Slavoj Žižek: More Alienation, Please! A Critique of Cultural Violence.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

 

Opening speech for the transatlantic dialogue Iconoclash

Slavoj Žižek: More Alienation, Please! A Critique of Cultural Violence.

Thursday, October 8, 6:30 pm

New York University, 1307 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Metro: McPherson Square)

Slavoj Žižek is one of Europe’s most influential intellectuals. His thinking is rooted in the European Enlightenment, with a strong basis on German Idealism, Hegel, Marx, and Lacan.

Žižek writes on a diverse range of topics, including political theory, theology, and psychoanalysis. His lectures and appearances around the globe underline his position as a leading contemporary thinker and cultural theorist. He is valued for his critique of global capitalism and as an intellectual figurehead for the leftist protest movement.

The shock over the terrorist attacks in Paris in January 2015 inspired Žižek to write an essay on Islam and modernism. In it, he addresses the rupture between the Western world’s advocacy for tolerance and the fundamental hatred of Western 

liberalism within radical Islam. Žižek makes a plea for the West to insist on the legacy of the Enlightenment, with its strengths of criticism and self-reflection. He argues for a renaissance of individual autonomy and the sovereignty of the people.

“I am convinced that we need Europe more than ever. Just imagine a world without Europe. You would only have two poles left -- the USA, with its brutal neoliberalism -- and so-called Asian capitalism, with its authoritarian political structures. Between them you would have Putin's Russia, with its expansionist aspirations. You would lose the most valuable part of the European legacy, where democracy and freedom entail a collective action without which equality and fairness would not be possible.” (Žižek, Spiegel Interview 3/31/2015)

Slavoj Žižek’s keynote with the title: “More Alienation, Please! A Critique of Cultural Violence” opens a series of online publications and transatlantic conversations about the ongoing challenges Islamist radical fundamentalism raises related to democracy and universal values of cultural heritage.

Moderated by Ulrich Baer, Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity, New York University. Dr. Baer received his B.A. from Harvard in 1991, and his Ph.D. from Yale in Comparative Literature in 1995, and first joined NYU as assistant professor in NYU's Department of German in 1996. He served as NYU’s Vice Provost for Globalization and Multicultural Affairs from 2007-2011. A widely published author, editor, and translator and recipient of numerous awards and honors, Baer is an expert on modern poetry, literary theory, and photography, and has published extensively on poetry, photography, and issues in contemporary art and culture.

Ambassador Božo Cerar will offer welcoming remarks. He previously served as Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Canada (1997-2001) and Poland (2004), and as Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to NATO (2007-2011). During his career, he was also head of the Department for Europe and North America (1991-1992), Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in London (1992-1996), head of the Minister’s Office (1996-1997), head of the Department for Multilateral Relations (2001), and head of Slovenia’s NATO Department (2002-2003).

This lecture will be followed by a reception.

Iconoclash is an initiative of EUNIC (the European Union National Institutes for Culture), supported by the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress at New York University's Washington branch, and the EU Delegation to the U.S. in Washington DC. Slavoj Žižek’s participation has been made possible with support from the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia and the Goethe-Institut.

No charge. RSVP here.