Materializing the Future, Speculative Design: Post-petroleum Utopias
May
31
8:30 AM08:30

Materializing the Future, Speculative Design: Post-petroleum Utopias

Speculative Design is a cyborg practice that harkens back to past futurist movements, insisting on a moveable spectrum between art and radical social science. The term embraces diverse practitioners motivated to open up the imagination around “wicked problems” (Dunne and Raby 2013). Perhaps no problem seems quite so wicked in the contemporary moment as climate change and human dependency on petroleum. What would it mean to imagine a world without oil and its derivatives? What sort of leaps are both necessary and possible? What possibilities does a multi-generational perspective open up – a future beyond our own lifetimes?

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

James Auger (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute and RMIT Europe)

Deepa Butoliya (Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan)

Ken Eklund (Independent artist)

For more information, please see the event website: https://uchicago3ct.wixsite.com/speculativedesign

Check out the Facebook event. RSVP not required, but recommended as seating is limited.

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3CT Presents Future Café - Speculative Design
May
30
5:30 PM17:30

3CT Presents Future Café - Speculative Design

What is a Future Café? It is an experiment. It is an open-ended conversation. It is a chance to brainstorm and share ideas without evaluation. It is a place to eat cake. Based loosely on both 3CT’s successful Book Salon series and the global Death Café movement, the objective of this new recurring event is to provide opportunity and space for undergraduates to collectively imagine utopian possibilities and long-term futures. 

Under the auspices of the Materializing the Future research project, Professors Shannon Dawdy and Bill Brown facilitate the Future Café, a venue where students in the College can creatively and collaboratively imagine possibilities for the long term. 

Check out the Facebook page for this event. RSVPs not required.

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Co-sponsored: Resistance and Democracy on the Ground, Black Women's Struggles Against State Violence from Brazil to Chicago
May
23
5:00 PM17:00

Co-sponsored: Resistance and Democracy on the Ground, Black Women's Struggles Against State Violence from Brazil to Chicago

  • School of Social Social Service Administration (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Brazil and the United States have both seen the rise of democratically elected leaders who campaigned on and delivered policies intended to increase police violence and mass incarcer- ation, subvert democratic norms, and constrain the rights of marginalized communities. But both countries have also seen the emergence of important resistance movements led by black women who have been directly affected by racialized state violence and other exclusionary policies. Join us for a conversation about shared struggles and strategies of resistance and mo- bilization in Brazil and the United States, centering the work of black women to reclaim rights and transform democracy from the ground up.

Co-sponsored by the Pozen Center for Human Rights, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, UChicago School of Social Service Administration, Center for Latin American Studies, and 3CT Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory.

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New Book Salon: Living in the Stone Age by Danilyn Rutherford
May
22
4:00 PM16:00

New Book Salon: Living in the Stone Age by Danilyn Rutherford

ABOUT THE BOOK
In 1961, John F. Kennedy referred to the Papuans as “living, as it were, in the Stone Age.” For the most part, politicians and scholars have since learned not to call people “primitive,” but when it comes to the Papuans, the Stone-Age stain persists and for decades has been used to justify denying their basic rights. Why has this fantasy held such a tight grip on the imagination of journalists, policy-makers, and the public at large?

Living in the Stone Age answers this question by following the adventures of officials sent to the New Guinea highlands in the 1930s to establish a foothold for Dutch colonialism. These officials became deeply dependent on the good graces of their would-be Papuan subjects, who were their hosts, guides, and, in some cases, friends. Danilyn Rutherford shows how, to preserve their sense of racial superiority, these officials imagined that they were traveling in the Stone Age—a parallel reality where their own impotence was a reasonable response to otherworldly conditions rather than a sign of ignorance or weakness. Thus, Rutherford shows, was born a colonialist ideology.

Living in the Stone Age is a call to write the history of colonialism differently, as a tale of weakness not strength. It will change the way readers think about cultural contact, colonial fantasies of domination, and the role of anthropology in the postcolonial world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danilyn Rutherford is the president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Before joining Wenner-Gren, she was on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Chicago. She is the author of three books: Raiding the Land of the Foreigners: The Limits of the Nation on an Indonesian Frontier (Princeton, 2003), Laughing at Leviathan: Sovereignty and Audience in West Papua (Chicago, 2012) and Living in the Stone Age: The Origins of a Colonial Fantasy (Chicago, 2018). She is currently working on ethnographic memoir on disability, subjectivity, and sign use in the United States.

View the Facebook event and Eventbrite here. RSVPs not required, but recommended as seating is limited.

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Wenner-Gren Application Workshop with Danilyn Rutherford
May
22
10:00 AM10:00

Wenner-Gren Application Workshop with Danilyn Rutherford

  • 5811 South Kenwood Avenue Chicago (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
The Wenner-Gren Foundation is a key supporter of anthropology worldwide, funding research across the subfields of anthropology. Danilyn Rutherford, the Foundation's president, will offer a workshop designed to help students and faculty navigate the process of getting a Wenner-Gren Foundation grant. There will be plenty of time for questions. Breakfast will be provided.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Danilyn Rutherford is the president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Before joining Wenner-Gren, she was on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Chicago. She is the author of three books: Raiding the Land of the Foreigners: The Limits of the Nation on an Indonesian Frontier(Princeton, 2003), Laughing at Leviathan: Sovereignty and Audience in West Papua(Chicago, 2012) and Living in the Stone Age: The Origins of a Colonial Fantasy (Chicago, 2018). She is currently working on ethnographic memoir on disability, subjectivity, and sign use in the United States.

