Indiana University Bloomington

Spring 2017: Schedule of the Reading Group

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

Unless noted otherwise, the reading group meets Fridays, 2 - 3:30 pm, at the College Arts & Humanities Institute, 1211 E. Atwater Avenue.


Jan 20: Carlo Galli, “Global War” (esp. pages 154-191).

Jan 27: Michel Foucault, “Right of Death and Power over Life;” “Society Must Be Defended.”

Feb. 3: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Introduction, 1-12; “The Politicization of Life,”

118-125 (reprinted in Biopolitics).

Feb. 10: Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics” (in Biopolitics).

Feb. 17: Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “Biopolitical Production,” Empire, 22-41; “Biopolitics as Event," Commonwealth, 56-63 (reprinted in Biopolitics).

Feb. 24: Jan Mieszkowski, Watching War (Introduction and Conclusion). Followed by a lecture by Professor Mieszkowski.

Mar 3: Roberto Esposito, “The Enigma of Biopolitics,” Bios, 13-44 (reprinted in Biopolitics).

Mar 10: Alain Badiou, “What Is It to Live?”, Gilles Deleuze, “Immanence: A Life” (Biopolitics).

Mar 24: Judith Butler, Precarious Life.

Mar 31: Timothy Campbell, Improper Life; Adam Sitze, “The Paralysis in Criticism.” Symposium with Professors Campbell and Sitze.

Apr 7: Martin Heidegger, “Being-Toward-Death” (Being and Time, sections 46-53); and Walter Brogan, “The Community of Those Who Are Going to Die.”

Apr 14: Banu Bargu, “Another Necropolitics.” Followed by a lecture by Professor Bargu.

Apr 21: Carlo Galli, “Contaminations. Irruptions of the Void.”

Struggling for Life. A Constellation

The Center's reading group will analyze different conceptualizations of the relationship between life and politics. Our constellation will begin with Michel Foucault’s classic conception of biopolitics and with Giorgio Agamben’s notion of “bare life.” Our initial hypothesis is that the emergence of globalization and of what Carlo Galli has theorized as global war have destabilized the modern link between sovereignty and subjectivity. This will compel us to question the biopolitical paradigm and examine bios from more negative and spectral views that invoke survival, self-preservation, death, necropolitics, and violence. Our reading list will include texts from Biopolitics. A Reader, edited by Timothy Campbell and Adam Sitze, as well as other essays.


The Reading Group constitutes the intellectual heart of the Center and predates the Center by many years. Here are some of the major texts the group has studied:

Arendt, The Human Condition
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
Badiou, Being and Event.
Bergson, Matter and Memory.
Blumenberg,The Legitimacy of the Modern Age.
Cavell, The Claims of Reason.
Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe.
Deleuze, Cinema I; Difference and Repetition.
Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject.
Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
Gadamer, Truth and Method.
Heidegger, Being and Time.
Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences.
Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception; The Visible and the Invisible.
Plato, The Laws.
Rancière, The Names of History.
Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf.