17 January 2010

Public lecture: The Primal Scenes of Political Theology

University of California at Davis, Davis Humanities Institute (DHI),
126 Vorhies Hall, 1st and A streets, Davis, California, USA,
21 January 2010, 4.00-5.30 pm

Public lecture by Jacques Lezra (Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese at New York University):
"The Primal Scences of Political Theology"


"And earthly power doth then show likest God's / When mercy seasons justice." – William Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice"

"This analogy is the very site of the theologico-political, the hyphen [trait d'union] or translation between the theological and the political." – Jacques Derrida, "Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question"

In "The Primal Scenes of Political Theology", Jacques Lezra will approach a cluster of urgent questions in contemporary political and cultural theory by reading Freud's readings of Schiller: Is there indeed a "trait d'union" between the theological and the political, marked (as Carl Schmitt and other proponents of the secularization thesis argue) somewhere in the period of early modernity? Which "early modernity" do we mean? And under what conditions can we approach it? What forms of cultural mediation determine the encounter between theology and politics for us today? And conversely: is our understanding of "cultural mediation" itself marked by the encounter between theology and politics in the early modern period?

This event is sponsored by the Graduate Program in Critical Theory, the Departments of English, German, Comparative Literature, Spanish and Portuguese, and the Early Modern Research Cluster.

For more information please contact Matthew Stratton (UC Davis): mstratton@ucdavis.edu

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