View the Facebook event and Eventbrite here. RSVPs not required, but recommended as seating is limited.

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Dorit Geva, Hungary’s Ordonationalism and the Re-Articulation of Neoliberalism
May
20
4:00 PM16:00

Dorit Geva, Hungary’s Ordonationalism and the Re-Articulation of Neoliberalism

Viktor Orbán’s Hungary is a pathbreaker in implementing a new form of governmentality we can call ordonationalist. Ordonationalism is a composite of four features:

1. Political neoliberalization through the rise of technocratic economic expertise

2. An ordoliberal ideology emphasizing a strong sovereign state, and strong leadership, steering nationalist-capitalist market competition

3. Endorsement of neoliberal morality through punishment of the poor

4. Racist ideologies fostering internal solidarities within the “pure” ethnic nation, and which denies class politics

These strands have hybridized and have re-articulated the relationship between governmentality and sovereignty. Ordonationalism privileges an equivalence between national territory and capitalist market, and insists on radical sovereignty in steering capital accumulation. Its racist nationalism defends the “native” white population, even as ordonationalist governmentality punishes all poor people, including the poor white population which, in a populist twist, is now defined as outside “the people." This paper will trace how Hungary’s ordonationalist promotion of national market competition, alongside intensified criminalization of the poor, its virulently anti-immigrant and anti-refugee politics, and its peculiar social policy experiments binding promotion of (white) middle-class home-ownership and financialization with promotion of (white) middle-class childbirth and demographic pressures on women, together reconfigure strands of twentieth-century neoliberalism into something new. It briefly considers whether this model is emerging elsewhere, and the crucial role of the new middle classes in lending stability to such regimes.

This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy.

ABOUT DORIT GEVA:

Dorit Geva is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of
Sociology and Social Anthropology at CEU. She joined the CEU after
spending four years as a Harper-Schmidt fellow from 2007-2011. Her
current work focuses on the gender politics of populist rightwing
movements in France and Europe. She is also studying the moral
epistemics of anti-gender mobilizations, is developing a  model for
understanding the emergence of what she calls the"ordonationalist" party
ideology in Europe and globally, and is tracing how contemporary
political movements are a reaction to a decline in the modern state's
infrastructural power.

View the Facebook event and Eventbrite. RSVPs not required, but recommended as seating is limited.

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Anne Norton, Occupying the Ruins of Empire
May
16
4:00 PM16:00

Anne Norton, Occupying the Ruins of Empire

Norton begins with a reflection on the seizure and restoration of Cuban beaux-arts houses and urban districts. She then turns to the question of what survives of empires and what use we can make of those remnants and residue.

About Anne Norton

Anne Norton is the author of On the Muslim Question, 95 Theses on Politics, Culture and Method, Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire, Bloodrites of the Poststructuralists, Republic of Signs, Reflections on Political Identity, and Alternative Americas: A Reading of Antebellum Political Culture. She is part of the Bridge Initiative against Islamophobia and founding co-editor of Theory & Event. She was educated at the University of Chicago and is Stacey and Henry Jackson President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, Princeton University and the University of Texas, and has held fellowships at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton. She has working projects on radical democracy, the problem of property, racial inequality, and the remains of empire.

View this event on Facebook and Eventbrite. RSVPs not required, but recommended as seating is limited.

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Film Screening: Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (2014)
May
2
7:00 PM19:00

Film Screening: Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (2014)

  • Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Room 201 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Please join 3CT for a screening of Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (2014), a work by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Ossama Mohammed. Silvered Water, Syria-Self Portrait (2014) has been featured at the Cannes and New York film festivals, as well as in Beirut, Istanbul, Tunisia, and various parts of Europe. The feature-length film is a study in the process of mourning and an avowal of cinema’s evolving revolutionary capacities. RSVPs are encouraged, but are not required. View this event on Facebook.

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER:

Ossama Mohammed is one of Syria’s most important directors, whose auteur style of filmmaking is responsible for films ranging from trenchant, dark satirical commentaries of regime rule to quasi- documentaries that defy conventional genre distinctions. Nujum al-Nahar (Stars of the Day, aka Stars in Broad Daylight, 1988) is perhaps the most politically critical film ever to have been made in Syria. An insightful and revelatory critique, the film’s plot is a thinly disguised metaphor for political power and for the now deceased President Hafiz al-Assad’s ‘cult’ of personality. In the film, Mohammed depicts the moral crisis of a rural ‘Alawi family, some of whose members have moved to the city and succumbed to urban life and corrupt officialdom. As characters, they represent the regime’s vulgarity and brutality. The main male protagonist – who looks uncannily like the former ruler – is the controlling, manipulative, stingy brother and the de facto patriarch of the family, an association that explicitly connects patriarchal family life to martial rule and political violence. Drawing on his intimate knowledge of sectarian and regional specificities, Mohammed parodies the emptiness and tedium of official discourse, at the same time lamenting the beautiful but ultimately unlivable countryside. Overrun with petty familial disputes and patriarchal violence, rural life offers no refuge, even while collective fantasies of national belonging have themselves been reduced to vapid slogans – devoid of the hope or sense of community that animated the early days of post-colonial rule. These themes – patriarchal violence and rural disrepair, in particular – also motivate Mohammed’s stunning and brave first film, Khutwa, Khutwa (Step by Step, 1979), an experimental work he completed for his MA in Moscow. In this first major effort, Mohammed blurred the conventional boundaries between documentary and fiction, producing a poetic tour de force whose aesthetic and political sensibilities have continued to inspire new generations of Syrian filmmakers.

Mohammed’s attention to the juxtaposition of beauty and violence in everyday life also finds expression in Sunduq al-Dunya (or Camera Obscura – oddly translated as Sacrifices in the English version, 2002), another account of familial conflict in Syria’s coastal countryside. Less overtly political than Nujum al-Nahar, Sunduq al-Dunya focuses on a grandfather who wants to bestow his name upon one of his three grandchildren but dies before fulfilling his wish, consigning the children to a life of namelessness. Each grandchild finds meaning and pleasure in different ways over the course of a quasi-allegorical tale of human frailty, political power and the seductions of violence. The first child practices restraint and composure, the second, love, and the third, cruelty and caprice. Again we see power corrupting, even as the countryside, the filmmaker and the audience bear witness to life’s beauty and brutality. Symbols of fecundity and openness suggest the power of regeneration, while simultaneously producing a sense of being boxed in, not unlike an actual camera obscura, in which light from an external scene passes through the aperture into an enclosure, generating an inverted image.

In all of his films, Mohammed uses the symbols and language of political power to subvert official systems of signification. He brings to his cinematic object a profound sense of displacement borne of his knowing a place extremely well. This displacement has now found tragic expression in the director’s own forced exile since 2011, as well as in his artistic efforts to grapple with the shift from peaceful protests to catastrophic war.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Film Studies Center, and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.

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Co-Sponsored: RIGHT TO THE CITY - Are Municipal IDs the Key to Urban Inclusion?
May
2
2:00 PM14:00

Co-Sponsored: RIGHT TO THE CITY - Are Municipal IDs the Key to Urban Inclusion?

  • School of Social Service Administration Lobby (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

With the launch of CityKey, Chicago became one of many cities around the country that has recently enacted a program to issue municipal ID cards. Although having a valid government-issued ID is necessary for accessing essential institutions and services, many disadvantaged communities—such as African Americans, immigrants, transgender residents, the formerly incarcerated, and low-income people—are less likely to have such an ID. As stricter federal and state guidelines have made it more difficult to obtain government-issued ID, cities around the country have stepped in to issue their own municipal ID cards, particularly for vulnerable communities unable to access state and federal IDs. Do these municipal ID programs successfully reach vulnerable populations and increase access to important institutions and services? Join us for a discussion about urban citizenship and inclusion with Chicago public officials and community leaders who designed and implemented the CityKey ID program, and officials from other cities with municipal ID cards. 

Panelists and more details to be announced in early 2019. Save the date!

Cosponsored by the School of Social Service Administration; Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation; Office of Civic Engagement; Harris School of Public Policy; Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory; Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Chicago Studies; Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

This event is associated with a Pozen Center-supported faculty project. Read more here.

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Film Screenings: Step by Step, Stars in Broad Daylight
May
1
4:00 PM16:00

Film Screenings: Step by Step, Stars in Broad Daylight

Please join 3CT for screenings of an astonishing documentary short, Step by Step (1978) and a feature-length parody of regime rule, Stars in Broad Daylight (1988) by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Ossama Mohammed. The screening will begin at 4:00 PM and refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are encouraged, but are not required. View this event on Facebook.

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER:

Ossama Mohammed is one of Syria’s most important directors, whose auteur style of filmmaking is responsible for films ranging from trenchant, dark satirical commentaries of regime rule to quasi-documentaries that defy conventional genre distinctions. Nujum al-Nahar (Stars of the Day, aka Stars in Broad Daylight, 1988) is perhaps the most politically critical film ever to have been made in Syria. An insightful and revelatory critique, the film’s plot is a thinly disguised metaphor for political power and for the now deceased President Hafiz al-Assad’s ‘cult’ of personality. In the film, Mohammed depicts the moral crisis of a rural ‘Alawi family, some of whose members have moved to the city and succumbed to urban life and corrupt officialdom. As characters, they represent the regime’s vulgarity and brutality. The main male protagonist – who looks uncannily like the former ruler – is the controlling, manipulative, stingy brother and the de facto patriarch of the family, an association that explicitly connects patriarchal family life to martial rule and political violence. Drawing on his intimate knowledge of sectarian and regional specificities, Mohammed parodies the emptiness and tedium of official discourse, at the same time lamenting the beautiful but ultimately unlivable countryside. Overrun with petty familial disputes and patriarchal violence, rural life offers no refuge, even while collective fantasies of national belonging have themselves been reduced to vapid slogans – devoid of the hope or sense of community that animated the early days of post-colonial rule. These themes – patriarchal violence and rural disrepair, in particular – also motivate Mohammed’s stunning and brave first film, Khutwa, Khutwa (Step by Step, 1979), an experimental work he completed for his MA in Moscow. In this first major effort, Mohammed blurred the conventional boundaries between documentary and fiction, producing a poetic tour de force whose aesthetic and political sensibilities have continued to inspire new generations of Syrian filmmakers.

