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.



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)




ECT Seminar Spring 2014: Psychoanalysis, Science, Anti-Philosophy

   1. April 3                        Introduction: from “The unconscious is structured like a language"

                                                                     to “There is no such thing as a sexual relationship”

                                          Lacan, Seminars 11, 20 (selections)

April 9                       ECT Symposium: Joan Copjec, “The Flying Man and the Accident: The Piety Movement and Kiarostami’s Ten” (5:00, Melnitz 2534)                                     Recommended viewing: Kiarostami’s Ten and Where is the Friend’s Home? Screening: Tuesday, April 8, 6-10 in 2586B Melnitz

2. April 10                  Joan Copjec: “Dividing by One: Sexual difference, encore” (Broad 2100A) Joan Copjec, “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason,” “The Sexual Compact,”  “The Fable of the Stork and Other False Sexual Theories”


3. April 17                  Psychoanalysis and Science                                                                         Lacan, “Science and Truth”                                                                                  Samo Tomšič, “Three Notes on Science and Psychoanalysis”;                Jean-Claude Milner, “The Doctrine of Science”                                                   Recommended reading: Jacques-Alain Miller, “Elements of Epistemology”;   Adrian Johnston, “Turning the Sciences Inside Out: Rereading Lacan’s  ‘Science and Truth’”


4. April 24                  Psychoanalysis and Science, cont.                                                               Lacan, Seminar 13, The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965-66), sessions 2, 3, 5, 6    Recommended Reading: Jason Glynos and Yannis Stavrakakis (eds.), Lacan  and Science; Mladen Dolar, “Cogito as the Subject of the Unconscious”;    Slavoj Zizek, “Cogito and the Sexual Difference”; François Regnault, “Dialectic of Epistemologies”


5. May 1                     Psychoanalysis and Discourse                                                                     Lacan, Seminar 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (1969-70) (selections) Recommended Reading: Justin Clemens, Russell Grigg (eds.), Jacques        Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII


     May 6, 5:00            ECT Symposium: Ed Pluth, “Language, Mathemes, and Truth in Anti-Philosophy” Recommended reading: Novalis, “Monologue”; Alain Badiou, “Formulas of ‘L’Étourdit’”; Mladen Dolar, “Tyche, clinamen, den.”

6. May 8                     Psychoanalysis and Discourse                                                                      Lacan, Seminar 18, Of a Discourse That Would Not Be of a Semblance      (1970-71) (selections)                                                                                         Lacan, “Radiophonie”                                                                       Recommended Reading: Adrian Johnston, “’Lacan, our Hegel’: Psychoanalysis, Dialectics, and Materialisms”; Veronique Voruz, Bogdan Wolf (eds.), The Later Lacan: An Introduction


     May 13, 5:00          ECT Symposium: Henry Krips, “Psychoanalysis as Anti-Philosophy:                                             Mathem(e)atizing the Lacanian Real”

7. May 15                   Adrian Johnston: Psychoanalysis … or worse                                          Lacan, Seminar 19, … or worse (1971-72) (selections)                                      Lacan, “The Triumph of Religion”                                                                     Adrian Johnston, Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism,Volume One: The Outcome of Contemporary French Philosophy (Chapters 1, 3); Adventures in Transcendental Materialism (Chapter 10)


8. May 22                   Psychoanalysis … or worse, cont.                                                               Lacan, Seminar 19, … or worse (1971-72) (selections)     


9. May 29                   Psychoanalysis and Anti-Philosophy                                                              Alain Badiou, The Seminar: Anti-Philosophy 3: Lacan (1994-95), selections “Badiou vs. Žižek - Is Lacan An Anti-Philosopher?” (video of May 28, 2010 debate at UCLA: http://ect.humnet.ucla.edu/video)                                        Recommended reading: Justin Clemens, Psychoanalysis is an Antiphilosophy; Boris Groys, Introduction to Antiphilosophy


10. June 5                    TBA



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

Three Lectures by Alain Badiou

“Are We Really in the Time of Revolts?”
Monday, Dec. 2, 7:00 (Art Center College of Design, Pasadena; Los Angeles Times Auditorium)

“On the Real”
Wed., Dec. 4, 5:00 (Young Research Library 11360, UCLA)

“Theater and Philosophy”
Monday, Dec. 9, 5:00 (Royce 314, UCLA)

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.

