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Culler Theory Lecture: Pheng Cheah

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

A. D. White House, Guerlac Room
29 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Pheng Cheah, Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, will deliver the Society for the Humanities' annual Culler Theory Lecture. 

"Beyond the World as Picture: Worlding and Becoming the Whole World [devenir tout le monde]"

In his well-known essay, Die Zeit des Weltbildes, Heidegger describes modernity as the age in which the world has been reduced to a picture.  The conceptualization of the world as picture is the fundamental basis of globalization and the geopolitical relations of power, inequality and exploitation that characterize the world-system created by late capitalism.  The world as picture is also the basis of various conceptual approaches for understanding worldliness informing various disciplines in the humanities and the narrative social sciences: world literature, world history, globality (global exchange and intercourse) and environmental kinship.  But what the world as picture also implies is the excess excluded by the picture frame: the framing presupposes as its ontological condition of possibility something that lies beyond the picture. This talk examines two philosophical accounts of the ontological grounding of the world as picture: Heidegger’s idea of worlding and Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of becoming the whole world as it is connected to their account of minor literature.  It elaborates in passing on the fundamental differences between these philosophies of world and the above approaches to worldliness.

Registration not required. Free and open to the public. Reception to follow the lecture. 

Read "Pheng Cheah Ph.D. ’98 to deliver Culler Theory Lecture" for more on Cheah, his research, and the Annual Culler Theory Lecture. 

In addition to his lecture, Pheng Cheah will host a graduate workshop on Thursday, March 21, from noon-2pm at the A.D. White House (Fellows' Lounge), lunch provided. 

Entitled "The Nonhuman: Worlding and Critiques of the Anthropocene," this workshop explores the converges and differences between the Heideggerian concept of worlding and recent critiques of the anthropocene.  What are the conceptual distinctions between the non-human as an ontological issue, the more-than-human and the entanglement of human beings and non-human beings?  Why are these distinctions important and what are some of their ethical and political implications?

Please contact Chloe Wray ( if you are interested in the workshop. Readings will be pre-circulated. 

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Society for the Humanities



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Chloe Wray

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Pheng Cheah

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UC Berkeley

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