Dr. Marco Abel

Professor | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Humanities on the Edge

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Founded in 2010 by Dr. Marco Abel and Dr. Roland Végsö, Humanities on the Edge is a cutting edge speaker series that seeks to promote cross-disciplinary conversations in the Humanities. In addition to Abel and Végsö, Humanities on the Edge is co-organized by Dr. Jeanette Jones, associate professor of history and ethnic studies, and Dr. Damien Pfister, assistant professor of communication studies.

2015-15 Speaker Series

Over the last decade or so, the concept of the “state of exception” has emerged as one of the most important philosophical and political concepts that we use to understand our contemporary historical situation. As the argument goes, all around us today we witness the breakdown of “normal” situations: we live in the age of financial, political, religious, and ecological crises. When the old norms break down, we begin to live in “exceptional” situations. The traditional use of the term “exception,” however, always implied that there was still a possibility of returning to the normal situation. But as the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argues, we have now entered the age of the “permanent state of exception.”

Our societies have responded to the collapse of traditional norms by permanently adopting a number of different emergency measures that were initially designed to be only temporary in nature. More and more people seem to suspect today that these emergency measures have led to the permanent transformation of our lives. The logic of this fundamental global transformation of our societies applies just as much to our Global War on Terror, climate change, the global financial crisis, as it does to the more immediate political decisions our leaders make on a daily basis.

All events are free of charge and open to the public. Events are held at the Sheldon Museum of Art, 12th and R Streets, and begin at 5:30 p.m. unless indicated otherwise.

Date Speaker Talk Title
10/2 Dr. Ursula Heise, University of California at Los Angeles “BioCities: Urban Futures and the Reinvention of Nature”
11/6 Dr. Gregg Lambert, Syracruse University “To Have Done with the ‘State of Exception’”
3/19 Dr. Adam Kotsko, Shimer College “The Prince of This World: The Devil and Political Theology”
4/2 Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virgina “The Operating System of Your Life: How Tech Companies and Big Data Govern Your Identity, Knowledge, and Refrigerator”
4/16 Dr. Cristina Rodriguez, Yale Law School “Immigration Reform and the Political Value of Manufacturered Crisis”


Previous Speakers

Previous “Humanities on the Edge” speakers included the following:

2010/11 “The Political Turn”
Steven Shaviro, Jeffrey T. Nealon, Sande Cohen, Ernesto Laclau

2011/12 “Biopower/Biopolitis”
Sara Guyer, Jodi Dean, Cesare Casarino, Michael Hardt

2012/13 “Aesthetics/Performance/Politics”
Mark Greif, Lutz Koepnick, E. Patrick Johnson, Kristin Ross

2013/14 “Economies of Crisis/Crises of Economies”
Carsten Strathhausen, Joshua Clover, Deirdre McCloskey, Imre Szeman