“Stupidity and Unlearning: An Academic Writing Workshop” with Lars Iyer

“Stupidity and Unlearning: An Academic Writing Workshop” with Lars Iyer

October 29th via Zoom

  • Part 1 (2-4 pm Paris time)
  • Part 2 (5:30-7:30 pm Paris time)

Academic writing at postgraduate level can be a particular challenge, especially when it comes to longer, research-based dissertations. Part of the difficulty is that you only know what you’re working on when you’ve finished that work. That is, you can only know what you’ve done retrospectively – not as something thrown forward as a pro-ject, but as something that lies behind you as a re-ject. This is to say that dissertations are lived – writing and thinking is experiential and experimental, a projection into a future whose course is uncertain. As long-form writer, you discover what you’re doing as you proceed. But as a postgraduate, you may not be experienced enough at such writing to trust in the process – to retain your confidence. Which is to say, you need support, and it is just such support that this workshop is intended to give you.

My aim is to help you embrace the uncertainty that academic writing can involve – reassuring you that a sense of mission-drift is part of the process. Sometimes you need to lose your bearings. Since you are writing to a deadline, this can be worrying. But the process of academic research is not only about investing time where it matters, about focusing on an outcome, but about spending time. There are measures you can take that might help with your studies – finding an accountability buddy, for example, or allowing yourself to make mistakes – but writing itself isn’t only about the ends you want to achieve.

As we will see, drawing on recent research in the philosophy of education, notably Tyson E. Lewis’s On Study: Giorgio Agamben and Educational Potentiality (Routledge, 2013), the fact that the etymology of the word, study is linked to that of stupidity and stupefaction is not by chance. Academic writing is not only about learning, but unlearning – about the displacement of ends, and the uncoupling of potentiality from act.

If you wish to apply, please contact Dr Nemanja Mitrović (nemanja.mitrovic@egs.edu)