Mohammed’s attention to the juxtaposition of beauty and violence in everyday life also finds expression in Sunduq al-Dunya (or Camera Obscura – oddly translated as Sacrifices in the English version, 2002), another account of familial conflict in Syria’s coastal countryside. Less overtly political than Nujum al-Nahar, Sunduq al-Dunya focuses on a grandfather who wants to bestow his name upon one of his three grandchildren but dies before fulfilling his wish, consigning the children to a life of namelessness. Each grandchild finds meaning and pleasure in different ways over the course of a quasi-allegorical tale of human frailty, political power and the seductions of violence. The first child practices restraint and composure, the second, love, and the third, cruelty and caprice. Again we see power corrupting, even as the countryside, the filmmaker and the audience bear witness to life’s beauty and brutality. Symbols of fecundity and openness suggest the power of regeneration, while simultaneously producing a sense of being boxed in, not unlike an actual camera obscura, in which light from an external scene passes through the aperture into an enclosure, generating an inverted image.

In all of his films, Mohammed uses the symbols and language of political power to subvert official systems of signification. He brings to his cinematic object a profound sense of displacement borne of his knowing a place extremely well. This displacement has now found tragic expression in the director’s own forced exile since 2011, as well as in his artistic efforts to grapple with the shift from peaceful protests to catastrophic war.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Film Studies Center, and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.

Image from Nujim An-Nahar (Stars in Broad Daylight), 1988.

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3CT Presents Future Café - Consciousness
Apr
30
5:30 PM17:30

3CT Presents Future Café - Consciousness

What is a Future Café? It is an experiment. It is an open-ended conversation. It is a chance to brainstorm and share ideas without evaluation. It is a place to eat cake. Based loosely on both 3CT’s successful Book Salon series and the global Death Café movement, the objective of this new recurring event is to provide opportunity and space for undergraduates to collectively imagine utopian possibilities and long-term futures. 

Under the auspices of the Materializing the Future research project, Professors Shannon Dawdy and Bill Brown facilitate the Future Café, a venue where students in the College can creatively and collaboratively imagine possibilities for the long term. 

Check out the Facebook page for this event. RSVPs not required.

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Co-Sponsored: The Perverse Universals of the  Microeconomic Mode
Apr
15
5:00 PM17:00

Co-Sponsored: The Perverse Universals of the Microeconomic Mode

Jane Elliott, Reader in English at King’s College London

From pop phenomena such as Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games to the literary triumph of Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, the microeconomic mode redefines human being as the intersection of inescapable embodiment, threat to survival, and what Elliott has called “binary life,” or the conviction that humans always choose to exist at the expense of other life. In this talk Elliott will consider the consequences of binary life for longstanding debates regarding the role of suffering, spectatorship and identification in the recognition of universal personhood, via readings of the recent films including Wind River (2017) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

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Capitalism and Social Theory: a Conference in Memory of Moishe Postone
Apr
12
to Apr 13

Capitalism and Social Theory: a Conference in Memory of Moishe Postone

  • Regenstein Library Room 122 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Moishe Postone, who died in March of last year, was a preeminent interpreter of Marx’s critical theory, a thinker of international renown, and a major intellectual presence at the University of Chicago, where he was the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor in the History Department and the College. Sponsored by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, where he served as co-director, the conference brings together Moishe’s friends, colleagues, and intellectual collaborators. We will reflect on his ideas and further explore the broad range of topics that his thinking and writing have illuminated. We hope to conjure up something of Moishe’s sorely missed presence – his incisiveness, his breadth of interests, his political and moral passions, his wit, and his unending practice of constructive critique.

This conference is co-sponsored by The College, the Department of History, the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Division of Social Sciences.

RSVP is encouraged, but not required. View this event on Eventbrite and Facebook.

For more information, please visit our conference website.

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Co-Sponsored: Black Citizenship in the Age of Global Authoritarianism
Apr
11
4:30 PM16:30

Co-Sponsored: Black Citizenship in the Age of Global Authoritarianism

 In the context of a globally resurgent right, this panel considers the contours of new authoritarianisms from the perspective of Brazil, Colombia, and South Africa. Panelists will consider the specific ways blackness and citizenship are being reconfigured in these contexts to highlight the distinctive trajectories of authoritarian politics in the global south. Moving beyond the bifurcation between authoritarian and democratic regime types, the panel will instead trace the contradictory processes of democratization that have created the conditions for the new right and highlight alternative conceptions of citizenship. Panelists include Tianna Paschel (UC-Berkeley), Aurora Figueroa (Universidad Icesi, Colombia), and Suren Pillay (University of Western Cape).

