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.


Badiou Plato Republic

Alain Badiou’s “hyper-translation” of Plato’s Republic is now available from Columbia University Press. If you purchase it through the web link here: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-16016-2/platos-republic and enter the promo code “PLABAD” you will receive a 30% discount.


ECT Seminar   Theory and Theater                                      Winter and Spring 2013



1. Jan. 10                     Introduction: Theory and Theater                          

                                    Jacques Derrida, “The Theater of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation”                                 

                                    Gilles Deleuze, “One Less Manifesto”

                                    Alain Badiou, “Theater and Philosophy”; “Theses on Theater”

                                    Aeschylus, The Oresteia

                                    Badiou, “Theory of the Subject According to Sophocles, Theory of the Subject According to Aeschylus” (from Theory of the Subject)

2. Jan. 17                    Greek Tragedy I  Special Guest Speaker: James Porter

                                    Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

                                    Aristotle, Poetics; Politics, Book 8

                                    Longinus, On the Sublime

                                    Jacob Bernays, “Aristotle on the Effect of Tragedy”

3. Jan. 24                    Greek Tragedy II      

                                    Sophocles, Antigone

                                    Kierkegaard, “The Ancient Tragical Motif as Reflected in the Modern”

                                    Lacan, “The Essence of Tragedy: A Commentary on Sophocles’Antigone” (from Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis)

                                    Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim

4. Jan. 31                    Plato and Theater  Special Guest Speaker: Zina Giannopoulou

                                    Plato, The Republic (selections); Symposium (selections)                           

                                    Alain Badiou, Plato’s Republic (selections)

                                    Martin Puchner, The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Theater and Philosophy (selections)

                                    Freddie Rokem, Philosophers and Thespians: Thinking Performance (selections)

5. Feb. 7                     Greek Comedy Special Guest Speaker: John McCumber

                                    Aristophanes, The Clouds and Lysistrata

                                    Alenka Zupančič, The Odd One In


6. Feb. 14                   Hegel

                                    Phenomenology of Spirit (selections on Antigone)

                                    Lectures on Aesthetics (Introduction, selections on drama)

   Feb. 19, 7:30          James Conlon on Verdi and Wagner at the Hammer

7. Feb. 21                   Nietzsche Special Guest Speaker: John McCumber

                                    Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy


                                    7:30 James Conlon on Verdi and Wagner at the Hammer

8. Feb. 28                   Wagner  Special Guest Speaker: David Levin

                                    Alain Badiou, Five Lessons on Wagner

                                    Adorno, “Wagner’s Relevance for Today”

                                    Wagner, Götterdämmerung (Konwitschny production)

   Tues. March 5, 7:30 Rehearsal of The Flying Dutchman at LA Opera

9. March 7                 Benjamin I: Tragedy and Trauerspiel

                                    Walter Benjamin, Origin of the German Tragic Drama      


               7:30 James Conlon on Verdi and Wagner at the Hammer


              March 12, 7:30        Master Class with James Conlon and Opera UCLA & LA Opera students (Schoenberg Hall)

10. March 14            Benjamin II: Media and Mediations

                                    Benjamin, Origin of the German Tragic Drama, cont.

                                    Benjamin, The Arcades Project, Draft N      


           5:00 Humanities 193   ECT Symposium: Sigrid Weigel

                                    (Co-sponsored by the Departments of English and Germanic Languages)

                                    “The Lightning Flash of Knowledge and the Temporality of Images:

                                      Walter Benjamin’s image based epistemology and its preconditions in visual arts and media history”



1. April 4                  NO SEMINAR

2. April 11                 Shakespeare and Modernity   Special Guest Speaker: Drew Daniel (with Aaron Kunin and Julia Reinhard Lupton)

                                    Shakespeare, Timon of Athens                                   

Tues, April 16, 6:00   Alain Badiou: Seminar on Theater, Politics, and Philosophy        

                                    1. The Function of Theater

                                    Alain Badiou, “Rhapsody for the Theater”


3. April 18                2. Theater and Politics

                                    Alain Badiou, The Incident at Antioch


 Tues, April 23, 6:00   3. Theater and Philosophy

                                    Alain Badiou, Ahmed the Philosopher

4.  April 25                 NO SEMINAR

 April 27, 8:00 Britten, Curlew River at Jacaranda (First Pres. Santa Monica), directed by Yuval Sharon.

5. May 2                      Special Guest Speaker: Yuval Sharon

                                    Ranciere, Brecht, etc.

