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English PGR Seminar Series: David Nowell-Smith – 1st December

1st December 2016 @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm


Please join us for the Postgraduate Research Seminar (PGRS) this Thursday 1st December, at 5.15pm in the Lock-keeper’s Cottage, Mile End Campus.

Our speaker this week is Dr. David Nowell-Smith from the University of East Anglia. Dr. Nowell-Smith is Senior Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA, his main interest being in philosophical poetics. His talk is entitled ‘Eight Theses on Poiesis’, the abstract of which can be found below:

As is well documented, the Greek root of our word ‘poetry’, poiesis, meant ‘making’. Whilst this could apply to any activity of creation, Martin Heidegger’s reimagining of this word set the stakes far higher: it was the making of truth itself, the setting in place of the ‘open’, a specific conjuncture of appearance. In effect, this means that the political efficacy of art is bound up in its truth-content, and it is this conjunction that forms the impetus for the paper’s eight theses.

‘Eight theses’ follows Heidegger’s gloss of poiesis to ask what kinds of ‘making’ are available to poetry—and to art more generally—today, and under what conditions such making might prevail. Whilst most canonical attempts in aesthetics since Hegel to preserve art’s truth-content, notably through the Frankfurt School, have centred around the autonomy of the artwork, I argue that such autonomy, far from assuring art’s freedom, is a form of disempowerment, accepting the terms upon which any truth-content to art lies in the articulation of an individual subject. As Hegel, as well as Heidegger, noted, the poietic makings of earlier art forms was fundamentally communal; if thinkers including Kristeva, Rancière and Mouffe have seen the vocation of art to be its creation of new subjectivities, I will suggest that these must necessarily be collective subjectivities. And yet, where the dominant regime in which works are produced and circulate, and in which desires are articulated, is organised around the individual subject, how might such collectivities of subjectivity be brought about, and what might these subjectivities look like?

The talk is open to anyone who wants to come along and will last approximately an hour including questions. This will be followed by informal drinks at the Lock Keepers and then on to a meal in town.

For details of this and other upcoming PGRS events you can follow us on Twitter: @QMEnglishPGRS


1st December 2016
5:15 pm - 7:15 pm
Event Categories:


English PGRS


Queen Mary University of London
327 Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
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