Slavoj Zizek - Masterclass: Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture

Last updated, 13 Sep 2013
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Birkbeck, University of London
15/06/2009 to 19/06/2009

The master class will analyse phenomena of modern thought and culture with the intention to discern elements of possible Communist culture. It will move at two levels: first, it will interpret some cultural phenomena (from today's architecture to classic literary works like Rousseau's La Nouvelle Heloise) as failures to imagine or enact a Communist culture; second, it will explore attempts at imagining how a Communist culture could look, from Wagner's Ring to Kafka's and Beckett's short stories and contemporary science fiction novels. 1. Architecture as Ideology: the Failure of Performance-Arts Venues to construct a Communal Space 2. Narrative as an Ideological Category: Literary References in Hegel's Phenomenology 3. The Failure of Nietzsche's Critique of the Hegelian Narrative 4. Wagner's Ring as a Communist narrative 5. Narrative Germs of Communism: from Kafka, Beckett, Sturgeon

Allen Speight, Hegel, Literature and the Problem of Agency (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2001)
Slavoj Zizek and John Millbank, The Monstrosity of Christ (Cambridge: MIT Press 2009)
Richard Wagner: The Ring of the Nibelungs (libretto, available on line)
Franz Kafka: Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk (available online)
Samuel Beckett:  Not I (available online)
Theodor Sturgeon, Stranger Than Human (a classic sci-fi novel available in many editions).

Monday 15th June - Friday 19th June  2.30pm (Wednesday 17th @  2pm)   Room B34  Birkbeck Main Building

Registration essential:       Standard - £25      Birkbeck staff and all Students - £10