                                    Britten, Curlew River        


6. May 9                     Beckett’s Endgame   Special Guest Speaker: Martin Harries

                                    Beckett, Endgame.

                                    Adorno, “Trying to Understand Endgame”;

                                    Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood”;

                                    Stanley Cavell, “Ending the Waiting Game: A Reading of Beckett’s Endgame

7. May 16                   Chinese Opera   Special Guest Speaker: Daphne Pi-Wei Lei


     May 22                   ECT Symposium Martin Puchner, “The Drama of Ideas: Socrates and Modern Drama”

8. May 23                   Wittgenstein's Dramatic Theory of Language Special Guest Speaker: Martin Puchner

                                    Tom Stoppard, Dogg’s Hamlet

                                    Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, paragraphs 1-33

9. May 30                   Special Guest Speaker and Performance: Bryan Reynolds                                                          


10. June 6                   TBD



The graduate students of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, invite submissions for its annual conference:

The Laboring Body

Conference Date: Friday, March 15, 2013

Deadline for submissions: January 13, 2013

Keynote Speaker: Nathan Brown, University of California, Davis.

Nathan Brown's research and teaching focus on 20th and 21st century poetry and poetics, continental philosophy, and science/technology studies, and recent communist theory. Having recently completed a book manuscript titled The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science and Materialist Poetics, he is at work on a second book project titled Absent Blue Wax: Rationalist Empiricism in Contemporary French Philosophy. Nathan's recent writing and teaching focus on recent communist theory and rethinking the alignment of cultural and political-economic periodization during late modernity. He has also been actively engaged in the UC struggle against the privatization of the university.


The last several years of global economic meltdown have reinvigorated public debate around the mechanisms of capitalism, particularly as people recognize their role in sustaining the system that exploits them. Organized labor, as well as those outside of the workforce (whether unemployed, homeless, or laboring in shadow economies), have played an important role in the Occupy movement and in uprisings in the Arab world, Europe, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, budget cuts and other austerity measures, as well as the general climate of crisis within the humanities and within public education as a whole, has produced a critical moment for student movements and academic workers throughout the world. While heterogeneous in their practices and conditions, these movements nonetheless share in common that they each have begun to organize the laboring body as a political force at the same time as it organizes itself. Recent theoretical work by thinkers such as David Harvey, Paolo Virno and Antonio Negri, to name just a few, has re- examined the role of labor, particularly as understood in the context of biopolitics.

This conference would like to address the ways in which politics is manifest at the level of labor embodied. In other words, how are bodies organized and self-organized within the system of labor at this most recent (neoliberal) stage of capitalism and the crises it currently faces? In what ways is the notion of labor being transformed when the body is no longer put to the service of capital but instead actively works against it? How do living relationships between knowledge and labor disrupt systems which create liberal conceptualizations of responsibility modeled on notions of labor, indebtedness and contractual obligation? How is labor aestheticized, and in what ways do myths or allegories of labor construct theories or reinforce ideologies of how bodies work (or are worked)? We invite papers from all who are engaged with questions of labor embodied, whether through politics, philosophy, critical theory, art, literature, film, science studies, culture or pedagogy, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary work.

More specific topics include but are not limited to:

  • Labor and bodies at work in philosophy
  • Migration of labor (across space, discipline, time…)
  • Im/materiality of labor and the laboring body
  • Slave, multitude, collectivity, peoples, commune,individual
  • Gendering and racializing of laboring bodies
  • Reproduction (by bodies, of bodies, through bodies…)
  • Myths and allegories of labor and the body at work
  • Employment and unemployment
  • Free time, leisure, the labored/laboring body at rest
  • Resistance, occupation, the body politic, the masses

We welcome abstracts of 250-300 words, to be submitted to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " moz-do-not-send="true"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it no later than January 13, 2013. Presentations are to be 20 minutes in length. Please include your name, email address, departmental affiliation, institution, and phone number with your abstract. A limited amount of travel funds will be made available to out-of-town participants.


