New Leading Thinkers Course on Georges Bataille

The PACT Division of the EGS is very pleased to announce that the “Leading Thinkers” series will continue with a course on Georges Bataille led by Professor Patrick ffrench.

Dates: November 19, 2022 – February 4, 2023  

The singular, excessive, heretical and radically atheological thought of Georges Bataille persists as an unavoidable and inexhaustible body underpinning, sometimes explicitly, of- ten in secret, much of the work of critical theory and continental philosophy of the 20th- century. Intervening punctually across the cultural and intellectual history of 20th century French thought, and beyond, Bataille’s writing is difficult to categorise in terms of genre. This in part leaves it obstinately open to re-interpretation. Its main effect is the exposure of systems, whether ontological, epistemological, socio-economic or literary, including those of the body, in terms of its phenomenality, its sex and its morphology. This 10 week seminar series will focus on selected writings by Bataille from his early dismantling of bodily organisation, through his critique of the economics of production and saving and the proposition of the primacy of expenditure or waste; his rendering of the vertiginous effect of groundlessness; the effort to found a science of the heterogeneous or ‘totally other’ object; his search for a quasi-philosophical expression of immediate ‘sovereign’ experience and his attention to the rupture of subjective integrity in erotic experience. The method of the seminar will be the close reading of selected works and extracts, with a sustained attention to Bataille’s fictional writings as well as the key works Inner Experience, Sovereignty and Erotism. Throughout the series we will also address the reception of Bataille’s work by other thinkers such as Maurice Blanchot, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy.

The cost for participation in this seminar is $900. Students who are returning to the “Leading Thinkers” series will receive a discount of $150. The course will last for 10 weeks and run for approximately 2 hours per online meeting. The course is not credit-bearing (it does not form part of the EGS degree programs that are accredited by the MFHEA), but students who attend the course are eligible for a Certificate that documents their participation.

The “Leading Thinkers” initiative has proven to be tremendously popular for EGS students and a growing international community.  The courses maintain the exceptional level of the EGS experience while shifting the modality of instruction by offering an extended engagement with the work of a single author.  EGS students value this complement to their program, and guest participants have the opportunity of joining our intellectual society.

To receive more information and to apply, please contact