40 Years of Theory: Kaja Silverman "Before the Before"


Kaja Silverman (University of Pennsylvania Sachs Professor of Art History) has been an important theorist of visuality for the past four decades. In 2011 she was given the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award by the Mellon Foundation in recognition of her outstanding contributions to scholarship. Her Subject of Semiotics (1983) became an immediate classic for its brilliant yet succinct explanation of semiotic theory from Saussure and Peirce to Barthes and Derrida. This was followed by The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (1988), Male Subjectivity at the Margins (19892), The Threshhold of the Visible World (1996), and eight other books and edited volumes. Drawing from her most recent book, The Miracle of Analogy: or The History of Photography, Part I (2015), and its sequel—A Three-Personed Picture—which she is currently writing, her discussion at UIUC will consider photography as the agency through which the world reveals itself to us, and will focus on images in whose formation the photographer played only a nominal role.

Kaja Silverman's lecture “Before the Before,” will take place on March 24, 2023 at 3:00 pm in the Levis Center. The lecture will be followed by an interview with the speaker, discussion with the audience, and a light reception.