions of Hegelian spirit. These are evidenced in their respective readings of T.S. Eliot’s essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Nevertheless, Brandom’s and Žižek’s Hegels ultimately diverge with respect to the nature of reason and commitment. In my talk I will try to sketch these differences by bringing into play another of Eliot’s essays from The Sacred Wood, namely, “Hamlet and His Problems.” In this essay, Eliot develops his famous conception of the objective correlative, explaining why it goes missing in Shakespeare’s play. Brandom and Žižek, I suggest, have fundamentally different conceptions of Hegel’s “missing” objective correlative.

a few highlights from our calendar, which contains additional details:
8 March Issues in Phenomenology
13 March Gregory Flaxman “A More Radical Empiricism: The Philosophy of William (and Henry) James” at U of C
13 March Bill Martin, “Zen Maoism: An improbable Buddhist-Marxist synthesis”
15 March Paola Marrati on Deleuze

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Red October

InterCcECT proudly presents Jodi Dean, “The Communist Horizon” Saturday 27 October, 4:30pm, generously hosted by Gallery 400. Based on her brand new book, the talk urges us to imagine new Octobers.

*theorizing October*

(highlights from our calendar, which contains additional details):

12 Oct Laurence Hemming, “Production: Formerly This Was Called God: Heidegger in dialogue with Marx”
13 Oct Frances Ferguson, “Economic and Sentimental Reasons”
15 Oct Anthony Paul Smith, “Liberating Lived Experience: François Laruelle and the Work of NonPhilosophy”
16 Oct Michael Hardt, “The Right to the Common”
16 Oct Ramin Takloo-Bighash, “History, Theory, and Practice of Prime Numbers”
17 Oct Adam Kotsko, “Agamben on Liturgy and Politics”
17-19 Oct UIC French, “Inequality and Exclusion:The Theory and Practice of Human Rights”
18 Oct Achille Mbembe, “Notes on Fetishism and Animism”
26-28 Oct DePaul Philosophy, “Hegel and Capitalism”
29 Oct Danielle Bergeron, “Psychosis As It Is Lived”

InterCcECT encompasses you! Contact us to propose or announce your October aspirations and “like” us on Facebook for frequent links.

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the fantasy of democracy, the desire of communism

InterCcECT is delighted to announce a lecture by Jodi Dean, “The Communist Horizon,” Saturday 27 October, 4:30pm, presented at Gallery 400 with their generous support. Based on her book forthcoming in late October, the talk proposes new ideals for communism today.

In preparation, InterCcECT will host a reading group on excerpts from Dean’s recent book Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies, along with selections from the comrade anthology The Idea of Communism. Join us Thursday 4 October at The Newberry Library, room B82, 3pm. PDFs available upon request .

*this week in theory*
(highlights from our calendar, which contains additional details):

5 September Graeber’s Debt (History of Capitalism reading group)
5 September Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (German Philosophy reading group)
6 September Leibniz’s Exoteric Philosophy (Lecture by John Whipple)
7 September “Kristeva’s Severed Heads: Sadomasochism and Sublimation” (Lecture by Kelly Oliver)

What’s on your docket? As always, Write us to propose or announce events, and “like” us on Facebook for frequent links.

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