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.



ECT seminar 2010-11: Philosophy, Art, and Politics

1.  Jan. 6          Introduction: Plato, Platonism, and Anti-Platonism

Plato, The Republic

Alain Badiou, “Art and Philosophy” from Handbook of Inaesthetics

Jacques Rancière, selections from The Politics of Aesthetics 

2.  Jan. 13        Eleanor Kaufman and Ken Reinhard, “Plato’s Republic and Badiou’s”

Plato, The Republic

Alain Badiou, Hypertranslation of Plato’s Republic (selections)

Jacques Rancière, “Plato’s Lie” from The Philosopher and His Poor

Jan. 18         ECT Symposium: Eleanor Kaufman, “Jewish Apostasy from Paul to Simone Weil” (12:00-2:00, Royce 306)

3.  Jan. 20        John McCumber on Aristotle

Aristotle, Poetics; Politics I; Nicomachean Ethics III 6-9 (on courage)

John McCumber, “Aristotelian Catharsis and the Purgation of Woman”

4.  Jan. 27        Kant on Aesthetic Judgment

Kant, Critique of Judgment

Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy (selections)

Jean-François Lyotard, Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime (selections)

5.  Feb. 3         Kant and Schiller on Aesthetic Education

Kant, cont.;  Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man (selections)

Jacques Rancière, “The Aesthetic Revolution and Its Outcomes”

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe & Jean-Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute (selections)

6.  Feb. 10       Hegel on Culture and Terror

Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (selections)

Jean Hyppolite, Genesis and Structure of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (selections)

7.  Feb. 17       Hegel on Art and Tragedy

Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics (selections)

Beat Wyss, Hegel's Art History and the Critique of Modernity (selections)

Feb. 22       Bruno Bosteels lecture: “Decadence, Aesthetics, and Grand Politics” (5:00 Royce 314)

8.  Feb. 24       Bruno Bosteels on Nietzsche

Alain Badiou, “Breaking in Two the History of the World?”

Alberto Moreiras, Exhaustion of Difference, selections

Bruno Bosteels on Moreiras and Esposito

March 1      ECT Symposium: Sianne Ngai, “Minor Aesthetic Categories” (6:00, Royce 306)

9.  March 3      Heidegger, Politics, Art

Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” “What are Poets For?”

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Heidegger, Art and Politics: The Fiction of the Political (selections),  

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Heidegger and the Politics of Poetry (selections)

10. March 10   Kristin Ross, “Marx’s Realist Intention”

Marx and Engels, The Civil War in France

Marx/Zasulich correspondence

Raymond Williams, “A Lecture on Realism”



Hello, Everything:

Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology

A conference sponsored by the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010  10:30-4:30

UCLA Faculty Center, Hacienda Room  ** PLEASE NOTE NEW ROOM**


10:30-12:00  Welcome by Ken Reinhard; Introduction by Ian Bogost

Graham Harman, “What are Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology?”

1:00-2:00  Moderator: Sianne Ngai

Timothy Morton (UC Davis), “Sublime Objects”

Eleanor Kaufman (UCLA), Sartre and Object Classification”

2:15-3:15  Moderator

Levi Bryant (Collin College), “Ontotheology and Withdrawal:  Sexuation and the New Metaphysics”

Nathan Brown (UC Davis), “On Method: The Compound Epistemology of After Finitude

3:30-4:30  Moderator: Julia Lupton

Ian Bogost (Georgia Tech), “Object-Oriented Ontogeny”

Graham Harman (the American University in Cairo), “Real Objects and Pseudo-Objects: Remarks on Method”





Final Call for Applications: ECT Seminar 2010-2011

Applications are now being accepted for the 2010-2011 ECT Seminar on “Philosophy, Art, and Politics,” which will meet on Thursdays, 3:00-6:00 Winter and Spring Quarters.  Applications are due Nov. 15, 2010 by email to: 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 the following information: name, email, Ph.D. or MFA program or department, year in program and expected date of degree, and thesis or graduate advisorPlease describe your background and interests in critical theory, in no more than two single spaced pages.

