Spring 2005 Events

Click here for the Spring 2005 Seminar. 

Various Reading Groups (Summer 2005)

The Derrida Reading Group aims to learn more about what is at stake in rejecting the metaphysics of presence. But we will first try to get a sense of what “metaphysics of presence” actually refers to. We’ll read selections from Husserl and Heidegger along with key essays by Derrida that deal with these philosophers. After wrestling with Derrida’s relationship to Husserl and Heidegger, we’ll turn to texts that address linguistics and politics. Secondary readings will provide background and commentary. Geared toward the comprehension of difficult matter, sessions will focus closely on the texts. The group will meet every Thursday from May 26 to August 4. However, the reading schedule has been structured to accommodate busy summer schedules, so selective participation is fine: if you can’t make all sessions, come to the ones that interest you. 

Dissertation Writing

The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory is hoping to organize a writing group for Unit-affiliated graduate students working at any stage of their dissertation (post-exams). This group will begin meeting every few weeks over the summer and will, it is hoped, carry over into the next school year. It will provide an opportunity for students writing dissertations with a significant theoretical or interdisciplinary component to meet with other students to share work and writing strategies and to be part of a community during an otherwise isolating period of graduate school. Originally coordinated by Unit director Michael Rothberg, the group will ultimately work autonomously. Contact Michael Rothberg (mpr@uiuc.edu) if you would like to be part of the group. A first meeting will probably be scheduled for late May.

Trauma Theory

During the course of the 1990s, trauma studies emerged as one of the dominant schools of theory in the US academy. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory, but also influenced by the codification of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the wake of the Vietnam War and the crisis of deconstruction in the wake of the Heidegger and de Man scandals, trauma studies proposed new ways of thinking about the relationship of theory to history, memory, subjectivity, experience, and ethics, among other keywords of contemporary discourse. Almost as soon as it emerged, however, trauma theory was subject to withering critique on a variety of grounds by feminist, queer, and left theorists. This summer seminar for faculty and graduate students will take up the question of trauma as a multidisciplinary object of inquiry, and will explore the formation of trauma studies as well as its critique. Besides exploring the relationship of trauma to the keywords mentioned about, this seminar will have a particular focus on trauma’s possibilities for galvanizing, polarizing, creating, or destroying community.

This seminar will be led by Ted Gournelos (gournelo@uiuc.edu) and Michael Rothberg (mpr@uiuc.edu), and will meet regularly between late June and mid- August. There is a possibility of independent study credit for graduate students.

Possible texts include: Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle; Caruth, Unclaimed Experience and Trauma: Explorations in Memory; LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma; Leys, Trauma: A Genealogy; Michael Rothberg, Traumatic Realism; Jill Bennett, Empathic Vision; Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings; and essays by such figures as Hal Foster, Mark Seltzer, Patricia Yaeger, Walter Benn Michaels, Amy Hungerford, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, and Geoffrey Hartman.