Research Seminar
“The Janus Face of Democracy: Urgency of an Untimely Question”
Prof. Gabriel Rockhill

This research seminar will critically analyze the Janus face of democracy by examining the tensions and contradictions between the dual roles that it has come to play in the contemporary world. On the one hand, democracy has in many ways come to represent the political good par excellence, and there is an extremely widespread consensus concerning the normative value of democracy as such. On the other hand, contemporary democracies are responsible for massive forms of violence and oppression around the world, ranging from highly questionable domestic policies to bloody military interventions abroad. What is therelationship between these two faces of democracy, between democracy as a supposed shield against oppression and democracy as a perpetrator of violence?

Required books:
G. Agamben, A. Badiou, D. Bensaïd, W. Brown, J.-L. Nancy, J. Rancière, K. Ross, S. Žižek, Democracy in What State? or Démocratie, dans quel état?
É. Balibar, Equaliberty or La proposition de l’égaliberté
All of the other required texts are available here

or, Encounters with Contemporary Thinkers
Prof. Gabriel Rockhill

The Encounters series will provide an opportunity to publicly interview contemporary intellectuals on their work. As preparation, we will read select essays by the authors in question and collectively generate a series of questions for public discussion and debate. Invited guests will generally fall into three categories: prominent living philosophers, well-known specialists of contemporary Francophone thought, and important thinkers whose work has not yet been widely translated into English.

Confirmed participants for 2014 include: Bruno Karsenti, Claire Pagès, Alan Schrift and Patrick Vauday. 

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