 Philosophy, Art, and Politics

 The question of the relationship of art and politics dates at least from Plato’s famous expulsion of the poets in the Republic, an act which seems to place philosophy, in its concern for justice and the good of the polis, in a fundamentally antagonistic relationship with art.  And beginning with Aristotle, philosophy has often taken on the role of defending art and asserting its potential for personal, social, and political value.  If, as Alfred North Whitehead claimed, all of philosophy is a history of footnotes to Plato, we should not be surprised that philosophers have continued to argue about the complex connections and disjunctions between aesthetics and politics ever since.  The modern articulation of this vexed relationship emerges with Kant, Hegel, and the German Romantics; the issue was central to 20th century thinkers such as Heidegger, Adorno, and Arendt; and the relation of art and politics continues to be a key problem more recently for thinkers and political philosophers such as Rancière, Badiou, Agamben, and Bourriaud.  Artists, of course, have also long addressed the question of the relationship of their activity and products to the political – and their responses take a variety of forms, from art objects and performances to manifestos and critical essays.  Some sessions of the seminar will be lead by members of the ECT Advisory Committee, as well as by visiting scholars and artists.  The seminar will conclude with a two day conference/performance.  This two quarter seminar (Winter: English 259; Spring CL 290) is the core course of the graduate certificate program in Experimental Critical Theory.

 Visitors to the seminar this year will include Bruno Bosteels (Cornell), Kristen Ross (NYU), Bernard Stiegler (IRCAM, Paris), Fredric Jameson (Duke), Emily Apter (NYU), Jason Smith (Art Center), Todd McGowan (U. of Vermont) and Alain Badiou (École Normale Supérieure, Paris).  Topics and thinkers to be covered include Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Marx, Adorno, Benjamin, Ranciere, Nicolas Bourriaud and “Relational Aesthetics,” Barthes, Badiou, “Minor Aesthetic Categories,” “Aesthetics and Political Economy in the Time of Psychopower,” and “Rhetorical Hermeneutics and the Aesthetics of Experience.”

 The ECT Symposium will include presentations by Mary Kelly (UCLA), Sianne Ngai (UCLA), Steven Mailloux (Loyola Marymount), Hilary Neroni (U. of Vermont), and a conference on Dec. 1, “Hello, Everything: Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Philosophy” featuring Graham Harman, Ian Bogost, Levi Bryant, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Timothy Morton, Nathan Brown, and Eleanor Kaufman. The final symposium event of the year will be a conference on Art and Politics on June 4 & 5, with Alan Badiou and other distinguished philosophers, critics, and artists, and featuring performances one evening by Matmos, Ultra-Red, and Kode9 and the other evening readings of scenes from Badiou’s Theater, including Incident at Antioch and Ahmed the Philosopher, featuring very special guest actors.




Seminars Approved for ECT Credit

Click here for a list of UCLA Seminars for 2010-11 approved for credit towards the ECT certificate (other seminars may be eligible, on petition)


Cal Arts Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series

The 2010-2011 lecture series are hosted by Arne De Boever (Fall) and Chandra Khan (Spring). All lectures are open to the public. For a pdf of the lecture series postcard, please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [1].

Fall 2010

TIMOTHY MORTON, “Hyperobjects”

October 7th, Thursday. 7:30pm, CAFÉ A at CALARTS.

Timothy Morton [2] is Professor of Literature and the Environment at the University of California, Davis. His interests include ecotheory, philosophy, biology, physical sciences, literary theory, food studies, sound and music, materialism, poetics, Romanticism, Buddhism, and the eighteenth century. He has published nine books, the most recent of which are Ecology Without Nature and The Ecological Thought.

CATHERINE MALABOU, “Plasticity: Looking For New Political Modes of Being”

November 9th, Tuesday. 7:30pm, Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue.

For directions, please consult moca.org [3].

Catherine Malabou teaches philosophy at the University of Paris X-Nanterre and is Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Her work articulates the notion of plasticity at the crossroads of philosophy and neuroscience. Her publications in English include The Future of Hegel, Counterpath (with Jacques Derrida), What Should We Do With Our Brain?, and Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing. This event will be preceded by an afternoon conference on biology, technology, and the arts [4].

BONNIE HONIG, “Antigone, Interrupted: Greek Tragedy and the Future of Humanism”

December 2nd, Thursday. 7:30pm, CAFÉ A at CALARTS.

Bonnie Honig is Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. She is also Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and appointed (courtesy) at Northwestern Law School. She is the author of Political Theory and the Displacement of PoliticsDemocracy and the Foreigner, and Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy. Her current project is about Sophocles’ Antigone.