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Missing Universality: Absence and Politics

Todd McGowan, University of Vermont

September 19, 2022 · 5:00 pm7:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

Department of Comparative Literature

Universality is the basis of emancipatory politics. What is universal is not what we possess in common but what we don’t possess at all—the structural absence that animates every social order. This talk will argue for the salience of this conception of universality and an understanding of emancipation founded on it.

Todd McGowan teaches theory and film at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Enjoyment Right and Left, The Racist Fantasy, Emancipation After Hegel, Capitalism and Desire, Only a Joke Can Save Us, and other works. He is the editor of the Film Theory in Practice series at Bloomsbury and the co-editor (with Slavoj Žižek and Adrian Johnston) of the Diaeresis series at Northwestern University Press. He is the co-host of the Why Theory podcast with Ryan Engley.

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