The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory is meant to galvanize, coordinate, and expand research and teaching in critical theory across departments and disciplines at UCLA.The Program offers the Graduate Certificate in Experimental Critical Theory, which is open to graduate students enrolled in a Ph.D. or MFA program in any participating department at UCLA.The Program also sponsors the annual ECT Colloquium, which meets twice a quarter, and various lectures and conferences.


Read the text of Slavoj Zizek's talk at ECT on Thursday April 9, “Is God Dead, Unconscious, Evil … Or Counter-Factual?” here



Truth, Knowledge and the Unconscious

Zizek Zupacnic Dolar

Please join us for a series of talks on “Truth, Knowledge, and the Unconscious”

at UCLA and UC Irvine by

Slavoj Žižek, Mladen Dolar, and Alenka Zupančič

Thursday, April 9, 2015 @ UCLA
Young research library Main conference room 11360
5:00 | Mladen Dolar, “’I, truth, speak’”
7:00 | Slavoj Žižek, “Is God Dead, Unconscious, Evil … Or Counter-Factual?”

Friday, April 10 @UCLA
Young research library Main conference room 11360
1:00 | Alenka Zupančič, “Hegel and Freud”
3:00 | Mladen Dolar, “Mimesis and Ideology from Plato to Badiou”

Saturday, April 11 @ UC Irvine
Humanities instructional building 100
2:00 | Alenka Zupančič, “Power in the Closet (and Its Coming Out)”
4:00 | Slavoj Žižek, “Truth, Knowledge, and the Religious Unconscious”

Free and open to the public.
For information contact
Kenneth Reinhard, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and
Julia Lupton, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

UCLA events co-sponsored by the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory, the Department of
English, the Dean of Humanities, and the Dean of Social Sciences. UCI events co-sponsored by the
Dean of Humanities, the Humanities Commons, the Critical Theory Emphasis, the Dean of the Arts,
and the Dean of Social Sciences.



Alain Badiou's lecture at UCLA today, Dec. 4, has been moved to  Young Research Library 11360  (the same room as last night)

and the time has been shifted to 5:30PM.

The title of the talk will be “How Can We Change the World?”


The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory and the Art Center College of Design present


Three Lectures by Alain Badiou


Dec. 2 “In Search of the Lost Real” (7:30PM, Art Center College of Design; at THE WIND TUNNEL 950 S. Raymond Ave. Pasadena)


Dec. 3 “What is a Truth?” (5:00PM, UCLA, Young Research Library 11348)


Dec. 4 “How Can We Change the World?” (5:00PM, UCLA, Young Research Library 11348)


Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies

Alain Badiou is widely considered to be one of the most important Continental philosophers alive today, and one of the greatest thinkers of our time. He was born in Morocco in 1937 and came of age in France in the 1960s, when he began publishing novels, plays, works of philosophy, political theory, and literary and aesthetic criticism. Since then he has written dozens of books and hundreds of essays, which have been read not only by scholars and students all over the world, but by artists, writers, political organizers, and many other people who have been inspired by his strikingly original and powerful ideas, his eloquent writing and teaching, and the example of his personal optimism and commitment. Unlike many of his peers, Badiou does not regard the idea of truth to be intrinsically suspect; nor does he agree with the frequent claim of post-structuralist criticism that the project of Western philosophy has exhausted itself. The central question addressed by Badiou’s work is how does fundamental change occur? How does something really new emerge in the world? In some ways similar to the historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, whose work explores the “structure of scientific revolutions,” Badiou asks how one world changes into a new one – not only, however, in the realm of science, but also in those of art, politics, and even in the human experience of love. According to Badiou, a new world emerges through the patient work of developing what he calls “truth procedures” in the aftermath of an “event,” an historical irruption within a field of knowledge and existence (such as the experiments of Galileo, the French revolution, the musical innovations of Schoenberg, or the love of Abelard and Heloise).

Badiou’s major books of philosophy are Theory of the Subject (1982; English translation 2009), Being and Event (1988; English translation 2005), its sequel, Logics of Worlds (2006; English translation 2009), and a third major volume in this series, The Immanence of Truths, is now in preparation. In addition he has written dozens of books on politics, film, literature, music, ethics, Saint Paul, mathematics, and many other topics. He has also published six plays (which are frequently staged in Europe), three well-received novels, and innumerable occasional pieces.





Truth and Knowledge

The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory invites applications to its Winter and Spring 2015 core graduate seminar.