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Theorizing the Present - I Like Dirt: Film Screening and Conversation with the Filmmakers
Apr
3
6:00 PM18:00

Theorizing the Present - I Like Dirt: Film Screening and Conversation with the Filmmakers

  • The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Is the afterlife becoming more earthly? I Like Dirt [25 minutes] is a documentary short film set in California that explores contemporary American attitudes towards death, the body, and  different forms of life.

After an introduction and screening, moderator Andrea Ford will help lead a Q&A, followed by a reception.

This event is presented by 3CT’s Theorizing the Present series and The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry SIDEBAR series. RSVPs are encouraged, but are not required. View this event on Facebook and Eventbrite.

Presenters

Shannon Lee Dawdy, Writer and Co-producer (3CT Fellow and Interim Co-director)

Daniel Zox, Director and Co-Producer (Independent Filmmaker)

Andrea Ford, Moderator (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology)

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Co-Sponsored: Intimate Provocations: Theorizing Consent in the Age of #MeToo
Mar
15
9:30 AM09:30

Co-Sponsored: Intimate Provocations: Theorizing Consent in the Age of #MeToo

How are contemporary debates about consent shaping conceptions of intimacy, bodily autonomy, and moral decision making? How has the concept of consent been mobilized to garner support for political movements including and beyond #MeToo? This one-day conference draws together scholars working both domestically and internationally to critically examine the social and political impacts of consent discourses in the wake of #MeToo. Plenary speakers are Ashwini Tambe (University of Maryland, Women's Studies) and Joseph Fischel (Yale University, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies). 

The conference also features two graduate student panels with faculty discussants Natacha Nsabimana (Anthropology) and Michele Friedner (Comparative Human Development). 

Co-sponsored by: Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, and the Department of Comparative Human Development. 

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Worlding, Writing--Trauma and the Aesthetics of Life series: Illness Narratives as Health Activism: Telling Stories about Precarity to Save the ACA with Beza Merid
Mar
7
5:00 PM17:00

Worlding, Writing--Trauma and the Aesthetics of Life series: Illness Narratives as Health Activism: Telling Stories about Precarity to Save the ACA with Beza Merid

At a moment when public policies and social programs face political disfavor, how can social movements use emotional performance about vulnerability to change the discourse around a divisive topic? The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which expanded health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, is one such case. As patients, caregivers, and health activists fight to resist the repeal of the ACA, they use intimate illness accounts to demonstrate the extreme effects of rescinding the investment in equity and justice they say the ACA represents.

One such effort emerges from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a left-leaning labor union that organizes around a number of social justice issues. SEIU’s “Fight For Our Health” campaign frames its arguments through performances of what I call “health insurance precarity.” These narratives, shared in person during protest actions and online by the campaign, situate the resolution of this precarity as a social, rather than individual, concern. This talk engages questions about how precarious patients facing economic and health risks make claims to biological citizenship and social belonging in order to pressure public opinion and the law. It gives a more general account, too, of the role the current health media landscape plays in this negotiation.

ABOUT BEZA MERID

Beza Merid (Ph.D., New York University) is an LSA Collegiate Fellow in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where he researches the cultural and political dimensions of illness. In particular, his scholarship examines how experiences of patienthood are mediated in the contemporary health media landscape, how patients and caregivers find ways to survive when adequate health insurance is inaccessible, and the persistence of racial disparities in heart disease and stroke.

Merid is currently working on his first book project, which examines how stand-up comedy and stand-up comedians participate in the production of biomedical knowledge, and gathering material for his second book project, which examines how patients and caregivers participate in knowledge production about racial disparities in heart disease and stroke.

Check out the Facebook and Eventbrite pages for this event. RSVP is recommended as seating is limited, but not required.

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3CT Presents Future Café - Kinship
Feb
27
5:30 PM17:30

3CT Presents Future Café - Kinship

What is a Future Café? It is an experiment. It is an open-ended conversation. It is a chance to brainstorm and share ideas without evaluation. It is a place to eat cake. Based loosely on both 3CT’s successful Book Salon series and the global Death Café movement, the objective of this new recurring event is to provide opportunity and space for undergraduates to collectively imagine utopian possibilities and long-term futures. 

Under the auspices of the Materializing the Future research project, Professors Shannon Dawdy and Bill Brown facilitate the Future Café, a venue where students in the College can creatively and collaboratively imagine possibilities for the long term. 

Check out the Facebook page for this event. RSVPs not required.

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Conspiracy/Theory, Feeling the Plot: Writing into the Affects, Atmospheres, and Poetics of Conspiracy, Susan Lepselter
Feb
26
12:00 PM12:00

Conspiracy/Theory, Feeling the Plot: Writing into the Affects, Atmospheres, and Poetics of Conspiracy, Susan Lepselter

How does one write about a conspiracy theory without explaining it away?

