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French philosopher Rancière to speak

Emory Report | April 23, 2012

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Jacques Ranciere at European Graduate School. 2009. Copyright: Hendrik Speck.

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Jacques Rancière, one of the most prominent and influential French philosophers writing today, will speak on "Telling, Showing, Doing: The Poetics and Politics of Fiction," at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, in White Hall, Room 208.

Sponsored by Emory's Department of French and Italian, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Rancière's work is widely recognized as a major contributor to contemporary thought. Elissa Marder, chair of the Department of French and Italian and associate professor of French, describes him as "a leading thinker on the relationship between aesthetics and politics," adding that his work "crosses the boundaries of literary criticism, philosophy, writing about history, psychoanalysis, cinema, and contemporary art."

Following his early work in political philosophy with Louis Althusser, Rancière has become increasingly interested in the ways in which politics and aesthetics are inextricable and how they must be redefined through their dependence upon one another, Marder notes.

A thinker who defies conventional categorization, Rancière crosses the boundaries that delineate traditional distribution of disciplines to focus on his main object of study: the question of the "distribution of the sensible" and its reconfigurations, both in arts and politics.

While elaborating a complex political theory of democratic emancipation that has allowed him to propose incisive analyses of topics as diverse as human rights, liberal consensus, 9/11 and war, he also has written extensively on literature, art, film, photography, the "poetics" of history and the "aesthetic unconscious."

His recent translated works include "The Politics of Literature" (2011) and "Staging the People: The Proletarian and His Double" (2011).

 —Staff Reports