London Critical Theory Summer School
Jean-Luc Nancy – On Communism
Saturday 3rd July 2010 – 3pm
Room B33 Birkbeck Main Building, Malet St.
Jean-Luc Nancy is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Strasbourg. Nancy’s first book, published in 1973, was Le titre de la lettre, a reading of the work of Jacques Lacan, written in collaboration with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Nancy is the author of works on many thinkers, including La remarque spéculative in 1973 on Hegel, Le Discours de la syncope (1976) and L’Impératif catégorique (1983) on Kant, Ego sum (1979) on Descartes, and Le Partage des voix (1982) on Heidegger. In addition to Le titre de la lettre, Nancy collaborated with Lacoue-Labarthe on several other books and articles. In the 1970s and 1980s, Nancy was a guest professor at universities all over the world, from the University of California to the Freie Universität in Berlin. He has been invited as a cultural delegate of the French Ministry of External Affairs to speak in Eastern Europe, Britain and the United States. In 1987, Nancy received his Docteur d’état from the Université de Toulouse-Le-Mirail under the supervision of Gérard Granel and a jury including Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida. It was published as L’expérience de la liberté (1988). Nancy has also written for art catalogues and international art journals, especially on contemporary art. He also writes poetry and for the theatre and has earned respect as an influential philosopher of art and culture. In his book Les Muses published in 1994 he begins with an analysis of Hegel’s thesis on the death of art. Among the essays in The Muses is a piece on Caravaggio, originally a lecture given at the Louvre. In this essay, Nancy looks for a different conception of painting where painting is not a representation of the empirical world, but a presentation of the world, of sense, or of existence. Nancy has published books on film and music, as well as texts on the problem of representation, on the statute of literature, on image and violence, and on the work of On Kawara, Charles Baudelaire, and Friedrich Hölderlin.
Originally, Professor Nancy had intended to speak ‘On Democracy’, but as you can hear, has decided to speak on communism instead, as he was unable to attend the Communism conference in London last July due to illness. The text of his ‘On Democracy’ talk has been translated and is available here.
Introduction by Costas Douzinas and Drucilla Cornell .