This event is a hands-on writing workshop. We'll explore ways to represent and think about the occult, elusive object of a plot.

Check out the Facebook and Eventbrite pages for this event. RSVP is recommended as seating is limited, but not required.

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Worlding, Writing--Trauma and the Aesthetics of Life series: Bad News
Feb
21
5:00 PM17:00

Worlding, Writing--Trauma and the Aesthetics of Life series: Bad News

  • Franke Institute for the Humanities (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Bad News is an award-winning installation work that combines Wizard of Oz techniques and live improvisational acting into an emotionally charged one-on-one experience whose story and setting is uniquely generated, for each performance, by a computer simulation. In the summer of 1979, a resident in a computer-generated American small town has died alone at home, and a mortician's assistant—the player—is tasked with tracking down and notifying the next of kin. To do this, the player navigates the richly simulated town to interact with its residents, who are each played live by a professional actor. Throughout gameplay, an unseen wizard listens in remotely to manage the unfolding experience via live coding and discreet communication with the actor. Writing about the piece for Rolling Stone, Steven T. Wright remarked, "This marvel of procedural performance can only be played by a lucky few, and that's a crying shame." Through its peculiar bricolage of human and machine performance, Bad News meditates on the trauma of losing a life and, ultimately, a world.
 
In this special public performance, attendees will listen in on a live playthrough (in the style of a radio play) and receive a behind-the-scenes, commentated look at the AI technology and Wizard of Oz techniques that underpin the experience. Attendees will also be encouraged to ask questions and call out story ideas that can be communicated to the actor, who may integrate them into the experience as it is unfolding. A Q&A session will follow the performance.

TEAM BIO

Bad News is a project of James Ryan, Ben Samuel, and Adam Summerville, who created the piece as PhD students in the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz, a research lab dedicated to exploring the artistic potential of artificial intelligence. Since its inception in 2015, Bad News has been performed internationally, at venues including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Slamdance, and IndieCade, where it won the Audience Choice award. Adam Summerville, who is now an assistant professor in Computer Science at Cal Poly Pamona, serves as guide on the project: he assists the player in the lead-up to her performance and explains the piece to exhibition passersby. Adjacently to this project, Summerville is a rising scholar in the area of artificial intelligence for videogames, where his work has received attention from The Guardian and SlateBen Samuel, now an assistant professor in Computer Science at the University of New Orleans, leverages over a decade of improvisational experience to serve as the project's sole actor. In this vein, his past work includes a starring role in Hulu's first original scripted series, Battleground, which earned him praise from the New York Times. James Ryan, who is now a research scientist at the historic computing firm BBN Technologies, serves as wizard on the project—this entails managing each performance, behind the scenes, as it is unfolding. His work in expressive computer simulation has been featured in The GuardianVice, and on BBC Radio. 

Check out the Facebook and Eventbrite pages for this event. RSVP is recommended as seating is limited, but not required.

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Co-sponsored event: The Legacy of Moishe Postone Conference
Feb
15
to Feb 16

Co-sponsored event: The Legacy of Moishe Postone Conference

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The legacy of Moishe Postone: Teacher, Historian, Critical Theorist brings together his students from across the social science and humanities to celebrate and reflect upon his historical, theoretical, and pedagogical work. Moishe’s profound and rigorous social theory illuminates supra-disciplinary questions ranging from capitalism’s historical dynamic to the social, political, and economic crises of the contemporary conjuncture. The conference will elaborate some of the critical methods of potentials of Moishe’s theory.

This conference is generously co-sponsored by the Bernard Weissbourd Memorial Fund, the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, the Committee on Japanese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Graduate Council Fund, the International House Global Voices Program, the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, and the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, Germanic Studies, and History at the University of Chicago.

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New Book Salon, Worldmaking after Empire by Adom Getachew
Feb
14
6:00 PM18:00

New Book Salon, Worldmaking after Empire by Adom Getachew

Adom Getachew discusses Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination. She will be joined in conversation by Christopher Taylor, Darryl Li, and Jennifer Pitts. A Q&A and signing will follow the event.

Presented in partnership with the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore and the Center for International Social Science Research

About the Book: Decolonization revolutionized the international order during the twentieth century. Yet standard histories that present the end of colonialism as an inevitable transition from a world of empires to one of nations—a world in which self-determination was synonymous with nation-building—obscure just how radical this change was. Drawing on the political thought of anticolonial intellectuals and statesmen such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, W.E.B Du Bois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, and Julius Nyerere, this important new account of decolonization reveals the full extent of their unprecedented ambition to remake not only nations but the world.

About the Author: Adom Getachew is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Chicago.

About the Interlocutors: Christopher Taylor is Assistant Professor of English at University of Chicago; Darryl Li is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Chicago.

About the Moderator: Jennifer Pitts is Professor of Political Science at University of Chicago.

