28 & 29.05.05
17 & 18.06.05



In his most recent work to date, Le Siècle, Alain Badiou has set himself the task of thinking the twentieth century. In the course of remarkable exegetical analyses, he proposes the phrase “the passion of the real” to name the logic of its defining events (wars, revolutions, avant-garde movements, the emergence of psychoanalysis, genetics). Though the twentieth century has only just passed, it nonetheless seems immeasurably distant from us, almost impossible to conceive. We are rendered speechless before the horror of its crimes. But we are equally speechless before the brilliance of its thinkers and the breathtaking novelty of its creations. Hence the tendency of this recent century to encourage hasty evaluations and an all too quick “settling of accounts.” The aim of this seminar, guided by Badiou’s philosophical approach, is to break with the reigning juridical and expeditious discourse—the judgment of the century—in order to open the space for sober reflection. At a time of the supposed “clash of civilizations” and other imbecilities that pass today for the wisdom of our age, such a reflection, and a rediscovery of the processes that subtend our contemporary situation, seems to us an urgent necessity.
The format of the seminar is open discussion.

The seminar will take place on two weekends: Friday May 27 at 20:00 and Saturday May 28 at 15:00; Friday June 17 at 20:00 and Saturday June 18 at 15:00. Alberto Toscano will open the colloquium with a presentation on the theme of war in Le Siècle.

The invited guests for May 27 at 20:00 and May 28 at 15:00 are:

Oliver Feltham teaches at the Comparative Literature Department American University of Paris (FR) and is a researcher at the Theory Department of the Jan van Eyck Academie (NL). He is the English translator of Alain Badiou’s Being and Event.
Nina Power is a PhD student in philosophy at Middlesex University (UK), and is the co-translator of Badiou’s On Beckett.
Alberto Toscano teaches at Goldsmiths College (UK), and has translated Badiou’s Handbook of Inaesthetics, On Beckett (co-translator) and The Century.
Lorenzo Chiesa is a researcher at the Theory Department of the Jan van Eyck Academie (NL). He has edited and translated into Italian works by Slavoj Zizek.

The invited guest for June 17 at 20:00 and June 18 at 15:00 is:

Natacha Michel, a well-known French novelist and essayist, is also one of the members along with Alain Badiou of L’Organisation politique.