Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Feedback from Zizek Session

The nights are drawing in, and things are getting frosty - but our first Thoughtsforward session provided a fine tonic to the misery of winter.

Debate flowed outwards from three informal papers on Zizek the man, and his recent polemical article on "Liberal multiculturalism" and the "decaffeinated Other".  Responses to his prose varied in the extreme.  Some contributors unabashedly loved his style, his impact upon the public and willingness to provoke debate.  Others were deeply concerned about the lack of academic rigour in this article.  (His generalizations, referencing without citation, and adopting a voice of the "man in the street" without any identifiable / real source were key sticking points.)  Questions of responsibility and context were raised... Does Zizek, as a learned representative from the academy, have an important responsibility to be rigorous in his discourse, wherever it is published? Or is his primary responsibility, when writing a comment piece for The Guardian, to be entertaining, interesting, and thought provoking - citations be damned?

All agreed, however,  that Zizek, as he blurs the line between academic and intellectual and  invades public (non-academic fora) with his explosive ideas, is a master of persuasive rhetoric with a flair for the written word. The session raised important questions as to the role of the professional academic within society, and the difference in communication modes within and outside of academia. Many thanks to all who attended!

Remember to get in touch with us by email if you would like to suggest any topics for forthcoming sessions, and have your voice heard within SELCS!

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