Cornell University

Comparative Cultures and Literature Forum (CCLF)

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Lewis Auditorium, G76 Goldwin Smith Hall

presents Professor Peter Osborne, Kingston University, London, UK, "I, You, We and It: Transindividuality, Subject to Contemporaneity"

Abstract  This talk will address the question, ‘What does it mean to be a contemporary subject?’ That is, ‘What does it mean to be at once a subject of the contemporary and subject to the contemporary, as a structure of historical time?’ It will do this through a reconsideration of the mediated relations between the modern and the contemporary as temporal structures of subjectivity, from the standpoint of Emile Benveniste’s ‘general linguistic’ account of subjectivity, and its relations to Hegel’s ‘I that is We, and We that is I’, on the one hand, and ’ and Freud’s ‘Where It was, there I shall be’, on the other. It is in Adorno’s idea of the artwork as a ‘quasi-subject’, in will be argued, that the contradictory structure of generalized communication – played out across these accounts of subjectivity and actualized in a global contemporaneity – is most clearly exhibited. 

Event Type



Comparative Literature


Philosophy, Africana Studies, government, comparative literature, Romance Studies, German literature, German culture, arthistory, cascal, cashum

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Susan (Sue) M. Besemer

Contact Phone



Peter Osborne

Speaker Affiliation

Kingston, London, UK

Open To

the public

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