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A Conversation with Russell Sbriglia on the “Subject Lessons” via Zoom

27. Juli 2020,20:00 - 22:00

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Monday, July 2020, 8-10pm (Berlin time)                                              

Alex Janda

Responding to the ongoing “objectal turn” throughout contemporary humanities and social sciences, the eleven essays in Subject Lessons. Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism (Edited by Russell Sbriglia and Slavoj Žižek, published in February 2020) present a sustained case for the continued importance—indeed, the indispensability—of the category of the subject for the future of materialist thought.

Various neovitalist materialisms and realisms currently en vogue across a number of academic disciplines (from New Materialism and actor-network theory to speculative realism and object- oriented ontology) advocate a flat, horizontal ontology that renders the subject just another object amid a “democracy of objects.” By contrast, the dialectical materialism presented throughout Subject Lessons maintains that subjectivity is crucial to grasping matter’s “vibrancy” and continual “becoming” in the first place. Approaching matters through the frame of Hegel and Lacan, the contributors to this volume—many of whom stand at the forefront of contemporary Hegel and Lacan scholarship—agree with neovitalist thinkers that material reality is ontologically incomplete, in a state of perpetual becoming, yet they do so with one crucial difference: they maintain that this is the case not in spite of but rather because of the subject.

Incorporating elements of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary and cultural studies, Subject Lessons contests the movement to dismiss the subject, arguing that there can be no truly robust materialism without accounting for the little piece of the Real that is the subject – with contributions from: Adrian Johnston, Kathryn Van Wert, Nathan Gorelick, Molly Rothenberg, Mladen Dolar, Andrew Cole, Borna Radnik, Russell Sbriglia, Slavoj Žižek, Todd McGowan, and Alenka Zupančič.

Russell Sbriglia will speak about the publication in general and his essay on Melville’s “Moby Dick” (From Sublimity to Sublimation: Hegel, Lacan, Melville) in detail with Alex Janda from the Psychoanalytical Library Berlin via Zoom. Afterwards the floor will be opened for “Q&A”.

RUSSELL SBRIGLIA is an assistant professor of English at Seton Hall University. He is the editor of Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek. A more extensive work on Melville is in progress.

To register for this event, please write an E-Mail to: with the subject: “Subject lessons”.



27. Juli 2020,
20:00 - 22:00

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