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CANCELLED: WORLDING, WRITING--TRAUMA AND THE AESTHETICS OF LIFE SERIES: On Death Writing with Vinh Cam
Feb
13
5:30 PM17:30

CANCELLED: WORLDING, WRITING--TRAUMA AND THE AESTHETICS OF LIFE SERIES: On Death Writing with Vinh Cam

Everywhere we look we find testimonies to survival; at the same time, this is the era of the terminal illness memoir. This archive offers a unique history of the present that also revises the biopolitical account of the contemporary U.S. as a “death-denying society.” Yet judged against the genre protocols of autobiographical performance this archive inevitability gets construed with suspicion:“by definition,” life writing scholars remind us, “none of us can…know the shape of [our] end in advance.” But what version of the event, or writing for that matter, is being enforced here? Reading with recent terminal illness memoirs by Christopher Hitchens, Paul Kalanithi and Cory Taylor, my talk reconceives these texts within the frame of "death writing." A “form of death” is emerging next to the survival-form of life and forging an aesthetic with it. This framework refines the biopolitical relation to death, characterized by Michel Foucault as “letting die."

ABOUT VINH CAM

Vinh Cam is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature at University of Chicago.

Check out the Facebook and Eventbrite pages for this event. RSVP is recommended as seating is limited, but not required.

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3CT Presents Future Café - Utopia
Feb
4
5:30 PM17:30

3CT Presents Future Café - Utopia

On Monday, February 4th, share in Future Café’s conversation on the future of utopian thinking. The conversation will be facilitated by College students Veronica Myers and Abigail Kuchnir. Cake will be served. 

All undergraduates are welcome to participate. Hosted by 3CT fellows Shannon Lee Dawdy and Bill Brown. For more information, visit the Facebook event page, or the Voices site. RSVPs are not required.

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Conspiracy/Theory, The Play of Conspiracy in Plato's republic, Demetra Kasimis
Jan
24
4:00 PM16:00

Conspiracy/Theory, The Play of Conspiracy in Plato's republic, Demetra Kasimis

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Does Plato’s Republic dramatize a conspiracy? Ostensibly, this work of historical fiction revolves around a philosophical question posed at the start about the meaning of justice. This challenge famously incites the characters to design a political regime alternative to the Athenian democracy under which the characters speak. The provided impetus for discussing radical political change is a desire to investigate a political idea rather than a wish to overthrow a political regime for a better one. While this picture of what the Republic is up to is not wrong, it does belong to the narrator, who speaks from a political reality Thucydides describes as highly unstable. Plato stages a collective and clandestine nighttime act to found an alternative regime “in speech” during the years of the Peloponnesian War when suspiciousness was rampant and rumor of conspiratorial acts came to constitute juridical evidence for rounding up citizens. I argue that the Republic makes wide-ranging and curiously under-explored use of this anxious, vicissitudinous atmosphere by troping conspiracy in plain sight. From the narrator’s untrustworthy voice to the setting’s disjointed time, the conversation’s interest in exposing endless connections between concepts to its idealization and unmasking of the workings of a kind of all-knowing “big power,” the Republic plays with conspiracy not to endorse it but to establish a conspiratorial mood. Read in light of these political realities, its rhetorical strategies invite us to experience the pleasures of conspiratorial thinking while reflecting critically on them. But because the Republic conspicuously deflects the question of the characters’ intentions and abilities to implement their political plot—it stresses its ideal (or utopian) quality, it ultimately leaves the question of how to think about the plotting in this plot open. I suggest that this aporetic configuration compels us to consider the salutary critical energies also afforded by a democracy in a conspiratorial mood.

Check out the Facebook and Eventbrite pages for this event. RSVP is recommended as seating is limited, but not required.

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Immortality for All: A Trilogy of Films about Russian Cosmism with Anton Vidokle
Nov
30
7:00 PM19:00

Immortality for All: A Trilogy of Films about Russian Cosmism with Anton Vidokle

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Today the Russian philosophy known as Cosmism has been largely forgotten. Its utopian tenets–combining Western Enlightenment with Eastern philosophy, Russian Orthodox traditions with Marxism–inspired many key Soviet thinkers until they fell victim to Stalinist repression. In this three-part film project, artist Anton Vidokle probes Cosmism’s influence on the twentieth century and suggests its relevance to the present day. This Is Cosmos (2014) returns to the foundations of Cosmist thought, The Communist Revolution Was Caused by the Sun (2015) explores the links between cosmology and politics, and Immortality and Resurrection for All! (2017) restages the museum as a site of resurrection, a central Cosmist idea. Combining essay, documentary, and performance, Vidokle quotes from the writings of Cosmism’s founder Nikolai Fedorov and other philosophers and poets. His wandering camera searches for traces of Cosmist influence in the remains of Soviet-era art, architecture, and engineering, moving from the steppes of Kazakhstan to the museums of Moscow. Music by John Cale and Éliane Radigue accompanies these haunting images, conjuring up the yearning for connectedness, social equality, material transformation, and immortality at the heart of Cosmist thought. 

(Kazakhstan/Germany/Russia/USA, 2014-2017, 96 min., DCP)

Screening 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM in Room 201.

