Professor of Literary, Cultural, and Media Studies, Humboldt University Berlin
October 1, 2013
Dogwood Room, IMU
Tarrying (or hesitation) is not simply a suspension of action. Rather, it marks the borderline between acting and not acting, where an interspace of purely inventive power and contingency appears. In the form of unrealized variants, which lie around an incident like dust, systematic hesitation can be reclaimed for a historic and aesthetic research program. It proves to be a method of complication through which historic as well as discursive events can be led to their point of origin and be revised to a force of settlement. Tarrying thus appears as a contrapuntal companion of a history of “action,” which has shaped the Western world. One can follow this idea from the Oresteia to the titans of hesitation in the twentieth century, whether Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities or Freud’s Moses of Michelangelo.
Joseph Vogl is among the most adventurous thinkers working in literary and cultural studies today. He is the author or editor of many books, among them Kalkül und Leidenschaft. Poetik des ökonomischen Menschen (“Calculation and Passion: The Poetics of the Economic Human Being”), with which he made his mark in 2002. He is the founder of a field of research he calls “poetology of knowledge.” His most recent book, Das Gespenst des Kapitals (“The Spectre of Capital”) is a study of the history and theory of the idea of the self-regulating market, for which he coined the term “ecodicy.” The book, a bestseller in Germany, has been or is being translated into a half dozen languages. Besides holding a chair at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Vogl is also a regular visiting professor at Princeton University.
Co-sponsored by the Department of Germanic Studies and the Center for Theoretical Inquiry in the Humanities.