Some of the most fundamental questions human beings have asked themselves involve the nature of truth and knowledge. What do we know about the world we live in and ourselves, and how do we know what we (believe we) know? Is there such a thing as truth, or is all knowledge relative, historical, perspectival – even ideological? Are there limits to knowledge, things we simply cannot know, as Kant argued, or can our knowledge expand indefinitely? When we talk about truth, are we talking about the correspondence of our knowledge to objects in the world? What do Heidegger, Lacan, and Badiou (e.g.) mean when they insist that truth is categorically distinct from knowledge? How is truth as a juridical concept (“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”) different from other accounts of truth, such as those used in mathematics, logic, and science? Does truth function in politics (other than through the perception of its absence)? What is the role of truth in the humanities, in terms of both research and pedagogy? Does truth have a place in literature and art? What does Cézanne mean when he refers to “the truth in painting,” and what does it mean in Derrida’s book of that title? How does truth function in the contexts of rhetoric and pragmatism? Does gender have a relationship to truth and knowledge? How do race and class inflect the status and function of truth and knowledge? How do the concepts of data, information, and the digital revolution reorient our senses of truth and knowledge? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this year’s ECT core seminar, through readings of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, William James, Heidegger, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, and Badiou.

Visitors to the seminar and other ECT sponsored events this year will include Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, Emily Apter, Zina Giannopoulou, Monte Ransome Johnson, Jerome Christensen, John Carriero, John H. Smith, Slavoj Zizek, Mladen Dolar, and Alenka Zupancic.

Graduate students in all Ph.D. and MFA programs at UCLA are invited to apply to the seminar, and the ECT graduate certificate program.  To apply, please write a one page statement describing your interests and experience in critical theory. Please include your name, email, departmental affiliation, and year in graduate school. Applications should be sent by November 15 to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Acting Student Affairs Officer for the Department of Comparative Literature.

Truth and Knowledge ECT Seminar   Winter 2015 (tentative syllabus)

Professor Reinhard        

Thurs. 5:00-8:00PM

1. Jan. 8                      Introduction: Truth and Knowledge

   Jan. 13                    ECT Symposium: Martin Treml, Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin

                                   (Humanities 348, 5:00PM)

                                    “‘The true history of Christianity’: Friedrich Nietzsche as a Reader of Saint Paul”


  Jan. 14                    Jacques Rancière at UC Irvine, 2:00 HG 1030


2. Jan.15                     Emily Apter (NYU): Translation in-Equality: Equivalence, Egaliberté, Rightness   

                                    Maurizio Lazzarato, The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the

                                    Neoliberal Condition

                                    Étienne Balibar, Equaliberty, Ch. 1, “The Proposition of Equaliberty,”

                                    Ch. 3, “New Reflections on Equaliberty: Two Lessons”

Derrida, “What is a 'Relevant' Translation?”

     Jan. 16                    “Auerbach, Our Contemporary? Responding to Figura and Mimesis” (conference)

                                    (Royce 314, 12:00 – 6:00) Jacques Rancière, Emily Apter, Roland Greene,

Efrain Kristal, Amir Mufti, Jane O. Newman, Martin Treml, Christopher Warley.


     Jan. 20                    Jacques Rancière at West Hollywood Public Library (7:00PM)

                                    “Time, Narration, Politics”


3. Jan. 22                    Plato: Truth and Knowledge In and Beyond the Cave

Plato, The Republic (Allegory of the Cave)

Heidegger, The Essence of Truth (selections)

Badiou, Plato’s Republic (selections)


4. Jan. 29                    Plato and Knowledge (Zina Giannopoulou, UCI)

                                    Plato, Theaetetus (Burnyeat, Levett)

                                    Zina Giannopoulou, Plato's Theaetetus as a Second Apology, “Introduction”


5. Feb. 5                     Aristotle and Knowledge (Monte Ransome Johnson, UCSD)

                                    Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 1; Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10

                                    Aristotle, Protrepticus

                                    (reconstructed by Johnson and Hutchinson)                                     


   Feb. 10                    ECT Symposium: Jerome Christensen, UC Irvine (Humanities 193, 5:00PM)

                                   “Suing Warner Bros.: The Dark Knight Rises, the Aurora Massacre,

                                    and Studio Liability”


6. Feb. 12                   Descartes (John Carriero, UCLA)

                                    Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

                                    John Carriero, Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes’ Meditations,

                                    “Introduction” and “Chapter One”


7. Feb. 19                   An Introduction to Kant's Critical Project (John Smith, UCI)

                                    “Preface” to the 2nd edition of the Critique of Pure Reason; the “Third Antinomy,”

                                    the comment on it, and its “Resolution” from the Critique of Pure Reason

                                    (A444/B472-A451/B479; A532/B560-A559/B587)

                                    Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1784), §§ 17-35

                                    Section One from Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals


8. Feb. 26                   Kant, cont.    

                                    Kant, Critique of Judgment (selections)        


9. March 5                 Experience, Bildung, and Dialectic: An Introduction to Hegel's Phenomenology

                                  and Logic (John Smith, UCI)

“The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism” (1797)

Preface (Vorrede) and Introduction (Einleitung) to the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807)


     March 10                ECT Symposium: John Smith, UC Irvine (Humanities 348, 5:00PM)

“On the Mathematical Infinite from Kant to Hegel”


10. March 12              Hegel, cont.   

                                    Phenomenology of Spirit (selections)

                                    Science of Logic (selections)



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