Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 4:30pm
A. D. White House, Guerlac Room
29 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
We speak of transparency as a matter of ethical, democratic, good governance, and as an issue of freedom of information. By comparison to the current celebration of transparency—even in the Trump Age, French thinkers after World War II developed a remarkable allergy toward use of the term, which spiraled around the deep suspicion that transparency was philosophically violent and distortive, politically perilous, ethically misguided: it all led to totalitarianism, social homogeneity, the erasure of the other, an overwrought belief in the overbearing self. This talk offers a history of the conceptual revolutions in Postwar France to explain the value of that far-reaching critique and to offer some reflections for the value of continuing its deconstruction today.
Stefanos Geroulanos is Associate Professor of European Intellectual History at New York University and Director of the Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique/NYU). He usually writes about the history of the concepts that weave together modern understandings of the human, time, and the body. He is now working on a project on the figure of the New Man in modern thought, science, and aesthetics, a co-edited project on time and power, and a smaller project on the modern inventions of human "prehistory." As of May 2017, he is Co-Executive Editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas. In the academic year 2017-18, he is continuing as Director of Graduate Studies in History, and is teaching courses on: Time (graduate, fall 2017); The 1960s (freshman seminar, fall 2017); Freud (undergraduate and graduate, spring 2018), and The Birth of the Human (core curriculum, spring 2018).