Kent Summer School In Critical Theory 2017, Paris

The 3rd iteration of the Kent Summer School in Critical Theory – organised by Maria Drakopoulou (Kent Law School) and Connal Parsley (Kent Law School) – will run from 26 June to 7 July 2017 in Paris.

Application deadline: March, 27th 2017

Seminars 2017

This year Professors Timothy Campbell (Cornell, USA) and Patricia J. Williams (Columbia, USA) will each lead an intensive two-week seminar.

Patricia J. Williams – Seeing and Surveillance: Law, culture and notions of justice

We live in a visual world.  Yet for law, the printed word is foundational. Emphasis on “the book” in legal culture shapes our notions of what is recognized as legitimate, and what sort of evidence deemed admissible in law.  But just as the moveable printing press stretched the moral, religious, and governmental ligaments of how civilizations were constituted, so we face a radically new technological revolution, grounded in a massive shift from print to pictograph.

The seminar will focus on how visual media contribute to the construction of legal knowledge as well as our sense of fairness and justice. From amateur streaming of police-citizen encounters to CCTV, from selfies to surveillance drones, from biometrics to Google-earth, we live in much-too-interesting times.

Community is evolving within newly-imagined topologies of race, gender, identity and phenotype.  Powerfully idiomatic visual–often “viral”–regimes are redirecting our affective relations to concepts of neighbor, neighborhood, nativism, citizenship, alienation and belonging.

We will ask how knowledge and seeing are linked; and how our gaze is directed—whether by cognitive capacity, social force (including tabloidization or terror), or algorithm. We will compare rhetorical conventions in verbal and visual accounts of the same cases. This will include study of the narrative elements of constructing “sides”—how heroes and villains are made, as well as the complexities of truth-telling and neutrality, of incitement, exposure, iconoclasm, and public order.

We will discuss the comparative professional ethics of law and media, including the roles and representational responsibilities of lawyers, legislators, bloggers, photojournalists, filmmakers, cartoonists, graphic artists, politicians, police, and citizen-observers.

Indicative Reading List

  • Simone Brown, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, Duke University Press, 2015
  • Colin Dayan, The Law Is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons, Princeton University Press, 2013
  • Diane Dufour, ed., Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence, Le Bal, Paris, 2015
  • Roberto Esposito, Persons and Things, Theory Redux, 2015
  • Shoshana Felman, The Juridical Unconscious: Trials and Traumas in the Twentieth Century, Harvard Press, 2002
  • Thomas Keenan and Eyal Weizman, Mengele’s Skull: The Advent of a Forensic Aesthetics, Sternberg Press, 2012
  • Nicholas Mirzoeff, The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality, Duke University Press, 2011
  • Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, Picador, 2004
  • Victor Navasky, Naming Names, Hill and Wang, 1980

We will also consider a number of court cases, movies and law review articles.

Timothy Campbell – Attention, Ethos, Life: Practices of the Self in the Contemporary Milieu

Is it possible to think practices of the self that are equal to the challenges of the contemporary milieu? In this seminar, we will attempt to do just that. We’ll begin by sketching the most important features of the contemporary milieu, under the rubric of biopower.

Through readings from Foucault, Agamben, and Deleuze (amongst others), we will size up the biopolitical and ethical situation we face, in order to see where fault lines may appear in present day biopower. Doing so will help set the scene for the second part of the seminar, when we’ll consider potential practices of the self across a variety of thinkers and texts, including Foucault’s later lectures as well as works from Kenneth Burke, D.W. Winnicott, Jacques Lacan, Lyotard, and Deleuze; practices that may actually prove capable of confronting biopower today. If we had to find names for such practices of the self, we could do worse than opt for attention and ethos.

Indicative Reading List

  • Giorgio Agamben, The Highest PovertyMeans without EndThe Use of Bodies.
  • Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
  • Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Toward HistoryA Grammar of Motives
  • Judith Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself
  • Emanuele Coccia, Sensible Life
  • Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus
  • Gilles Deleuze, Foucault
  • Forti, Simona. The New Devils
  • Michel Foucault, The Courage of TruthThe Government of Self and Others; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History”; Security, Territory, Population; “What is an Author?”; “What is Critique?”; “What is Enlightenment?”
  • Jacques Lacan, AnxietyThe Ethics of Psychoanalysis 1959-1960
  • Michael Lambek, ed. Ordinary Ethics: Anthropology, Language, and Action
  • Jean-François Lyotard, Driftworks
  • Plato, ApologyLaches
  • D.W. Winnicott, Playing and Reality