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Intra-Disciplinary Seminar Public Lecture: Lionel Ruffel

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 7 - 8pm

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Lionel Ruffel. © Büro Direkte Schönheit
Lionel Ruffel. © Büro Direkte Schönheit

The Intra-Disciplinary Seminar (IDS) Public Lecture Series presents a lecture by Lionel Ruffel entitled "A Dangerous Book." It is free and open to the public.

“This is a dangerous book!” Or so announced Glenn Beck on Fox News, regarding the U.S. publication of The Invisible Committee’s The Coming Insurrection in 2009. The “Tarnac case” had crossed the Atlantic: a trial that centered on train track sabotage in the south of France, and used a book as key legal evidence. But what is a book without an author? A book that rejects the entire modern structure of “the literary”, which is founded on the notion of ownership rights, i.e. the raison d’être of capitalism? The Tarnac case uncovers the fundamental literary questions of the new millenium. This lecture traces their unfolding, from Kant to Fox News, in order to distinguish a modern literary imaginary that centers on the book, from a contemporary imaginary that centers, instead, on the notion of “publication”.

Lionel Ruffel is a literary scholar and publisher, and the chair of Comparative Literature at Université Paris 8 where he is the founding director of the creative writing program. Among his recent projects, he has convened (together with artist Kader Attia) “Theory Now” at La Colonie in Paris, “The Publishing Sphere” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) and “Radio Brouhaha” at Pompidou Center, Paris. His current research (covering literary theory, cultural studies, contemporary arts and literatures) is a global investigation of what the word “contemporary” means and the reasons for why the term imposed itself within the field of representations and practices. An English translation of his book, Brouhaha, Worlds of the Contemporary, is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press.

The IDS Public Lecture Series, consists of lectures by artists, theorists, activists, designers, writers, curators and other practitioners involved in the arts from positions that embody an interdisciplinary approach or that imply new uses for disciplinary traditions.

The IDS Public Lecture Series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding and support from the Robert Lehman Foundation.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.