Simon Critchley: Barack Obama and the American Void

Inaugural Lecture on "Branding Democracy" Thu 18 Sep 2008 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor
Admission: $8, free for all students, as well as New School faculty, staff and alumni with valid ID
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Each year, an inaugural lecture launches the Vera List Center's annual theme, defining the intellectual territory that will be explored in public programs throughout the year. The lecturer introduces the theme in the broadest sense, serving as a guide to the range and richness of the topic at hand, and rooting the concept within The New School's intellectual tradition.

In conjunction with the exhibition, OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding (on view from October 15, 2008 to February 1, 2009), the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School is dedicating its annual programming to the theme of "Branding Democracy." The inaugural lecture is delivered by Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy at The New School for Social Research and at the University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom. His research focuses on the history of philosophy, literature, ethics, and politics.

In keeping with this political moment, Critchley approaches the subject of democracy through the current presidential elections and focuses on one of the two candidates: entitled Barack Obama and the American Void, Critchley's lecture examines Obama's subjectivity, the existential detachment that seems to haunt him, and its relation to democracy. Obama as the ultimate brand.

Simon Critchley (born 1960) is an English philosopher, working in continental philosophy, history of philosophy, literature, ethics and politics. Since 2004, Critchley has been Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York. He has held visiting professorships at the Universities of Sydney (2000), Notre Dame (2002), Nijmegen (1997), Oslo (2006) and Cardozo Law School in New York (2005). In 1997 and 2001 Critchley held a Humboldt Research Fellowship in Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. Between 1998-2004, Critchley was a Programme Director of the Collège international de philosophie, Paris, and in 2006-7 he was a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He is the author of many books, including Very Little... Almost Nothing (1997), Ethics-Politics-Subjectivity (1999), On Humour (2002), Things Merely Are (2005), and, more recently, Infinitely Demanding (2007), which extends into political theory and political analysis by way of an engagement with Marx and an argument for an ethically committed political anarchism. His new books are The Book of Dead Philosophers (Vintage, 2008) and On Heidegger's 'Being and Time' (Routledge, 2008).

This program has been made possible, in part, by a generous grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

This event is presented as part of the Vera List Center's program cycle on "Branding Democracy."

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