Indiana University Bloomington


(For an archive of events, see here)


Spring 2017


Struggling for Life. A Constellation of Events

Convener: Edgar Illas (Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese)

Jan Mieszkowski (Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Reed College), "Death Sentences."

Friday, February 24, 2017, 4 pm, Oak Room, Indiana Memorial Union.

Abstract: In his seminar on the death penalty, Jacques Derrida maintains that modern literature has offered challenges to the legitimacy of capital punishment whereas philosophy has not. In this talk, I examine the conceptions of language and life that inform this claim by considering “I sentence you to death” as the paradigmatic literary speech act. Focusing on texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and Gertrude Stein, I explore a grammar of mortality that cannot be assimilated into the reigning models of biopolitics.

Jan Mieszkowski is the author of Labors of Imagination: Aesthetics and Political Economy from Kant to Althusser (Fordham, 2006) and Watching War (Stanford, 2012). His recent articles explore a variety of topics in Romanticism, Modernism, and critical theory. He has also published and lectured widely on
military spectatorship and the spectacles of the permanent war economy. Mieszkowski is currently
completing a new book called Crises of the Sentence.

Before his talk, Professor Mieszkowski meets with the Center reading group to discuss his work; Friday, Feb. 24, 2 - 3:30, in the CAHI seminar room (1211 E. Atwater).


Symposium: Biopolitics After Michel Foucault

Friday, March 31, 2017, Global and International Studies Building 1106.

4 pm: Timothy Campbell (Romance Languages, Cornell University),
“The Comic Self.”

Abstract: In this paper I’d like to use two frames for making sense of Foucault's notion of care of the self: the comic and the biopolitical, the latter understood principally in terms of health. For the comic, I employ a (Kenneth) Burkean reading of comedy as corrective to read care of the self with and against Foucault, especially when he is thinking care of the self and parrhesia together in The Courage of Truth. I will then turn to the biopolitical frame, where I read care of the self as constituted by an immanent notion of health. By bringing comedy and (biopolitical) health together in terms of care, we can, I hope, begin to pry apart the grip that biopower holds over both care and the self.

Timothy Campbell teaches in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University. He is the author most recently of Technē of Giving: Cinema and the Generous Form of Life, from Fordham University Press. He also has translated a number of works from Italian into English, most recently Carlo Diano's Form and Event. He is series editor for Commonalities, a series on the common and the political from Fordham University Press.


5 pm: Adam Sitze (Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College), "Biopolitics and its Discontents."

Abstract: The aim of the paper is to think through the opposite of biopolitics by way of (a) an immanent critique of Foucault, (b) a rereading of certain works by Ludwig von Mises, and (c) a counterintuitive genealogy of the global age (through international public law).

Adam Sitze is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College. He is the author of The Impossible Machine: A Genealogy of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (University of Michigan Press, 2013). He is the editor, with Timothy Campbell, of Biopolitics: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2013) and of various works by Carlo Galli and Adriana Cavarero, among others.

Timothy Campbell and Adam Sitze meet with the Center reading group to discuss their recent work. Friday, March 31, 2 - 3:30, in the CAHI seminar room (1211 E. Atwater).



Lecture by Banu Bargu (Politics, New School for Social Research).

Friday, April 14, 2017, 4 pm, Dogwood Room, Indiana Memorial Union. Details to follow.

Before her talk, Professor Bargu meets with the Center reading group to discuss her work; Friday, Feb. 24, 2 - 3:30, in the CAHI seminar room (1211 E. Atwater).


Grateful acknowledgement is made to the College Arts & Humanities Institute at Indiana University for supporting the events in the series "Struggling for Life." Thanks also to the Department of Germanic Studies for generously helping to fund Jan Mieszkowski's visit and to the Department of French & Italian for doing the same for Timothy Campbell's visit.

For older events, see here.