Co-sponsored with the Gray Center, CEERES, and Film Studies.

RSVP on our Eventbrite or Facebook event page.

Anton Vidokle is an artist based in New York and Berlin. As founder of e-flux and e-flux journal, he has produced projects such as the Martha Rosler Library 2005-2006, Pawnshop 2007, unitednationsplaza 2008-09 and Time/Bank 2010. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. His films have been screened at Bergen Assembly; Shanghai Biennale; Istanbul Biennial; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Berlinale International Film Festival; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Gwangju Biennale; Locarno Festival; and Centre Pompidou, among others.

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3CT Presents Future Café : Human Rights
Nov
27
5:30 PM17:30

3CT Presents Future Café : Human Rights

What is a Future Café? It is an experiment. It is an open-ended conversation. It is a chance to brainstorm and share ideas without evaluation. It is a place to eat cake. Based loosely on both 3CT’s successful Book Salon series and the global Death Café movement, the objective of this new recurring event is to provide opportunity and space for undergraduates to collectively imagine utopian possibilities and long-term futures. 

Under the auspices of the Materializing the Future research project, Professors Shannon Dawdy and Bill Brown facilitate the Future Café, a venue where students in the College can creatively and collaboratively imagine possibilities for the long term. 

"For additional information and links, go to: http://voices.uchicago.edu/futurecafe/ .

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Pavlos Roufos - "A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past"
Nov
19
6:00 PM18:00

Pavlos Roufos - "A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past"

“A careful and penetrating analysis of the cruel torment of Greece, and its background in the emerging global political economy, as the regimented capitalism of the early postwar period, with gains for much of the population, has been subjected to the assault of neoliberal globalization, with grim effects and threatening consequences.” ––Noam Chomsky 

Pavlos Roufos discusses "A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past: The Greek Crisis and other Disasters." He will be joined in conversation by John Clegg. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.  

Presented in partnership with the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore.

At the Co-op

About the book: Since 2010, Greece’s social and economic conditions have been irreversibly transformed due to austerity measures imposed by the European troika and successive Greek governments. These stringent restructuring programs were intended to make it possible for Greece to avoid default and improve its debt position, and to reconfigure its economy to escape forever the burden of past structural deficiencies. But things have not gone according to plan. Eight years later, none of these targets have been met. If the programs were doomed to fail from the start, as many claim, what were the real objectives of such devastating austerity? 

In this latest installment in Reaktion's Field Notes series, published in association with the Brooklyn Rail, Pavlos Roufos answers this key question in an insightful, critical analysis of the origins and management of the 2010 Greek economic crisis. Setting the crisis in its historical context, Roufos explores the creation of the Eurozone, its “glorious” years, and today’s political threats to its existence. By interweaving stories of individual people’s lived experiences and describing in detail the politicians, policies, personalities, and events at the heart of the collapse, he situates its development both in terms of the particularities of the Greek economy and society and the overall architecture of Europe’s monetary union. This broad examination also illuminates the social movements that emerged in Greece in response to the crisis, unpacking what both the crisis managers and many of their critics presented as a given: that a happy future is a thing of the past. 

About the author: Pavlos Roufos has been active in Greece’s social movements since the early 1990s and has written on Greece and the economic crisis for the Brooklyn Rail (New York) and Jungle World (Berlin). He has worked as a film editor and is currently doing PhD research on German economic policy at the University of Kassel, Germany. 

About the interlocutor: John Clegg is a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences and Harper-Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago.

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Elliott Colla, Does Poetry Incite? Lessons from Egyptian Movement Poetry
Nov
8
4:00 PM16:00

Elliott Colla, Does Poetry Incite? Lessons from Egyptian Movement Poetry

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For decades, poetry has held a central place within leftist social movements in Egypt and has created a canon that includes figures such as Ahmed Fouad Negm and Samir ‘Abd al-Baqi, along with dozens of other movement poets whose names are less known. The modes and functions of movement poetry are multiple: it serves as a privileged idiom of debate and deliberation; it interpellates publics and articulates claims; and it moves people to act. On this last point, Egyptian activists and state security officers have tended to agree historically. Yet even so, when pressed— in court, for instance—to make the case for how poetry incites, their accounts of poetry’s power stumble. This presentation traces the history of movement poetry in modern Egypt, from 1968-2013, and explores the ambiguities of this history by way of incitement cases that were raised against Negm during the 1970s. 

About Elliott Colla
Elliott Colla is the Associate Professor in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is author of Conflicted Antiquities: Egyptology, Egyptomania, Egyptian Modernity (Duke University Press, 2007) and translator of numerous Arabic novels, including Ibrahim Aslan’s The Heron, Ibrahim al-Koni’s Gold Dust, and Raba‘i al-Madhoun’s The Lady from Tel Aviv. The Euston Films/Channel 4 (UK) television adaptation of his novel, Baghdad Central, will appear in August 2019. This talk comes from his current book project, The People Will: Literature and Social Movements in Egypt.

This event will be from 4:00 - 5:30 PM with a reception to follow. 

RSVP encouraged, but not required.

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