Alain Badiou: Primary Works

(titles of works translated into English are in bold)

Almagestes (1964) [novel]
Portulans (1967) [novel]
“La subversion infinitésimale” Cahiers pour l’Analyse #9 (1968)
“Marque et manque: à propos du zéro” Cahiers pour l’Analyse #10 (1969)
Le concept de modèle (1969) [The Concept of Model]

Théorie de la contradiction (1975)
De l’idéologie, with F. Balmès (1976)
Le Noyau rationnel de la dialectique hégelienne, with L. Mossot and J. Bellassen (1977) [The Rational Kernel of the Hegelian Dialectic]
L‘Écharpe rouge (1979) [play]

Théorie du sujet (1982) [Theory of the Subject]
L’Incident d’Antioche/The Incident at Antioch (1982, 2013) [play]
Peut-on penser la politique? (1985)
L‘Être et l‘Événement (1988) [Being and Event]
Manifeste pour la philosophie (1989) [Manifesto for Philosophy]

Le nombre et les nombres (1990) [Number and Numbers]
Rhapsodie pour le théâtre (1990) [included in Writings on Theater, forthcoming 2013]
D’un désastre obscur (1991) [Of an Obscure Disaster]
Conditions (1992) [Conditions]
L‘Éthique (1993) [Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil]
Ahmed le subtil (1994) [play]
Ahmed Philosophe, followed by Ahmed se fâche (1995) [Ahmed the Philosopher, forthcoming 2013] [play]
Beckett, l’increvable désir (1995) [On Beckett]
Les Citrouilles, a comedy (1996) [play]
Calme bloc ici-bas (1997) [novel]
Deleuze (1997) [Deleuze: The Clamor of Being]
Saint Paul. La fondation de l’universalisme (1997) [Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism]
Abrégé de métapolitique (1998) [Metapolitics]
Court traité d’ontologie transitoire (1998) [Briefings on Existence]
Petit manuel d’inesthétique (1998) [Handbook on Inaesthetics]

Circonstances 1: Kosovo, 11 Septembre, Chirac/Le Pen (2003) [in Polemics]
Circonstances 2: Irak, foulard, Allemagne/France (2004) [in Polemics]
Circonstances 3: Portées du mot « juif » (2005) [in Polemics]
Le Siècle (2005) [The Century]
Logiques des mondes. L‘être et l‘événement, 2. (2006) [Logics of Worlds]
Circonstances 4: De quoi Sarkozy est-il le nom? (2007) [The Meaning of Sarkozy]
Petit panthéon portatif (2008) [Pocket Pantheon: Figures of Postwar Philosophy]
Second manifeste pour la philosophie (2009) [Second Manifesto for Philosophy]
L’Antiphilosophie de Wittgenstein (2009) [Wittgenstein’s Anti-Philosophy]
Circonstances 5: L’hypothèse communiste (2009) [The Communist Hypothesis]
Éloge de l’Amour (2009) [In Praise of Love]

Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel, with Barbara Cassin (2010) [There’s No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship, forthcoming 2014]
Heidegger : Le nazisme, les femmes, la philosophie, with Barbara Cassin (2010) [Heidegger: Nazism, Women, Philosophy, forthcoming 2014]
Cinq leçons sur le ‘cas’ Wagner [Five Lessons on Wagner] (2010)
L’explication, with Alain Finkielkraut (2010)
Le fini et l’infini [for children], 2010
La philosophie et l’événement, with Fabien Tarby [interview] Philosophy and the Event (2010)
Cinéma (2010) [Cinema]
Circonstonces 6: Le Réveil de l’histoire (2011) [The Rebirth of History]
La relation énigmatique entre politique et philosophie (2011)
L’antisémitisme partout – Aujourd’hui en France, with Eric Hazan [Reflections on Anti-Semitism (2011)
Entretiens : Tome 1 (1981-1996) [interviews] (2011)
Jacques Lacan, passé présent, with Élisabeth Roudinesco (2012) [Jacques Lacan, Past and Present, forthcoming 2014]
La République de Platon [Plato’s Republic]
Circonstonces 7 : Sarkozy:pire que prevu ; les autres: prevoir le pire (2012)
L’aventure de la philosophie française : Depuis les années 1960 (2012) [The Adventure of French Philosophy]
Controverse: Dialogue sur la politique et la philosophie de notre temps (with Jean-Claude Milner, 2012) [Controversies, forthcoming 2014]
Éloge du théâtre (2013)
Pornographie du temps présent (2013)
Le séminaire : Lacan – L’antiphilosophie 3, 1994-1995 (2013)
Le séminaire : Malebranche – L’être 2, Figure théologique, 1986 (2013)


Please join us for a talk by

Bernard Stiegler

“On Friendship and Neighbors”

on Tues. Oct 29, 4:00 in Humanities Building 193 at UCLA

Professor Stiegler is the director of the department of cultural development at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, also a professor at the University of Technology of Compiègne where he teaches philosophy. Before taking up the post at the Pompidou Center, he was program director at the International College of Philosophy, Deputy Director General of the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, then Director General at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM). In 2010 he founded the high school and international graduate school of philosophy, Ecole de Philosophie d’Epineuil-le-Fleuriel, in a windmill in rural France.

