Indiana University Bloomington

Fall 2014: Schedule of the Reading Group

Conveners: Patricia Ingham (English) and Johannes Türk (German)

The reading group meets Fridays, 2 - 3:30 pm, in the College Arts & Humanities Institute, 1211 E. Atwater Ave.

Sept. 5: The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, Part II, chapts 1 & 2.

Sept. 12: Legitimacy, Part II, chapt 3.

Sept. 19: Legitimacy, Part II, ch 4 & 5.

Sept. 26: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 1 & 2.

Oct. 3: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 3 & 4.

Oct. 10: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 5 & 6.

Oct. 17: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 7 & 8.

Oct. 24: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 9.

Oct. 31: Symposium. Reading group does not meet.

Nov. 7:: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 10.

Nov. 14:: Legitimacy, Part III, ch. 11.

Nov. 21:

Thanksgiving Break

Dec. 5:

Dec. 12:

Hans Blumenberg:

The Legitimacy of the Modern Age

This Fall, the Center devotes itself to an intensive study of Hans Blumenberg's masterpiece The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (Die Legitimität der Neuzeit, 1966). The book is widely recognized as one of the major theoretical attempts to think modernity and has recently received renewed attention. It understands the modern age as a form of self-assertion of man. Blumenberg’s investigation keeps its distance both from theories relying on the concept of secularization and from those relying on the Renaissance idea of modernity as a rebirth of Antiquity. In his view, neither position adequately accounts for the importance of key concepts to the progress of intellectual history.

For Blumenberg, modernity is characterized by the idea of progress, an idea that contradicts the assumption of a secularization of a religious heritage through a concepts based on a radical historical rupture. Progress based on the notion of self-assertion emerges as the centerpiece of a theory of modernity that is as erudite as it remains controversial. Patricia Ingham (English) and Johannes Türk (German) have agreed to serve as co-coveners.


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:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
Badiou, Being and Event.
Bergson, Matter and Memory.
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.