Scholars in Residence

Spring 2011: Jacques Rancière

Jacques Rancière is widely regarded as one of Europe’s foremost contemporary intellectuals. His recent work, which has influenced scholars and artists alike, examines the relationships between aesthetics and politics. Interested in the questions of democracy, equality, and emancipation, his work insists that aesthetics is not an autonomous discourse. He is the author of many books: Aesthetics and its Discontents, Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, The Emancipated Spectator, Disagreement, Hatred of Democracy, The Future of the Image, The Politics of Aesthetics, and The Ignorant Schoolmaster, to name just a few.

Describing Rancière’s ability to speak to multiple audiences and academic disciplines, Kristin Ross writes, “[Rancière’s] books address readers intimately aware of issues in local French politics and people who have never set foot in France; academic philosophers and amateurs; professionals trained in various fields and autodidacts. His art lies in being true to the rigor of his argument--its careful, precise unfolding--and at the same time not treating his reader, whether university professor or unemployed actress, as an imbecile.”

Ranciere taught at the University of Paris VIII, France, from 1969 to 2000, occupying the Chair of Aesthetics and Politics from 1990 until his retirement.


Doing or Not Doing: Aesthetic Paradigms and Political Issues, English 795.1
Jacques Rancière
T, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
R, 9:10 AM to 11:30 AM
432 East Campus Mall (University Club), Room 313

(One‐Credit Seminar; begins April 5, 2011) Artistic practices and regimes of identification of art are based on specific forms of relationships between certain functions and activities: speaking and acting, feeling and expressing, seeing and thinking, living and moving. They combine them according to certain key paradigms of connection: signs and meaning, ends and means, causes and effects, the whole and its parts, the body with its members and their functions. Now those relationships, combinations and paradigms are also at work in political action and in thinking about politics. The seminar will focus on some tensions and contradictions inherent in the aesthetic regime of art and on their political implications starting from 18th century discussion about action and expression in theatre, dance and visual arts. We will read Diderot, Noverre, Winckelmann, Lessing, Schiller and explore the development and the effects of those tensions with regard to the understanding of artistic modernity, emancipatory politics and revolutionary art in 20th century.

Public Talk:
The Politics of Fiction
Thursday, April 14 @ 7:30pm, Elvehjem Building L160

What is fiction? In this lecture, Jacques Rancière challenges the conventions of aesthetic realism to argue that fiction concerns not only the relation between real and imaginary worlds, but also the capacity of individuals to feel and communicate.