Professor Stiegler has published numerous books and articles on philosophy, technology, digitization, capitalism, consumer culture, etc. Among his writings, his three volumes of La technique et le temps (English Translation: Technics and Time), two volumes of De la misère symbolique, three volumes of Mécréance et Discrédit and two volumes Constituer l’Europe are particularly well known. Professor Stiegler has a long term engagement with the relation between technology and philosophy, not only in a theoretical sense, but also situating them in industry and society as practices. He is one of the founders of the political group Ars Industrialis based in Paris, which calls for an industrial politics of spirit, by exploring the possibilities of the technology of spirit, to bring forth a new “life of the mind.” He published extensively on the problem of individuation in consumer capitalism, and he is working on the new possibility of an economy of contribution.

Bibliography of his books in English:

• (2013) What Makes Life Worth Living: On Pharmacology (Cambridge: Polity Press)
• (2013) Uncontrollable Societies of Disaffected Individuals: Disbelief and Discredit, 2 (Cambridge: Polity Press)
• (2011) The Decadence of Industrial Democracies: Disbelief and Discredit, 1 (Cambridge: Polity Press)
• (2010) Taking Care of Youth and the Generations (Stanford: Stanford University Press)
• (2010) For a New Critique of Political Economy (Cambridge: Polity Press)
• (2010) Technics and Time, 3: Cinematic Time and the Question of Malaise (Stanford: Stanford University Press)
• (2009) Technics and Time, 2: Disorientation (Stanford: Stanford University Press)
• (2009) Acting Out (Stanford: Stanford University Press)
• (2002) Echographies of Television: Filmed Interviews (Cambridge: Polity Press), with Jacques Derrida
• (1998) Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus (Stanford: Stanford University Press)

Co-sponsored by ECT and the UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies


Please join us on Thursday October 10th at 1:00 in Humanities 348 for a lecture by

Evelyn Annuss,
Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

“Fascist Aesthetics Re-visited”

Since the emergence and establishment of new mass media in the early twentieth century theater historiography cannot be pursued adequately without reflecting on the interrelation between stage, screen and radio. This becomes all the more clear with regard to the development of Nazi mass stagings and their anti-fascist counterparts in the 1930s – both using the chorus as a figure of the masses, which not only presents the political as fundamentally theatrical, but underlines the specific mediality of this very figure as a living loud speaker of the public. Starting with scenes of the singing crowd in Jean Renoir’s 1937 film on the French Revolution – La Marseillaise – as an anti-fascist reaction to the propagandist use of radio and mass stagings by the Nazis, my contribution calls for a broadened scope regarding the historicization of the chorus, which takes the development of mass media into account. From this vantage point the quoting of pre-existing forms in staging the masses during the early period of Nazism and their specific change in form after 1936 can be re-rooted. Often conceived as static and monolithic, what is determined as “fascist aesthetics” changes fundamentally in the very year of Renoir’s film: The collective figure of the populace is transposed into an ornamental allegorization of Nazi power. This re-routing implies a paradigm shift in propaganda politics from sound to spectacle. It can thus be discussed in light of a re-accentuation of media dispositifs, due to the establishment of the sound film, which paradoxically evokes not just the talkie, but new perspectives on the ornament of the masses and its propagandist utilization.

Evelyn Annuss is a faculty member of the Institute for Theater Studies at Ruhr University Bochum. Her current research project focuses on the figure of the chorus in Nationalsocialist mass theater. Further key interests in research are contemporary theater and performance art, the cultural history of staging collectivity, drama theory and quotations of literary forms, the rhetorics of representation and visual politics in film, photography and theater as well as queer theory and post-colonial critique. After her dissertation on Elfriede Jelinek’s Theater of Afterlife (Fink 2007, 2nd edition), she curated the exhibition Stagings Made in Namibia. Post-colonial Photography (b_books 2009) at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in Windhoek and in Berlin 2009. Recent publications: “Inszenierungen des Kollektivsubjekts im Thingspiel” (Kreuder et. al.: Theater und Subjektkonstitution 2012); „Public Movement“ (Maske & Kothurn 2012).

Co-sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature, UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory and EU project REPEAT