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Monday, October 22, 2012

Performing the Enlightenment in the Twenty-First Century Conference

The Department of Theatre and Dance is hosting "Performing the Enlightenment in the Twenty-First Century". The conference, scheduled for November 30 and December 1 at the Nolte Center, seeks to re-open discussion on the Enlightenment in times of today's economic crisis when the basic driver of the academe is the distribution of resources.

Michal Kobialka
Department of Theatre Arts & Dance

Performing the Enlightenment in the Twenty-First Century--
A Multidisciplinary Conference

The conference, scheduled for 11/30 (Friday) and 12/1 (Saturday), 2012, seeks to re-open a discussion on the Enlightenment in times of today's economic crisis when the basic driver of the academe is the distribution of resources.
The propensity to avoid moral considerations and to restrict ourselves to issues of profit and loss--economic questions in the narrowest sense--however, is not instinctive. It is an acquired taste as Adam Smith and Marquis de Condorcet noted already in the eighteenth century. This being the case, the conference intends to historicize this propensity by investigating the Enlightenment anew (and, by extension, our situation today). Thus, how did we today come to think in exclusively economic terms? The fascination with an etiolated economic vocabulary did not come out of nowhere. On the contrary, we live in the long shadow of the debates which were initiated in the eighteenth century.
By bringing together scholars in the field as well as the University of Minnesota students and faculty in the humanities and the arts/performance, this conference will create an open forum for the debate about the Enlightenment.
Rather than following a traditional format, this conference will be organized as a series of encounters and debates. Because of their expertise and critical work, the following guest speakers have been invited:
• The scholars working in the field of the Enlightenment/critical theory:
o Durba Gosh, Cornell University: "Was the Enlightenment the End of Revolutionary Political Violence? : the "Terror" and Anticolonial Terrorism Plotted in Historical Time"
o Esther Leslie, Birkbeck, University of London: "Liquidity, Crystallinity, Light, of Abstractions and Distractions"
o Mita Choudhury, Purdue University Calumet: "Riot: A Brief Archeology of Scripted, Unscripted, and Chaotic Performances"
o Crystal Bartolovich, Syracuse University: "Yes, Bruno, there is a Capitalism"
o Max Pensky, Binghamton University: "More Life!"
• The University of Minnesota faculty:
o Timothy Brenan, CSCL and English: "Green Misanthopy"
o Keya Ganguly, CSCL: "Playing with History: The Chess Players and Critical Reason"
o Tony C. Brown, English: "Negative Abstract Statelessness"
o Antonio Y. V√°zquez-Arroyo, Political Science: "A Singular Enlightenment: Realism and Utopia"
o J.B. Shank, History: moderator/roundtable discussion