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Philosophy, Ideology, and Jokes: an Introduction to Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek is among the most influential, prolific, and provocative European philosophers of his generation. Amidst a period of tectonic changes, as Soviet socialism came to an end and neoliberalism spread across Europe, Žižek’s thought developed against the grain—due in no small part to his formative experiences of Yugoslavia’s unique system of self-managed market socialism. He levied a fierce defense of communism in the face of liberal triumphalism in the 1990s, making a case for the continued necessity of the Marxist tradition of ideological critique, yet bolstered with precepts borrowed from psychoanalysis. In response to the relativist trends of what is often called “postmodernity,” he remained staunchly committed to dialectical thinking in a Hegelian key. His “low” Gothic style and predilection for jokes, profanity, and pop culture set him apart from his Western European contemporaries—and lent him a notoriety and cross-over appeal seldom achieved among serious philosophers. But, if Žižek’s jokes enable him to bypass taboos and reveal the elephants sitting in the room, we should never lose sight of the serious, even dark and tragic core, of his teaching. What comprises the very serious, if unconventional, system of Žižek’s thought? What has his unique synthesis of Marxism, Kantian critique, Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian dialectics, and cultural criticism contributed to our understanding of the logics—of ideology, capitalism, and fantasy—that shape contemporary life, and the ethics that these imply?
In this course, we will trace the evolution of Slavoj Žižek’s thought across several distinctly politically oriented stages:
Throughout, we will ask:
This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.
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The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...
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Learn lean techniques to improve your business processes Over the course of my career, I have helped companies save millions of dollars by simply removing process waste to speed up production, increase efficiency, and save money. We help you maximize efficiency, achieve operational excellence, and sustain results by minimizing ...
Saturday Dec 17th, 9am - 12pm Eastern Time
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