Category Archives: Seminar

Philosophy, Literature and the Art of Poetry in India and Europe

Lecturer: Benedetta Zaccarello (CNRS / CEFRES)
Institute:
FHS UK, Department of German and French Philosophy  #YMFPR143
When and where: Thursdays 9:30–12:20 or 11–12:20, CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1
Language : French

Syllabus
Ce cours propose d’abord une exploration d’importantes théories de la littérature, et notamment de la poésie, dans l’histoire de la philosophie européenne – du romantisme allemand à la théorie de la performativité formulée par le penseur italien Luigi Pareyson ou à la notion de “opera aperta” élaborée par Umberto Eco, en passant par la poétique du Symbolisme français et le développement des courants critiques du Criticisme et du Structuralisme. À partir du XIXème siècle en effet, la critique littéraire ainsi que les méthodologies des “textual studies”, se développent en véritables théories du langage et de la communication. En même temps la production littéraire et poétique fournit de plus en plus matière à la méditation philosophique, donnant lieu à une véritable hybridation entre philosophie et littérature dans la production théorique française du XXème siècle par exemple, réassignant de nouveaux objectifs à la discipline et dessinant pour elle une différente épistémologie. C’est ce que fait Maurice Merleau-Ponty dans ses Recherches sur l’usage littéraire du langage, qui fournira au cours des éléments d’analyse. Une interaction semblable entre philosophie, théorie de la poésie et philologie semble être à l’oeuvre en Inde au passage entre XIXème et XXème siècle. Le philosophe et poète d’origine Bengali Aurobindo Ghose travaille en effet à sa notion de “quantitative meter”, qu’il met par ailleurs en pratique dans la composition de ses vers, pendant qu’il re-interprète le concept de “mantra”, traditionnel dans la philosophie indienne. Par là, la théorie d’Aurobindo Ghose vient à inspirer de nouvelles mouvances dans l’esthétique indienne, nourrie également de l’apport d’autres contemporains illustres. Le cours analysera dans un deuxième moment ce mouvement historique de la pensée indienne, brassant philosophie, exégèse et littérature, grâce notamment à l’analyse de textes tirés de The Future poetry de Aurobindo Ghose, “Pathway to Mukti” de Rabindranath Tagore et de Art Experience fr Mysore Hiryanna. Nous proposerons enfin un esquisse de comparaison des paysages culturels et des outils conceptuels élaborés dans ces deux différents cadres, européen et indien.

For further information, please contact Benedetta Zaccarello.

Critical Theory of Media. 1.

Lecturer: Benedetta Zaccarello (CNRS / CEFRES)
Institution: EKS Department, FHS UK
Time and address: Tuesday 11-12h20, 3rd floor, José Martího 31, Prague 6 – Veleslavín
Language: English

Abstract
Throughout a close reading of some texts of Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, the course aims to understand the contemporary use of mass media as the result of an historical process of evolution in our approaches to creativity and communication. Constantly reshaped by the forms of our social living and influenced by different kinds of power and authority, the idea of technique is understood through this course in its relation to knowledge, art, freedom and power. Students will be guided through an understanding of how technology influences our representation of the world, the ways in which we perceive our own experience, and the set of forms and signs we use to communicate.

Themes of the sessions
1. W. Benjamin, introduction to his life and work.
2. The essay on work of art, historical situation and theoretical novelty.
3. The concept of aura and its decay.
4. New forms of art, cinema as the non-auratic mode of art.
5. Adorno and Horkeimer: historical introduction to the Frankfurt School.
6. History, dialectics, culture.
7. Dialectic of enlightenment: the concept of enlightenment.
8. Enlightenment and technique.
9. Myth versus science: roots of our aim to domination.
10. From dictatorships to mass persuasion.
11. The cultural industry as our reflection.
12. Strategies of persuasion in cultural industry.

Knowledge Trouble : An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge and Intellectuals

Date: Every Friday at 11:40 am
Place: Room C17, Sociology Department, Charles University (Celetná 13, Praha 1)
Lecturer: Julien Wacquez (CEFRES/EHESS Paris)
Language: English

Syllabus

From public authorities struggling with the existence of climate change to notions such as “post-truth” or “post-factual” making the headlines, the recent years have brought a constant questioning of the role of knowledge in today’s polities. Is climate-change a hoax, as claimed by the current US president? Are Western democracies threatened by false information and “post-truths”? Who produces the knowledge we are using and to what purposes? And, in the end, what does it mean “to know” something in today’s cultures?