The Department of Comparative Literature

243 Humanities Instructional Building

University of California

Irvine, CA 92697-2651

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " moz-do-not-send="true"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Call for Papers:

The 18th annual Villanova Philosophy Conference  

Apocalyptic Politics: Framing the Present


Villanova University, Friday April 12-Saturday April 13, 2013

Confirmed Speakers:  Mladen Dolar  |  Slavoj Žižek  |  Alenka Zupančič


The present is often characterized as a critical moment that totters between possibilities of irresolvable catastrophe and redemptive restoration. Such claims involve prophecies of an end. Whether consisting in theological predictions of a messianic end, political predictions of a revolutionary end, or historical predictions of an epochal end, claims on the future charge the present with immediate significance through the ethical and political demands they place on it. This is to say, an anticipated end, which in a way is not-yet, is also always enacted in the present. Apocalyptic futures clearly enter into the structure of contemporary subjects - of their desires and drives, on the planes of fantasy and of theory - but these relations call for clarification. The multiplicity of ways in which prophecy can be received, for instance - whether the foretold end is interpreted as already-accomplished, imminent, or in the indeterminate future, whether the end is met with a spirit of fear or hopeful anticipation, or whether it is understood as necessary and irrevocable or as contingent and preventable, etc. - invites fundamental inquiry into the conscious and unconscious relations of the subject to history and its ruptures.


Possible topics may include but are not limited to the following: the end/temporality of history (Hegel, Marx, Kojeve); political theology and the Messianic: the legacy of Paul in political theology, kariological temporality and klesis (Agamben, Derrida, Benjamin, Bloch); early modern political philosophy: the role of prophecy in shaping societal affects (Hobbes, Machiavelli, Spinoza); phenomenological relationality to the future; revolutionary politics; apocalyptic cinema, science fiction, and art.


The Philosophy Graduate Student Union at Villanova University welcomes high quality submissions from graduate students and faculty.  Abstracts and papers are welcome for review; papers should not exceed 3500 words.


Submission Deadline: February 1st, 2013

Please send submissions formatted for blind review to

Rachel Aumiller and Chris Drain at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


We strongly encourage submissions from women and other under-represented groups.



The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory

Winter-Spring 2013

Theory and Theater

The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory is now accepting applications for its Winter and Spring 2013 core seminar, which will be on “Theory and Theater.” Please send your application by November 15 to the ECT Program, c/o Michelle Anderson, Student Affairs Officer, Department of Comparative Literature, UCLA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please include your name, email address, the Ph.D. or MFA program you are enrolled in, your year in the program and expected date of degree, and the name of your thesis or graduate advisor. Please describe your background and interests in critical theory (no more than one page). 

According to Plato, “there is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry” (Republic, 607b5–6) – a quarrel above all between philosophy and what Plato considers to be the most essentially mimetic form of poetry, theater (from the Greek θεᾶσθαι, meaning to behold or see). Plato argues that, as the imitative art par excellence, theater is ontologically, epistemologically, and ethically inferior to philosophy, which strives to penetrate the shadows of representation in order to attain the reality of ideas. But if there is a fundamental conflict (or even, as Plato suggests, a power struggle) between philosophy and theater, philosophy is associated with theory [θεωρία] which comes from the same root as theater, θεα. So philosophy-theory and poetry-theater are not only antagonists vying for political and social influence, but also rival siblings, each claiming to be the legitimate expression of a certain mode of visuality. Indeed, for Aristotle poetry (and above all theater) is closely allied with philosophy, as a parallel route on the way to universal truths. What then do theory and theater have in common, and what can they learn from each other? What kind of thinking is specific to the textual and performative conditions of theater? How does theater constitute a laboratory for aesthetic, conceptual, and political experimentation? And how does theoretical philosophy depend on models of knowledge and action that derive from theater? In what sense is theorizing not simply an act of description or abstraction, but performative and even theatrical? And how have philosophy and theater converged in their unfoldings after Plato, producing new hybrid forms in modernity and the contemporary world?

The seminar will begin in the winter by considering the Greek origins of both theater and philosophy in Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle, in relation to commentaries by modern thinkers such as Hegel, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Wagner, Kierkegaard, Freud, Benjamin, Lacan, Adorno, Lacoue-Labarthe, Badiou, Butler, Žižek, and Zupančič. Theatrical topics will include tragedy, comedy, opera, and marionette theater. The seminar will include talks and sessions lead by visiting scholars, and will be held in conjunction with a series of lectures by Maestro James Conlon (Music Director of LA Opera, and Regents’ Lecturer at UCLA during Winter 2013) and a visit to LA Opera’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. In the spring, the seminar will concentrate on modern and recent theory and theater, including Shakespeare, Brecht, Artaud, Beckett, and Badiou, as well as Noh plays and Chinese Opera. Again the seminar will involve several guest speakers, and will include two weeks of sessions lead by Alain Badiou, who will be Regents’ Lecturer at UCLA during Spring 2013. Other experimental theatrical events are also planned for spring quarter.