Spring 2012 Seminar
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Beyond Utopia? Art, Theory and the Coming of "Spring"

a faculty/grad seminar and conference on aesthetics, politics, and new revolutionary movements

Beyond Utopia? is a faculty/grad seminar organized by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory in conjunction with the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) and faculty in a number of disciplines. Your hosts for the seminar—as well as the organizers of the Beyond Utopia? conference—are Dianne Harris (IPRH/Landscape Architecture), Irene Small (Art History), Markus Schulz (Sociology), Zsuzsa Gille (Sociology), the Unit’s Nicholson Fellow Associate Director, J.B. Capino, and Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Director of the Unit for Criticism.

All meetings except the first (January 26) and the fourth (April 9) are on Monday nights from 8:00-10:00pm at the IPRH Building (lower-level), 805 W. Pennsylvania, Urbana. All readings will be on electronic reserves, listed under UNIT 2011, Goodlad. Please email unitcritra@gmail.com with any questions about readings.

Since short pieces on the Internet on various “spring” and “occupy” political movements are emerging on a daily basis, the Unit for Criticism has also set up a related webpage with some select readings on these topics as well as older critical readings on utopia/dystopia. Although these readings will not be discussed during the seminar in any systematic fashion, we offer them as a resource to our faculty and students.

January 26
Session Co-Leaders: Dianne Harris (Director, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities/Landscape Architecture) & Lauren Goodlad (Director, Unit for Criticism/English)
8-10pm, IPRH First Floor

Fredric Jameson, "Progress versus Utopia, or Can We Imagine the Future" [1982] in Archeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions, London: Verso, 2005, 281-295.

-----."Utopia as Replication." In Valences of the Dialectic. London: Verso, 2009, 410-434.

-----. “Capital in Its Space.” In Representing Capital: A Commentary on Volume One, London: Verso, 2011, 109-126. (Optional)

Special Issue on Utopia/Dystopia, American Art 25.2 (Summer 2011): 2-33. Includes contributions by Vivian Greene, Prue Ahrens, Scott Bukatman, Nick Yablon, Dianne Harris, Anthony Alfosin, Christina Cogdell, and Susan Cross.

 

February 13
Session Co-Leaders: Hina Nazar (English) & Melissa Orlie (Political Science)

Mohammed Bamyeh. "What is Anarchy," in Anarchy as Order: The History and Future of Civic Humanity, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009, 27-74.

Saba Mahmood, "Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide." In Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech, Eds. Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, & Saba Mahmood. Towscend Center for the Humanities, Berkeley, 2009, pp. 64-100.

Short Pieces from the Internet:
Mohammed Bamyeh, "Anarchist, Liberal, and Authoritarian Enlightenments: Notes from the Arab Spring," Jadaliyya (July 30, 2011)

Mike Davis, "Editorial: Spring Confronts Winter," New Left Review 72 (Nov/Dec 2011): 5-15.

Saba Mahmood, "Religious Liberty, Minorities, and Islam: An Interview with Saba Mahmood," The Immanent Frame (August 17, 2011)

 

March 5
Session Co-Leaders: Zsuzsa Gille (Sociology/Russian, East European, Eurasian Studies) & Sharon Irish (Architecture/Art History)

Romand Coles, "The neuropolitical habitus of resonant receptive democracy," in Ethics and Global Politics 4.4 (2011): 273-293.

Phillip Wegner, "Lacan avec Greimas: Formalization, Theory, and the 'Other Side' of the Study of Culture," Minnesota Review 77 (2011): 62-86.

Rebecca Zorach, "Art & Soul: An Experimental Friendship Between the Street and the Museum," Art Journal 70.2 (Summer 2011): 66-87.

Short Pieces from the Internet:
Bernard Harcourt, "Occupy Wall Street’s Civil Disobedience," The New York Times (October 13, 2011)

Gordon Lafer, "Why Occupy Wall Street Has Left Washington Behind," The Nation (October 26, 2011)

Slavoj Zizek, "Shoplifters of the World Unite," London Review of Books (August 19, 2011)

 

April 9
Session Co-Leaders: Irene Small (Art History), JB Capino (Associate Director, Unit for Criticism/English) & Anke Pinkert (Germanic Languages & Literatures/Comparative & World Literatures)
7-10pm, Armory 147

FILM SHOWING: Germany in Autumn (1978, dirs. Brustellin, Fassbider et al.)

Readings:
Jacques Rancière, "The Ethical Turn of Aesthetics and Politics," in Dissensus [1962], trans. Steven Corcoran, New York: Continuum, 2010, 184-202.

Jeffrey Skoller, "Introduction," in Shadows, Specters and Shadows: Making History in Avant-Grade Film, Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 2005, xiii-xlvi

Short Piece from the Internet:
Fulvia Carnevale and John Kelsey, "Art of the Possible: an Interview with Jacques Rancière," Artforum (March 2007)

 

April 23
Session Co-Leaders: Abbas Benmamoun (Director of School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics/Linguistics), Kevin Hamilton (Art & Design), & Bruce Rosenstock (Religious Studies)

Noha Radwan, "A Place for Fiction in the Historical Archive," Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 17.1 (2008): 79-95.

Eyal Weizman, "Forensic Architecture: Only the Criminal Can Solve the Crime," Radical Philosophy 164 (Nov./Dec. 2010): 9-24.

Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman. "Mengele’s Skull," Cabinet 43 (Fall 2011), online.