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Religious Discord & Dissent in the Medieval West

Date: Every Tuesday at 03:30 pm
Place: FHS UK, Jinonice building
Lecturer: Martin Pjecha
Language: English

Syllabus

The aim of the course will be to present students to the religious thought and controversies over the Western middle-ages, especially focusing on the 11th to 15th centuries. In approaching the topic from an ‘emic’ perspective, the course will necessarily refer to the philosophical, historical, and political weltanschauung which contemporary ‘religious’ agents drew from. The first half will be devoted to the historical background of early Christianity and its key thinkers, as well as the dominant conceptual and methodological concerns involved in studying “sectarian” or “heretical” groups. We will also introduce the most persistent symbolic forms of opposition to “orthodoxy”: Gnosticism, Mysticism, and Apocalypticism. Several case studies will then be presented, spanning the temporal and geographic range of Latin Christendom. The lectures will provide the relevant historical background, while the interactive seminar portion will introduce discussion of short primary texts and issues.

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Introduction to Post-Colonial Theories and Literatures: Francophones Perspectives

A course at the Department of Roman Studies of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University

Time and venue: Every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, room 217, FF UK, nam. Jan Palacha 2
LecturersChiara Mengozzi, Ph.D. and Mgr. Vojtěch Šarše
Language: French

Syllabus

The “post” in postcolonial not only alludes to the era following decolonization, but hints first and foremost to the set of practices of resisting colonialism, colonialist ideologies and contemporary forms of domination and subjugation. Our course aims at understanding the political, cultural and linguistic problems framed by European colonization and its legacies. Based on the reading of iconic theoretical texts of the postcolonial thought (by Césaire, Fanon, Saïd, Spivak, Mbembe, Bhabha, Thiong’o) and on the textual analysis of a few French and Francophone literary works (from Africa and the Caribbean), the course will revisit the literary canon through the lenses of power relationships between individuals, languages and cultures. It will highlight the stylistic and topical features of novels written by authors from the ex-French colonies and the Overseas Territories such as: the relationship to French language, exclusion/inclusion, feeling of in-betweenness, national allegories, master-slave dialectic, or the rewriting of history.

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Culture and Society of Central and South Eastern Europe, 1600 – 1800. The Habsburg Monarchy and its Place in Early Modern Europe

„Habsburger Pfau“ mit den Wappen der Herrschaften des Hauses Habsburg, 1555

A seminar hosted by CEFRES young researcher Katalin Pataki

Time & Venue: every Wednesday 15:50-17:30 pm, FF UK Jan Palach building, room 209
Lecturer: Katalin Pataki – Central European University (CEU) / CEFRES)
Language: English
Contact: katalin.pataki@cefres.cz

Outline

The course sets into focus the history of the Habsburg Monarchy in the early modern era, mainly covering the period between 1556-1806. In the first half of the course, there will be a strong emphasis on the spatial manifestations of state power: the political geography of the Habsburg territories will be investigated in detail: the territorial fragmentation of the individual provinces, their urban centers, the ethnical and confessional landscape will be considered. Simultaneously, the phenomenon of the composite state and the kinds of challenges peculiar to such states will be discussed. The course will investigate how policy making could or could not ensure the efficient exercise of political authority and management of resources, and what kind of legal, institutional, bureaucratic and other devices could facilitate “good government”.

The course aims to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of European state formation in a fresh perspective, by providing an up-to-date understanding of state formation processes and going beyond the stereotypical presentation of the political and institutional history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Program of individual sessions

1. The Early Modern State (22 February, 1 March)
2. “Austria: the Habsburg Heartland” (8 March)
3. “Bohemia: Limited Acceptance” (15 March)
4. “Hungary: Limited Rejection” (22 March)
5. “The German Empire: Limited Hegemony” (29 March)
6. The Role of Wars in State Formation (12 April)
7. Charles VI. (II/III) – War of the Spanish Succession and his Rule in Austria, Bohemia and Hungary (19 April)
8. “Financial Pressure and Reform” during the reign of Maria Theresa 1740-1780 (26 April)
9. Joseph II. – Josephism, Enlightened Absolutism (3 May)
10. The Enlightenment pursuit of improvement through government (10 May)
11. Enlightenment and improvement: continental and regional perspectives (17 May)
12. From the Realms of the Habsburgs to the Austrian Empire

See the Syllabus and bibliography here.