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The Digital Culture and Media Initiative in the Department of English and the Department of Philosophy present a lecture by Tom Eyers: "Formalism in a Positivist Age"

Presentation description: Taking up certain aspects of my 2014 article "The Perils of the Digital Humanities," this talk will address the complex relationship between various, overlapping strands of contemporary literary theory, Continental philosophy, and the digital humanities. What is emerging, I will argue, is a contest for the meaning of one of the oldest and most inexact of critical terms — "form." What might a "speculative" formalism look like, were it to contest the tacit positivism that underpins much that comes under the banner of both the "new formalism" and the digital humanities? How might historical and political questions be integrated into such an approach without neglecting the generative modulations of form at the level of the line? Finally, what are the general prospects for criticism today, formalist or otherwise, given the reinvigoration of positivist and anti-critical lines of thought?

Tom Eyers is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University and Assistant Editor of the journal boundary 2: international journal of literature and culture. He is the author of three books: Lacan and the Concept of the Real (Palgrave, 2012), Post-Rationalism: Psychoanalysis, Epistemology and Marxism in Postwar France (Bloomsbury, 2013/2015), and Speculative Formalism: Literature, Theory, and the Critical Present (Northwestern University Press, forthcoming in 2016).

Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Grucci Room,, 102 Burrowes Building


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