New public lecture: Kevin McLaughlin

The PACT Division of the EGS has introduced a new format in the context of its “Public Lectures” series. We are undertaking discussions with EGS faculty and other guests on recently published research.  We hope that these encounters will help bring attention to important work pursued in our community.
All discussions are being live-streamed on Zoom and they will normally start at 6 pm Paris time/12 pm New York time.
Our fourth discussion will be devoted to Kevin McLaughlin’s The Philology of Life: Walter Benjamin’s Critical Project

In his book The Philology of Life: Walter Benjamin’s Critical Project, Kevin McLaughlin attempts to retrace the outlines of a philological project developed by Walter Benjamin. McLaughlin’s principal focus is on retracing the steps in Benjamin’s critical project through a series of detailed commentaries on the following three texts: “Two Poems by Friedrich Hölderlin”, “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism”, and “Goethe’s Elective Affinities”. According to McLaughlin, the critical program undertaken by Benjamin the already mentioned essays (written between 1914 and 1922) not only offers highly innovative and illuminating interpretation of a revolutionary moment in modern literature, but also lays the foundation for his critical project as a whole.

Zoom link can be found here.


Kevin McLaughlin is George Hazard Crooker Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and German Studies at Brown University where he also served as Dean of the Faculty from 2011-2022. He has been the recipient of research grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Program and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. He is the author of four books, Writing in Parts:  Imitation and Exchange in 19th-Century Literature (Stanford UP, 1995); Paperwork:  Literature and Mass Mediacy in the Age of Paper (U of Penn P, 2005); Poetic Force: Poetry after Kant (Stanford UP, 2014); and The Philology of Life: Walter Benjamin’s Critical Program (Fordham UP, 2023). McLaughlin is also the co- translator with Howard Eiland of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project (Harvard UP, 1999).

Christopher Fynsk is President of The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His work is closely involved with that of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, Walter Benjamin, and several contemporary artists, including Francis Bacon and Salvatore Puglia. His works are Heidegger, Thought and Historicity (Cornell, 1986), Language and Relation: that there is language (Stanford, 1996), Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin (Stanford, 2000), The Claim of Language: A Case for the Humanities (Minnesota, 2004), Last Steps: Maurice Blanchot’s Exilic Writing (Fordham, 2013), Philippe Lacoue- Labarthe’s Phrase: Infancy, Survival (SUNY, 2017).

Avital Ronell is Professor of the Humanities and Professor of German, Comparative Literature, and English at New York University. Her research and theoretical contributions extend across the fields of literary studies, philosophy, feminist theory, technology and media, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, ethics, and performance art. Ronell authored the
following monographs: Dictations: On Haunted Writing (1986), The Telephone Book (1989), Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania (1992), Finitude’s Score: Essays for the End of the Millennium (1994), Stupidity (2002), The Test Drive (2005), Loser Sons: Politics and Authority (2012), and Complaint: Grievance among Friends (2018).

Petar Bojanić is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and social Theory in Belgrade. His main areas of study are political philosophy, phenomenology, philosophy of right, philosophy of architecture and the city, social ontology, and the Jewish political tradition. Bojanić has held positions at Cornell University, University of Aberdeen,
University of Belgrade, University of Macerata, the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg. From 2011 until 2019, he was Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory at the University of Belgrade. Since 2009, he has headed the Center for Ethics, Law, and Applied Philosophy (CELAP), since 2013, the Center for Advanced Studies of Southeast Europe of the University of Rijeka (CAS SEE), and as of 2020 he is the president of the Institute for Democratic Engagement Southeast Europe (IDESE). His work has been translated into English, Italian, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Hungarian, Portuguese.

We are pleased to undertake this encounter with the collaboration of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade .